Official Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Yearbook

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OFFICIAL YEARBOOK 2023 $ 12
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16 4 CONTENTS 2023 TORONTO BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK 4 Q & A with Mark Shapiro 10 The 2023 Blue Jays Season 16 Bo Bichette’s Quiet Leadership 23 7th Inning Stretch THE 2023 COACHES & PLAYERS 26 Coaching Staff 31 Addison Barger 32 Chris Bassitt 34 Brandon Belt 35 Jose Berrios 36 Bo Bichette 39 Cavan Biggio 40 Matt Chapman 43 Adam Cimber 44 Santiago Espinal 47 Yimi García 48 Kevin Gausman 49 Chad Green 50 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 53 Jay Jackson 54 Danny Jansen 57 Kevin Kiermaier 58 Yusei Kikuchi 60 Alejandro Kirk 61 Casey Lawrence 63 Otto Lopez 64 Nathan Lukes 66 Alek Manoah 69 Tim Mayza 70 Whit Merrifield 73 Nate Pearson 74 Zach Pop 76 Trevor Richards 77 Jordan Romano 79 Hyun Jin Ryu 80 George Springer 82 Erik Swanson 85 Ricky Tiedermann 86 Daulton Varsho 87 Mitch White 89 Excellence in the Outfield 95 Trivia 98 Scorecard 89 CORE MEDIA INC. PRESIDENT: Ritch Bremner VICE PRESIDENT, SALES: Matthew Barron ACCOUNTING/PRODUCTION: Carson Bremner DESIGN: Costa Leclerc Design WRITERS: Ethan Diamandes, John Iaboni, Julia Kreuz PHOTOGRAPHY: Getty Images, Toronto Blue Jays PRINTING: MI5 Print VENDING MANAGER: Darrell Winch FOUNDING PARTNER: Jim Reed BLUE JAYS CONTRIBUTING STAFF DIRECTOR, CREATIVE SERVICES & MARKETING MANAGEMENT: Sherry Oosterhuis COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST: Simon Wells SENIOR MANAGER, BUSINESS PLANNING: Michael Lunder TEAM PHOTOGRAPHER & GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Steven Crawford Published by Core Media Inc. on behalf of the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of Core Media Inc. is strictly prohibited. For further details please contact Carson Bremner @ Core Media Inc., 15 Toronto St., Suite 304, Toronto, Canada, M5C 2E3 (416) 863-6660 email carson@coremedia.ca 2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 3

Q & A with Mark Shapiro

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Sports has always been an integral part of Mark Shapiro’s life. Although he played football as a student at Princeton, baseball was his main passion. After graduating college, he joined the Cleveland Guardians in 1991 and worked his way up from an entry-level role to general manager and finally team president.

Mark made his boldest professional move in 2015 when he relocated from a smaller market in Cleveland to Toronto, one of the most vibrant sports environments in the world. He wasted no time putting his stamp on the franchise by spearheading the creation of a cutting-edge player development complex in Dunedin, Florida, carrying out ground-breaking renovations at Rogers Centre, and shaping the Blue Jays roster into an elite contender. Despite everything the organization has accomplished under his watch, one goal remains: bringing a World Series championship back to Toronto.

We sat down with the Blue Jays president and CEO to discuss his early roots in baseball, some new faces in the team’s clubhouse, how living in Toronto has shaped him as a person, and much more.

Q: Tell me about how you fell in love with baseball.

A: The narrative around my love of the game is a family one. My dad [Ronald] grew up around the game in inner-city Philadelphia. Even as the son of an immigrant, he fell in love with watching the Phillies, playing stickball, and he ended up playing high school baseball and division-three college baseball. So, when I grew up, baseball was just part of the fabric of my childhood.

Opening Day was like a holiday for us. Many of my fondest childhood memories are around the game of baseball, which has been cool for me because that same bond is now around the game with my kids [Caden and Sierra]. It’s very different because of the nature of my job, but their lives have been intertwined with the game.

Q: Let’s talk about your beginnings in pro baseball. You started with the Cleveland Guardians and worked your way up. What did you learn from that experience? And how have you carried that to Toronto?

A: When I first started in the game, I was a very generic, entry-level cubicle-dweller, where my tasks varied from picking up guys at the airport and pulling off game reports to working on some pretty incredible high-leverage research for contract negotiations. Shortly after my first year, Cleveland’s assistant GM at that time, Dan O’Dowd, said, ‘You need to have a core skillset,’ and he moved me into player development.

The foundation of my career in baseball has been player development. It’s been at the core of creating a caring, nurturing environment for players and trying to create a place where players feel like we are putting them in a position to be successful.

Q: Since you arrived in Toronto in 2015, a new core of players has blossomed. How great has it been to usher in this new generation of Blue Jays talent and introduce this roster to fans?

A: Whether it’s the young players who have come up through our system now, like Jordan Romano, Vladdy Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette, or whether it’s guys like Matt Chapman that we’ve added, or George Springer, we’ve got a bunch of guys that I would feel great about any of my friends bringing their kids around and exposing them to.

They’re good people; they want to win; they care about playing here; they take great pride in playing here, which is really important to us; they care about each other as teammates, which I think is a great example; and they are resilient as well. Through the tough times, which inevitably happen over 162 games,

you want to believe in the player as a person as much as you do from a talent perspective. And we’ve got guys that we believe in, both personally and professionally.

Q: With Vladdy and Bo specifically, they come from distinct baseball backgrounds, but what makes them unique as players and as people?

A: They’re both unique from each other. Bo’s level of competitiveness, intensity, and desire to be the best that he can possibly be – he comes with a burning passion that is pretty unparalleled. There aren’t many guys as driven as he is just to be great and believe as strongly that they can impact the game.

Vladdy’s joy for the game reminds me a lot of Kirby Puckett, who I grew up around as a kid. He loves to play the game; he can crack a smile on the toughest moment of the game. When anybody else would be feeling overwhelmed by the pressure, he can grin ear-to-ear and just enjoy what he’s doing. They’re both capable of doing things physically and fundamentally that not many guys can do, but they’re just both incredibly athletic and have movements in different ways that are unique from each other but among the best in the game.

Q: Last year’s postseason didn’t end how you hoped it would. How do veterans, like Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Belt, complement the clubhouse for 2023?

A: What we went through as a team last year increased the depth of experience that our young players had. It added to their experience by learning how to deal with the pressure and the different nature of the postseason as opposed to the regular season. But when you add players like George Springer, Brandon Belt, and Kevin Kiermaier who have experienced so much, it inevitably helps you build an environment that’s more prepared to deal with those challenges as they arrive, including the challenge of the postseason and the irregularity and the pressures that it creates.

Q: The Blue Jays completed Phase 1 of the Rogers Centre renovations this year. What’s in store for Phase 2, which will be done by 2024?

A: The first phase was more amenities, diversity of experiences, creating some bars, gathering spaces, and true neighborhoods for both families and people that might not normally come to our

games. The next phase is more about modernizing the premium experience, which we have less of, and also just redesigning the lower bowl so that it is baseball-specific.

We’re going to create a more positive watching experience from every seat in the lower bowl, but we’re also going to create three distinct premium clubs that will allow us to have some premium product which would be suitable in the marketplace, whether it’s compared to Scotiabank Arena or any other entertainment experience.

Q: What are the challenges of competing in this Toronto sports market?

A: The challenge is also an opportunity. This is an incredible country and an incredible city because of the international nature of this city. It also means we’ve got probably 50% of the city that has never watched a baseball game or didn’t grow up with it. So, our task is not just to field a great

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team, but if we want to really capture the depth of this market, we’ve got to figure out ways to help new Canadians understand the game and grow an affinity for the game as well.

Q: To innovate the game this year, MLB instituted some new rules (restrictions on shifts, pitch clock, larger bases). What have your early reactions been to how that has impacted the game?

A: In my 30-some-odd years in the game, there has not been a set of rules that has impacted the game as positively as the pitch clock. It’s created a better product, a better game to watch, a better game to play, and a better game to experience regardless of what vantage point you’re coming from, whether it’s a player, a coach, a front office, or a fan.

We’ve lessened the dead time in the game, which didn’t really serve anyone, and just created a better-paced game, which I think is essential for us to attract new fans and to grow the game. So, it’s incredibly important. The other rules have been positive, but the biggest lever that we pulled was the pitch clock, and I think it’s had the intended effect that we had hoped for.

Q: We’ll kick gears to the American League East. Not always a pleasant discussion, but how competitive does the division feel?

A: The AL East is always a tough place to play. It’s full of two of the deepest-resourced teams in the Yankees and the Red Sox. It’s full of the long-standing, one of the best-run franchises in the game in the Rays, who do things as well as anybody, and then an up-and-coming team in the Orioles, who, through the by-product of a lot of losing, have some incredible young talent and then have added around that talent and created a really strong organization. I think that ultimately if you survive the

behemoth that is the American League, the beast that is the American League East, you’re wellpositioned to handle the postseason.

Q: What would a World Series mean to this organization?

A: I think what it would mean to the city and to the country is why it would be so special. Understanding that we’ve got a chance to create something special for an entire country is what drives so many people in this organization.

Q: With the time you’ve spent here so far, what has this city and this organization taught you about yourself?

A: It’s caused me to step outside of my comfort zone after a very small, comfortable city that I was in for 24 years, which has spurred me to grow, to think differently, and to learn from different people. It’s given me even a greater appreciation for the diverse, compassionate, open-minded community that Toronto is, which I thought I would be drawn to, but I’ve thrived even more in.

But I would have to say, more than anything, whether it’s been the people that I’ve been exposed to in the community or the people I’ve had the incredible fortune to work with in this organization, that it’s been a growth experience for me. I’m a better leader and a better person than I was eight years ago when I came here.

Q: How do you want people to remember this era of Blue Jays baseball?

A: I want it to be a special era of Blue Jay baseball. What I’d like to leave as a legacy would be a group of leaders who impact this game for decades after I leave the game – I think that would be the best thing I could leave behind – and a group of incredible memories for families and fans throughout all of Canada that love the Blue Jays.

THE 2023 BLUE JAYS SEASON

The team that took the field on Opening Day looked quite different from the one that reached the American League Wild Card Series in 2022. But amid all the changes, one thing remained the same: the players in Toronto’s clubhouse held themselves to sky-high standards.

“Attention to detail” was an often-heard expression through Spring Training. As newcomers joined the fold, players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette further cemented themselves as leaders. Thus began the Blue Jays’ quest to make the jump from good to great as part of the most competitive division in Major League Baseball.

“Our A-game can beat anyone else’s A-game,” manager John Schneider told reporters in early May.

The Blue Jays have proved that for large portions of 2023. In a long season, though, plot twists are bound to happen –and this team seems to have a flair for the dramatic.

That began four months ahead of Opening Day, when Toronto made a December 23rd trade that brought outfielder Daulton Varsho to the team in exchange for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and top prospect Gabriel Moreno. The deal addressed two key needs at once: in Varsho, the Blue Jays got a left-handed bat and an elite defensive outfielder.

The Varsho trade followed an early-offseason transaction with the Mariners that added righty Erik Swanson to the bullpen and lefty Adam Macko to the prospect pool, as the Blue Jays said goodbye to a fan favourite in Teoscar Hernández.

AMID A MYRIAD OF NARRATIVES, PLOT TWISTS AND COMEBACKS, TORONTO MADE IT TO A THIRD OF THE SEASON WITH A WINNING RECORD AND MORE TO PROVE.
If the 2023 season were a telenovela, Blue Jays fans would often be gasping.
2023 BLUE
OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 10
JAYS

Bolstering the bullpen had been an important point during the offseason, but the front office wasn’t done adding to the pitching staff just yet.

Veteran right-hander Chris Bassitt joined the Blue Jays’ rotation on a free-agent deal, bringing years of Major League experience, as well as an eight-pitch repertoire to the rotation. He was one of many experienced players Toronto brought in, as outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and infielder Brandon Belt also signed with the club ahead of Opening Day.

That first game in St. Louis was certainly a sign of things to come. The Blue Jays set a franchise record for the most hits on Opening Day with 19 before Guerrero Jr. delivered a gamewinning sac fly in the ninth inning for an eventful 10-9 victory.

More than a good way to start the season, that win gave the Blue Jays a boost as they embarked on a 10-game road trip to kick things off in 2023. The squad was away from Rogers Centre until April 11, as the ballpark received the final touches on the renovations to the outfield and some player facilities.

“I feel very happy to be here, of course,” Vladimir Guerrero Jr. said in Spanish ahead of the Blue Jays’ home opener. “[My message to fans is] keep supporting us. We’ll keep going out on the field and giving it our 100 percent effort. We always expect to win.”

Canada’s team made sure to back up its homecoming sentiments by going on an 12-3 run at Rogers Centre to begin the year – a new franchise record. By the end of May, the Blue Jays sported a 14-10 home record, including two series sweeps, while outscoring opponents by 17 runs.

At home or on the road, Toronto counted on plenty of offense early on. But no hitter was hotter than Matt Chapman.

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The third baseman sprinted out of the gate, posting a .384 average with a 1.152 OPS, 21 RBIs and 20 extra-base hits at the end of April. Chapman led the league in several offensive categories during that span, earning AL Player of the Month honours in the process.

Bo Bichette wasn’t far behind, though. The shortstop led the league in hits at the end of May, and he surpassed Chapman for the club lead in batting average, RBIs and home runs with a torrid month. That period included a five-hit game on May 1 and a four-RBI outing on May 27.

Bichette’s efforts were a welcome development for the Blue Jays, whose offense went through a bit of a down period in May. That culminated in a home sweep by the Orioles and a 2-9 span against AL East opponents.

But the Blue Jays returned to their manager’s words, rediscovering their A-game and going back to the fundamental attention to detail they’d been cultivating since the preseason. That helped the club post a historic 20-1 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

That offensive outburst was underscored by a strong start from José Berríos, who’s retrieved his past form and command this year after an up-and-down 2022. There were still some off nights for the former All-Star, but Berríos’ 3.86 ERA and 1.26 WHIP at the end of May gave the Blue Jays confidence in their No. 4 starter.

At the top of the rotation, Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman posted very different numbers. While Manoah struggled to bring back the dominance that led to a third-place finish in AL Cy Young voting last year, Gausman pitched like an ace from day one.

The 11-year MLB veteran led the AL in strikeouts over the first two months of the season, posting a 3.03 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP through 11 starts. He also struck up a quick friendship with the newcomer Bassitt, who recovered from a rough first outing to give the Blue Jays some of the most memorable moments of the first quarter of the season.

Bassitt tossed his second career complete game shutout on May 12, holding the mighty Braves to two hits and two walks on eight strikeouts. He sported a 3.80 ERA at the end of May.

Adding to the rotation’s positive stories is Yusei Kikuchi, who had a tremendous month of April as one of six MLB starters to open the year with a 5-0 record. The lefty saw his numbers regress the next month, but he finished May with a five-inning, two-run outing against the Brewers to improve to 6-2.

Kikuchi’s highs and lows in the second month of the season served as a snapshot of the Blue Jays as a whole. After a stellar start, the squad ran into some trouble, but it found its way back with a series win in Minnesota and strong outings at Rogers Centre to close out May. The offense, which has taken a brand-new identity this season, rediscovered its

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 13

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chameleon-like traits, turning to small-ball tactics when power seemed to elude its hitters.

Newcomers Kiermaier and Belt have been pivotal on that front. Primarily a defensive addition, Kiermaier started the year on a tear, closing the first third of the season with a .319 average and an .886 OPS with four homers, 16 RBIs and five stolen bases mostly from the No. 9 spot in the lineup. It took Belt a little longer to get going, but once he got acclimated to his new surroundings, the two-time World Series champion showed just how valuable he can be. Belt batted .333 with a .940 OPS in 23 May games.

One group that remained steady through the turbulence of a long season has been the bullpen. A third of the way through, Toronto’s relievers had a collective 3.74 ERA, the 10th best mark in the Majors. Lefty Tim Mayza led the way with a 1.83 ERA, while closer Jordan Romano – who led the league in saves several times early on –featured an even 3.00 ERA with 12 saves in 15 opportunities.

Flamethrower and former top prospect Nate Pearson has been a big addition of that relief corps. After transitioning to the bullpen full-time in 2021 and battling several injuries over the past two seasons, Pearson was called up on April 24. He’s since pitched to a 1.69 ERA through the end of May while regularly hitting 100 mph with his fastball.

It’s been a welcome sight for a Blue Jays team that has shown flashes of its potential and that now vies to get hot and make a statement in the AL East.

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THE BOOMING RHYTHM OF Bo Bichette’s QUIET LEADERSHIP

That unique rhythm has been years in the making, since long before the popping sound of a bat on a baseball became its prevalent sound. The meaning behind it has been simple from the start, though: Amid highs and lows, on the field or off of it, Bichette is committed to staying true to his identity.

“I was always taught at a young age, I guess, just to march to the beat of my own drum,” Bichette said, glistening with sweat after groundball drills at Rogers Centre. “But also to set examples for other people.”

More than help him as a ballplayer, that stance is what’s elevated the 25-year-old to a leadership position in Toronto’s clubhouse. It was nothing forced, but these things have a way of happening organically. As Bichette paired veteran guidance from experienced infielders with a notable work ethic over the years, he emerged as someone his teammates could gravitate toward.

It’s also earned the trust of his club.

“He does have the belief that he will continue to be one of the best players in the game, and so do we,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said in February, after the team signed Bichette to a three-year contract.

“If that weren’t the case, this deal doesn’t happen. These types of deals happen with MVP-caliber players, and we believe that he is an MVP-caliber player and will continue to be.”

Now in his fifth Major League season, Bichette is embracing that status –while keeping his feet firmly planted to the turf.

“It means a lot to be one of the leaders here,” Bichette said. “Especially for me, it makes me work harder, it makes me pay attention to detail more. I make sure I’m prepared every day.”

The preparation has shown up in the stat sheets.

Bichette, who led the American League in hits in the past two seasons, once again topped that leaderboard to begin June. He also led the Blue Jays in most offensive categories, launching 12 home runs with 39 RBIs with a .335 average and .902 OPS entering June 3.

Elite athleticism and a unique swing are what’s helped Bichette turn into one of the most talented pure hitters in MLB. There’s a natural ability to produce hits all over the field, and the slugger has shown that he can thrive in the clutch moments as well – working up long at-bats and frustrating pitchers by fouling off pitch after pitch until he finds something he can drive.

He normally describes it as “competing” at the plate.

“Competing is when he’s taking his skill set along with a really good approach to what the pitchers are doing to him,” manager John Schneider said on May 1st in Boston. “ … It’s a combination of approach and skills.”

JA
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It might be hard to tell from Bo Bichette’s quiet demeanour, but the driving force that rings loudly for the shortstop is the beat of his own drum.

There’s a rhythm to that part, too, though Bichette will likely stay as stoic as they come while he’s in the batter’s box.

“I want to lead by example,” said Bichette. “And I think the first step of that is being a consistent player on the field. Throughout the ups and downs of the team, I’ve tried to stay focused, trying to take care of my own job and lead that way. And I think I’ve done a decent job of that.”

A steady hand has become paramount at times while the Blue Jays navigate all the unpredictabilities of a long season.

Toronto sprinted out of the gate this year, posting an 18-10 record from Opening Day until the end of April while outscoring opponents by 14 runs in 28 games. Guys like Matt Chapman and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got off to incredibly hot starts, and the Blue Jays saw the true depth of their potential over that span.

The month of May brought different challenges, though. While the club remained steadfast about trusting its talent, a difficult schedule and the grind of the season took a bit of a toll, and the Blue Jays had to regroup before they could return to their best selves.

Unshaken through all of it was Bichette. He closed out that testing month with a .350 batting average and a .927 OPS with five home runs and 20 RBIs over 28 games. Consistency is what he preaches, and it’s what he’s been delivering.

But don’t expect him to make a big deal of it.

“So many other guys are going to carry the ship when I’m not doing well,” said Bichette. “So, it just kind of makes sense.”

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There’s an inherent sense of camaraderie to the way Bichette speaks about his teammates.

At the tail end of May, Guerrero Jr. went through a stretch in which his power seemed to elude him. He was still getting hits, but the extra bases were lacking, and that was understandably frustrating for the young star. Bichette, who’s been Guerrero Jr.’s teammate since Single-A in 2017, stepped in.

The footage made the rounds through broadcasts and social media. As Guerrero Jr. sat in the visitor’s dugout during a game in Minnesota, Bichette stood in front of him, gesturing and swaying as he delivered words of encouragement. Vlad, for his part, furrowed his brow in concentration while nodding along to what his teammate was saying.

It was a professional conversation to be sure, but it was also a genuine interaction between two friends.

“At this point, me and Vladdy are like family,” said Bichette. “So I’m just being a friend, being a brother to him.

“[Leadership for me] is just being accessible and available to my teammates when they feel like they need it. But first off I’m just being a friend. I’m having them know that they can come to me for whatever.”

Clubhouses, like any other professional locker room, can be tricky places to navigate. As distinct personalities, upbringings and mentalities converge into one point to achieve a collective goal, it’s normal for some teammates to have more affinity than others. But Bichette has taken pride in being universal, in a way.

The son of former big leaguer Dante Bichette and Brazilian native Mariana Bichette, Bo grew up in Florida amid a multicultural environment, where Latin meals with the grandparents were as common as picking up a bat every day. He believes that plurality has shaped his interactions in a unique way – and it has even led to a greater connection with other players.

“I think it helped me a lot, understanding other people and getting along with a bunch of different people,” he said. “I think some of the Latin guys respected me a little bit earlier, just because I had a little bit of that background. Brazil is a little bit different than the Dominican [for example], but in a lot of ways it’s very similar. The cultures are very similar, how they go about life, so I think I just kind of understood that.”

Beyond his interpersonal skills, that level of respect Bichette refers to has also stemmed from his commitment to improve. He is known to be one of the first players out on the field every day ahead of games, working on his defense before batting practice and rarely ever taking days off.

“At this point, me and Vladdy are like family,” said Bichette. “So I’m just being a friend, being a brother to him.

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It’s a big part of what’s allowed Bichette to stick at shortstop, a position that many believed would prove to be too challenging. But challenge and competition are where he thrives, and with the guidance of a veteran like Marcus Semien during the 2021 season, Bichette flourished – all while hitting pretty much everything on the other side of the ball.

Blue Jays fans got to see it as soon as Bichette made it to the big leagues in 2019. Then a 21-year-old, he provided one of the most historic rookie stretches the organization has seen.

In August, he became the first player in MLB history to record 10 extra-base hits in his first nine games. Then, Bichette doubled in nine straight games, becoming the only player in the live-ball era to achieve the feat. His name was also placed beside Ted Williams, as Bichette became the first rookie to record extra-base hits in nine straight games since The Kid did it in 1939.

“Everything is just continued maturity,” said Bichette. “The more experience you have in doing anything, you either learn from it or you don’t. I try to learn from everything that I can, here on the field … and in the clubhouse, too. That’s a strength of mine.”

There’s been real adversity along the way, too, the kind that speeds up a lot of character building and helps with the continued maturity Bichette spoke about.

Last season, for example, he went through a frustrating patch at the plate early on, then he encountered another one of those in July. Instead of resigning to it, though, Bichette followed it up with a scorching-hot September to help the Blue Jays reach the American League Wild Card Series.

There were valuable lessons in all of those moments.

“As a kid, you look at the big leagues and you think it’s fun all the time,” said Bichette. “And it is, at the end of the day. I mean, we’re living out our dream and we’re so blessed to be here and doing this for a living,

“But there’s a lot of other stuff. There’s pressure, there’s anxieties, there’s a lot of different things to deal with. But at the end of the day, so blessed to be here. It’s awesome to be living out my dream.”

The LoungE
BATTING TUNNEL CLUB HOME PLATE LOUNGE

Seventh Inning

STRETCH

ZEROING IN

A big tip of the cap to Chris Bassitt whose career-best streak of 28 scoreless innings this season challenged the highest-ever totals for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Dave Stieb set the overall club record when he tossed 34 consecutive scoreless innings spanning his final four starts of 1988 and into his first appearance of 1989. Roger Clemens fired 33 straight scoreless innings in 1998.

Let’s zero in on the scoreboard goose eggs put up by this magical trio.

DAVE STIEB

• September 13, 1988: Pitched seven innings and earned the win (9-1) over the Detroit Tigers at Exhibition Stadium. Allowed a run in the third inning but blanked the Tigers over his final four frames.

Streak Total: 4

• September 18, 1988: The home crowd savoured his nine-inning 4-0 shutout of the Cleveland Indians. Streak Total: 13

• September 24, 1988: The complete-game pitching duel between Stieb and Rod Nichols at Cleveland Stadium went Toronto’s way (1-0). Rob Ducey’s one-out sacrifice fly in the ninth scored Fred McGriff. Stieb’s no-hit bid was ruined in the ninth inning by Julio Franco’s two-out single. Streak

Total: 22

• September 30, 1988: Another start-to-finish gem, 4-0 over the Baltimore Orioles at Exhibition Stadium. A two-out pinch-hit single by Pat Traber in the ninth inning spoiled his no-hit bid. Streak

Total: 31

• April 5, 1989: Stieb added zeroes over the first three innings at Royals Stadium. But Danny Tartabull’s two-out single in the fourth scored Willie Wilson – the only run Stieb yielded in his no-decision over eight innings. Streak Finish: 34

ROGER CLEMENS

• August 15, 1998: Struck out 15 over eight innings and gave up single runs in the third and sixth innings of a no-decision at SkyDome versus the Anaheim Angels. Streak Total: 2

• August 20, 1998: Cruised with a three-hit, six-strikeout complete game (7-0) at the Seattle Kingdome. Streak Total: 11

• August 25, 1998: Electrified the Toronto crowd and thoroughly dominated the Royals with a Blue Jays record 18 strikeouts in his 16th win (3-0) of the season. Streak Total: 20

• August 30, 1998: Held the Minnesota Twins to two hits with seven strikeouts to chalk up another win at home (6-0). Streak Total: 29

• September 5, 1998: The Boston Red Sox – his former team – came to Toronto and finally ended his scoreless innings streak. Darren Lewis singled with two out in the fifth inning and scored Mike Stanley from second. Clemens allowed two runs in eight innings and picked up the “W” when the Blue Jays prevailed 4-3. Streak Finish: 33

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 23

Seventh Inning

CHRIS BASSITT

• April 30, 2023: Rocked by a first-inning grand slam by Seattle’s Taylor Trammell, he then pitched four scoreless innings and left after five frames with the Blue Jays ahead 8-4 at Rogers Centre. Streak Total: 4

• May 5, 2023: Pitched seven strong innings in the 4-0 win at Pittsburgh. Streak Total: 11

• May 12, 2023: Mesmerized the Atlanta Braves and more than 35,000 fans at Rogers Centre with a two-hit, eight-strikeout 3-0 triumph. It was the first complete-game shutout of at least nine innings by a Blue Jays pitcher since Mark Buehrle at Washington on June 3, 2015. Streak

Total: 20

• May 17, 2023: Head-to-head battle against Gerrit Cole resulted in no-decisions and no runs conceded by both starters. The Yankees ace allowed seven hits with six strikeouts over six innings while Bassitt yielded two hits with seven strikeouts over seven innings. Streak Total: 27

• May 22, 2023: Shut down the Rays in the first inning at Tampa Bay. But a two-out error by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (his first of the season) in the second inning allowed Randy Arozarena to score from third. That terminated the longest active scoreless innings streak in the Majors. Streak

Finish: 28

NUMBERS GAME

Match these players with the primary number they wore with the Blue Jays

A. Russell Martin

B. Paul Molitor

C. Roy Halladay

D. Troy Tulowitzki

E. Tony Fernandez

F. Tom Henke

G. Edwin Encarnacion

H. Kevin Pillar

I. Carlos Delgado

THEY SAID IT

VLADIMIR GUERRERO JR. ON WINNING MVP AT THE 2021 MLB

ALL-STAR GAME:

“Dreams come true. Since I was a kid, I was thinking about this moment. I can’t wait to get back (to the Blue Jays) to hear what Lourdes Gurriel and (George) Springer have to say about this. Before I left, I made a promise to them that I was going to win the MVP and they said you better win the MVP or don’t come here!”

1. 1 2. 50 3. 25 4. 11 5. 55 6. 10 7. 32 8. 2 9. 19
2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 24 ANSWERS A – 5 B – 9 C – 7 D – 8 E – 1 F – 2 G – 6 H – 4 I – 3
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2023 Toronto Blue Jays Coaches

John Schneider MANAGER

Birthdate: February 14, 1980

Opening Day Age: 43

Birthplace: Princeton, NJ

14

It’s been a long road with the Blue Jays’ organization for John Schneider, who played for Toronto’s Minor League teams for six seasons as a catcher before re-joining the club’s farm system as a coach in 2009. In eight seasons between 2009-18, Schneider posted a 397364 record as a Minor League skipper. He led the Dunedin Blue Jays – then the Blue Jays’ High-A affiliate – to their first Florida State League championship in 2017 and managed the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats to an Eastern League championship the next year. Schneider joined the big-league Blue Jays as a player development coach in 2018, making the transition to the Majors at around the same time as some of the players he managed on the farm – names that include Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Jordan Romano. He was promoted to bench coach in 2022, a job he would hold until July 13 of that year. That’s when Schneider took over as interim manager, leading the Blue Jays to a 46-28 record and a Wild Card berth. He was made Toronto’s full-time skipper in the following offseason, earning his first full year as a big-league manager in 2023 with the same core he helped bring up in the Minors.

53

MARK BUDZINSKI

First Base Coach

BIRTHDATE: August 26, 1973

OPENING DAY AGE: 49

BIRTHPLACE: Severna Park, MD

85

DAVID HOWELL

Assistant Pitching Coach

BIRTHDATE: November 11, 1997

OPENING DAY AGE: 25

BIRTHPLACE: Cokato, MN

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 26

DAVE

GUILLERMO MARTINEZ

19 18
22
KIM
Hitting Coach BIRTHDATE: October 5, 1984 OPENING DAY AGE: 38 BIRTHPLACE: Managua, NIC
GIL
Field Coordinator BIRTHDATE: December 20, 1981 OPENING DAY AGE: 41 BIRTHPLACE: Philadelphia, PA
League Hitting Strategist
December 5, 1956
DAY AGE: 66
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DON MATTINGLY

Bench Coach

BIRTHDATE: April 20, 1962

OPENING DAY AGE: 61

BIRTHPLACE: Evansville, IN

HUNTER MENSE

Assistant Hitting Coach

BIRTHDATE: August 30, 1984

OPENING DAY AGE: 38

BIRTHPLACE: Liberty, MO

LUIS RIVERA

Third Base Coach

BIRTHDATE: January 3, 1964

OPENING DAY AGE: 59

BIRTHPLACE: Cidra, PR

41

PETE WALKER

Pitching Coach

BIRTHDATE: April 8, 1969

OPENING DAY AGE: 53

BIRTHPLACE: Beverly, MA

JEFF WARE

Assistant Pitching Coach - Bullpen

BIRTHDATE: November 11, 1970

OPENING DAY AGE: 52

BIRTHPLACE: Norfolk, VA

ADAM YUDELMAN

Major League Coach

BIRTHDATE: October 4, 1993

OPENING DAY AGE: 29

BIRTHPLACE: Fort Myers, FL

23
20
86
59
21
2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 28

Addison BARGER

BIRTHDATE: 11/12/1999

OPENING DAY AGE: 23

BIRTHPLACE: Bellvue, WA

BATS/THROW: L/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 0”/210

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

INFIELDER

The Blue Jays’ No. 6 prospect according to MLB Pipeline and the No. 4 prospect per Baseball America, Addison Barger has matured into a solid third baseman, sporting power and bat-to-ball skills. The 23-year-old was a sixthround selection in the 2018 MLB Draft. He hit .308 with a .933 OPS, 26 home runs, and 91 RBI across three minor league levels in 2022.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 31

40 Chris BASSITT

BIRTHDATE: 2/22/1989

OPENING DAY AGE: 34

BIRTHPLACE: Toledo, OH

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 5”/217

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2025

PITCHER

The Blue Jays sought out reliability when they signed Chris Bassitt to a three-year deal this offseason. So far, the right-hander has lived up to his track record. After seven years and an All-Star selection in Oakland, Bassitt pitched for the Mets last season, posting a 3.42 ERA in 181.2 innings, counting on a jaw-dropping eight-pitch repertoire.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 32

BO SS BOTT LE D

EAU D E TOI LE TTE

Brandon BELT

BIRTHDATE: 4/20/1988

OPENING DAY AGE: 34

BIRTHPLACE: Nacogdoches, TX

BATS/THROW: L/L

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 3”/230

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

DESIGNATED HITTER

A two-time World Series champion with the Giants, the veteran Brandon Belt arrived in Toronto as a valuable left-handed-hitting depth piece. He followed a slow start to the season with a torrid month of May, and his defence at first base has been solid as well, giving manager John Schneider some added flexibility on both sides of the ball.

13
2023
| 34
BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK

17 José BERRÍOS

BIRTHDATE: 5/27/1994

OPENING DAY AGE: 28

BIRTHPLACE: Bayamon, PR

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 0”/205

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2028

PITCHER

After an up-and-down 2022 season, José Berríos searched for consistency this year. He found that and much more, regaining his form and his status as a key piece in the Blue Jays’ pitching staff. A two-time All-Star in 2018 and 2019, the right-hander posted a 2.16 ERA with a .233 opponents’ average in his last four starts this May.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 35

BO BICHETTE

BIRTHDATE: March 5, 1998

OPENING DAY AGE: 25

BIRTHPLACE: Orlando, FL

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 0”/190

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2025

INFIELDER

Consistency has been the key for Bo Bichette’s jump from good to great. He led the Blue Jays in most offensive categories by the season’s quarter mark, including RBIs, batting average and home runs. An All-Star in 2021, Bichette was the AL’s hits leader in the past two seasons, and he looks poised to make it a three-peat.

11
2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 36
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8 Cavan BIGGIO

BIRTHDATE: 4/11/1995

OPENING DAY AGE: 27

BIRTHPLACE: Houston, TX

BATS/THROW: L/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 2”/200

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

INFIELDER

The definition of “utility player,” Cavan Biggio has embraced the new tasks that come with his versatility. He’s played four positions on the field this year, and his bat started to heat up by mid-May. Biggio is now four years removed from a fifth-place Rookie of the Year finish. He hit his 40th career home run this season.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 39

Matt CHAPMAN

BIRTHDATE: 4/28/1993

OPENING DAY AGE: 29

BIRTHPLACE: Victorville, CA

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 0”/215

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

INFIELDER

It seems Matt Chapman has discovered the best version of himself. The third baseman posted a stellar start to the season, leading the league in most offensive categories en route to earning Player Of The Month honours in April. His defence, meanwhile, has remained worthy of his two career Platinum Gloves and three Gold Gloves.

26
2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 40
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90 Adam CIMBER

BIRTHDATE: 8/15/1990

OPENING DAY AGE: 32

BIRTHPLACE: Portland, OR

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 3”/195

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

Right-hander Adam Cimber was tied for the Major League lead in appearances last year, as he pitched in 77 games for the Blue Jays, en route to a 2.80 ERA. Cimber, acquired via trade from the Marlins in 2021, established himself as a high-leverage arm and endeared himself to fans with a signature sidearm delivery.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 43

5 Santiago ESPINAL

BIRTHDATE: 11/13/1994

OPENING DAY AGE: 28

BIRTHPLACE: Santiago, DOM

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5’ 10”/185

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

INFIELDER

An All-Star in 2022, Santiago Espinal is embracing a new moment with the Blue Jays this season. The 28-yearold’s impressive numbers against left-handed pitchers have made him a valuable piece in Toronto’s infield, as he’d slotted into a platoon role at second base in 2023.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 44

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93 Yimi GARCÍA

BIRTHDATE: 8/18/1990

OPENING DAY AGE: 32

BIRTHPLACE: Moca, DOM

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 1”/230

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2024

PITCHER

Now in his second season with the Blue Jays, Yimi García had a banner 2022, posting a 3.10 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 61 innings pitched as he became one of the club’s most reliable bullpen arms. García is a nine-year veteran with 14.1 innings of postseason experience under his belt.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 47

34

Kevin GAUSMAN

BIRTHDATE: 1/6/1991

OPENING DAY AGE: 32

BIRTHPLACE: Centennial, CO

BATS/THROW: L/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 2”/205

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2026

PITCHER

The splitter has only gotten better this year, and Kevin Gausman has solidified himself as a true ace within the Blue Jays’ rotation. The right-hander led the league in strikeouts for portions of April and May, while posting eight quality starts in his first 10 outings of 2023, furthering his case for a second All-Star appearance.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 48

37

Chad GREEN

BIRTHDATE: 5/24/1991

OPENING DAY AGE: 31

BIRTHPLACE: Greenville, SC

BATS/THROW: L/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 3”/215

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2026

PITCHER

The Blue Jays added Chad Green on a two-year deal this offseason, and they exercised patience as Green worked his way back from Tommy John surgery in May 2022. The right-hander owns a career 3.17 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP in seven seasons – all of them with the Yankees.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 49

27 Vladimir GUERRERO JR.

BIRTHDATE: 3/16/1999

OPENING DAY AGE: 23

BIRTHPLACE: Montreal, QC

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 2”/245

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

INFIELDER

After a second-place AL MVP finish in 2021 and a “down” year in which he hit 32 homers with an .819 OPS last season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is returning to what makes him great in 2023. The adjustments have been physical and mental for the two-time AllStar, and they’ve been translating into on-field production as well as a renewed love of the game.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 50

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35 Jay JACKSON

BIRTHDATE: 10/27/1987

OPENING DAY AGE: 35

BIRTHPLACE: Greenville, SC

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 1”/195

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

A Minor League signing in January, Jay Jackson arrived in Toronto as a well-traveled veteran. Jackson, 35, pitched for the Padres, Brewers, Giants and Braves in the Majors while adding stints in the Nippon Professional Baseball league with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and the Chiba Lotte Marines.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 53

9 Danny JANSEN

BIRTHDATE: 4/15/1995

OPENING DAY AGE: 27

BIRTHPLACE: Elmhurst, IL

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 2”/215

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

CATCHER

There’s been a clutch aspect to Danny Jansen’s game this year. He’s posted elite offensive marks with runners in scoring position, and his batting average has been skyhigh whenever he steps up with two outs. Those numbers paired well with a stretch in May that saw Jansen get two walkoff hits in the span of four days.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 54
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39 Kevin

KIERMAIER

BIRTHDATE: 4/22/1990

OPENING DAY AGE: 32

BIRTHPLACE: Fort Wayne, IN

BATS/THROW: L/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 1”/210

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

OUTFIELDER

After robbing the Blue Jays of hits for years, Kevin Kiermaier is on their side now. The centrefielder joined Toronto on a one-year deal in the offseason, adding a three-time Gold Glover to the mix. His offence has been a nice surprise, too, as Kiermaier has hit for an average that’s way above his career mark.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 57

16

Yusei KIKUCHI

BIRTHDATE: 6/17/1991

OPENING DAY AGE: 31

BIRTHPLACE: Morioka, JPN

BATS/THROW: L/L

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 0”/210

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2024

PITCHER

One of the best stories of the season for the Blue Jays, Yusei Kikuchi has looked like his All-Star self for most of 2023. The Morioka, Japan, native wasn’t charged with a loss until his ninth start of the season, joining a select group of pitchers to go undefeated for that long.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 58

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30 Alejandro KIRK

BIRTHDATE: 11/6/1998

OPENING DAY AGE: 24

BIRTHPLACE: Tijuana, MEX

Bats/Throw: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5’ 8”/245

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

CATCHER

Deemed by his teammates as one of the best bat-toball hitters on the squad, Alejandro Kirk has continued to showcase a knack for getting on base and come up with important hits. On the other side of the ball, he’s turned into a blocking machine, and his caught-stealing rate is among the best in the AL.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 60

62 Casey LAWRENCE

BIRTHDATE: 10/28/1987

OPENING DAY AGE: 35

BIRTHPLACE: McSherrystown, PA

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 0”/180

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

Casey Lawrence has split his MLB time between the Blue Jays and the Mariners from 2017-23, adding a year in the Nippon Professional Baseball league with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He pitched to a 2.79 ERA as a starter with Triple-A Buffalo in 2022, adding six relief appearances with the big league club.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 61

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3 Otto LOPEZ

BIRTHDATE: 10/1/1998

OPENING DAY AGE: 24

BIRTHPLACE: Santo Domingo, DOM

Bats/Throw: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5’ 10”/185

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

INFIELDER

One of the most versatile players on the Blue Jays’ roster, Otto Lopez has earned his spot by slotting into multiple positions while sporting above-average speed and contact skills. Lopez is a Dominican native, but he was raised in Montréal. He’s ranked as the Blue Jays’ No. 14 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 63

38 Nathan LUKES

BIRTHDATE: 7/12/1994

OPENING DAY AGE: 28

BIRTHPLACE: Sacramento, CA

BATS/THROW: L/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5’ 11”/180

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

OUTFIELDER

After seven years in the Minors, outfielder Nathan Lukes earned his Majors debut this year. The 29-year-old Lukes batted .286 with a .796 OPS, two doubles, two triples, and six RBIs in Spring Training 2023, breaking camp with a big league club for the first time since the start of his pro career in 2015.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 64

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6 Alek MANOAH

BIRTHDATE: 1/9/1998

OPENING DAY AGE: 25

BIRTHPLACE: Homestead, FL

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 6”/285

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

Expectations were skyhigh for Alek Manoah this season. The big right-hander finished in third place in AL Cy Young voting last season, posting a 2.24 ERA over 196.2 innings, and the Blue Jays have seen flashes of that this year. Consistency will be key as the year progresses.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 66

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58 Tim MAYZA

BIRTHDATE: 1/15/1992

OPENING DAY AGE: 31

BIRTHPLACE: Allentown, PA

BATS/THROW: L/L

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 3”/215

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

Left-hander Tim Mayza is looking to build on a career-best 3.14 ERA in 2022, and he’s succeeding so far. The 31-year-old had a sub2.00 ERA in late May, relying on a sinker-slider repertoire and good command of the strike zone to generate weak contact and pitch his team through late innings.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 69

Whit MERRIFIELD

BIRTHDATE: 1/24/1989

OPENING DAY AGE: 34

BIRTHPLACE: Florence, SC

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 1”/195

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2024

OUTFIELDER

Acquired via trade at the 2022 Deadline, Whit Merrifield needed to work for an everyday spot in the Blue Jays’ lineup. He’s done just that this season, hovering around .300 with his batting average while stealing 14 bases by the end of May. Merrifield came as advertised: a valuable middleof-the-lineup guy who’s capable of playing multiple positions.

15
2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 70
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24 Nate PEARSON

BIRTHDATE: 8/20/1996

OPENING DAY AGE: 26

BIRTHPLACE: Odessa, FL

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 6”/255

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

Former top prospect Nate Pearson has found a home in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. The flamethrowing righty was called up in April after pitching to a 2.16 ERA in Triple-A Buffalo to start the year. Pearson transitioned to a relief role in 2021-22. After struggling with injuries over the past two seasons, he’s finally healthy and ready to contribute.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 73

56 Zach

POP BIRTHDATE: 9/20/1996

OPENING DAY AGE: 26

BIRTHPLACE: Brampton, ON BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 4”/220

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

A Brampton, Ont., native, Zach Pop figures to be an important part of the Blue Jays’ pitching depth in the seasons ahead. The 26-yearold pitched to a 1.89 ERA in 17 relief outings after joining Toronto via trade in 2022. Pop broke camp with the Blue Jays this season after striking out nine batters in six Spring Training innings.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 74
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33 Trevor RICHARDS

BIRTHDATE: 5/15/1993

OPENING DAY AGE: 29

BIRTHPLACE: Aviston, IL

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 2”/205

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

When the changeup is working, Trevor Richards becomes elite. The right-hander is coming off a down year with the Blue Jays, but he’s shown flashes of returning to his best form. Richards’ 14 strikeoutsper-nine mark illustrates his potential quite nicely.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 76

68 Jordan ROMANO

BIRTHDATE: 4/21/1993

OPENING DAY AGE: 29

BIRTHPLACE: Markham, ON

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 5”/210

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

MLB’s saves leader for large stretches in the first two months of 2023, Jordan Romano has followed his All-Star season with another solid campaign. A Markham, Ont., native, Romano has flourished as the Blue Jays’ closer in the past three seasons after beginning his pro career as a starter.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 77

99 Hyun-Jin RYU

BIRTHDATE: 3/25/1987

OPENING DAY AGE: 36

BIRTHPLACE: Incheon, KOR

BATS/THROW: R/L

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 3”/250

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

Tommy John surgery limited Hyun Jin Ryu to just six appearances in 2022, but the left-hander will get another chance to help the Blue Jays to a postseason run, as he targets a second-half return this year. An All-Star and former ERA title winner, Ryu is in his fourth season with Toronto.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 79

4 George SPRINGER

BIRTHDATE: 9/19/1989

OPENING DAY AGE: 33

BIRTHPLACE: New Britain, CT

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 3”/220

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2026

OUTFIELDER

A veteran mindset includes understanding that rough patches don’t last forever. So, George Springer kept his composure as he navigated a slow start to 2023, finishing the month of May on a torrid run that reawakened the greatness of a four-time All-Star and former World Series MVP.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 80
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50 Erik SWANSON

BIRTHDATE: 9/4/1993

OPENING DAY AGE: 29

BIRTHPLACE: Fargo, ND

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 3”/225

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

The hard-throwing Erik Swanson arrived in Toronto this offseason following a trade with the Mariners. Swanson had a career year in Seattle, pitching to a 1.68 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP over 53.2 innings. He’s fit in well with the Blue Jays, too, providing high-leverage relief and the strikeout ability the club coveted.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 82

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Ricky TIEDEMANN

BIRTHDATE: 8/18/2002

OPENING DAY AGE: 20

BIRTHPLACE: Long Beach, CA

BATS/THROW: L/L

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 4”/220

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

Lefty Ricky Tiedemann is ranked the Blue Jays’ No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline and Baseball America after tearing through three levels last year to reach Double-A New Hampshire in his first Minor League season. His 100 mph fastball is impressive, but the changeup is the true crown jewel, and it should continue to play well as the 20-year-old progresses.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 85

25

Daulton VARSHO

BIRTHDATE: 7/2/1996

OPENING DAY AGE: 26

BIRTHPLACE: Marshfield, WI

BATS/THROW: L/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5’ 10”/207

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

OUTFIELDER

One of the Blue Jays’ biggest moves this offseason was the trade with the Diamondbacks that brought Daulton Varsho to Toronto – and the outfielder has come as advertised. Varsho has dazzled with his defence, while providing enough pop with his bat to make him a consistent presence in the middle of a stacked lineup.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 86

45 Mitch WHITE

BIRTHDATE: 12/28/1994

OPENING DAY AGE: 28

BIRTHPLACE: San Jose, CA

BATS/THROW: R/R

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’ 3”/210

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed thru 2023

PITCHER

A right elbow inflammation delayed Mitch White’s build-up in 2023, as the righty didn’t make any Spring Training appearances and split his time between Single-A Dunedin and Triple-A Buffalo to begin the year on a rehab assignment. White joined the Blue Jays via trade last season, making eight starts in 10 outings with his new club.

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 87

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EXCELLENCE IN THE OUTFIELD

The Toronto Blue Jays have achieved numerous successes that produced a superabundance of highlights over almost five decades in the Majors. Many have been generated by Blue Jays outfielders. From past to present, we take a peek at some Blue Jays outfielders who’ve distinguished themselves.

Even the most die-hard Toronto Blue Jays fans will find it a challenge to remember expansion originals Gary Woods, Steve Bowling and John Scott. They did, after all, combine for only 236 games as Blue Jays. Bowling and Scott were gone after one season while Woods stretched his stay into eight games in 1978.

Nonetheless, they are pioneers for the franchise as the very first outfielders on the lineup card for the launch of the franchise on April 7, 1977. Woods was in centre, Bowling in right and Scott in left. Bowling made the first-ever putout on the Blue Jays scorecard. He even finished tied for fourth in MLB outfield assists in that inaugural season with 14.

What’s more, entering this season, Bowling and Rick Bosetti still shared the Blue Jays record for outfield assists in one game with three – Bowling versus Oakland on August 27, 1977 and Bosetti against Detroit on May 28, 1979.

Also in Blue Jays history, Scott was the franchise’s first-ever batter and strikeout victim with that at-bat while Woods recorded the first-ever single and stolen base!

The outfield torch Woods, Bowling and Scott initially carried for the Blue Jays now belongs to a new outfield combination. The 47th Opening Day lineup for the Blue Jays featured Kevin Kiermaier in centre, George Springer in right and Daulton Varsho in left.

Kiermaier (free agent) and Varsho (via trade) were offseason additions. A nemesis for the Blue Jays during his 10 seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Kiermaier’s portfolio boasts one Platinum Glove and three Rawlings Gold Gloves. He had already snagged two MLB Play of the Week honours as a Blue Jay by May 21. Heading into June, he was living up to his preseason target to provide the most offensive punch among No. 9 batters in the Majors.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS BY TORONTO BLUE JAYS OUTFIELDERS

MLB ALL-STAR GAME SELECTIONS

Jesse Barfield 1986

Lloyd Moseby 1986

George Bell 1987 (starter), 1990

Joe Carter 1991, 1992 (starter), 1993 (starter), 1994 (starter), 1996

Devon White 1993

Shawn Green 1999

Vernon Wells 2003, 2006 (starter), 2010

Alex Rios 2006, 2007

José Bautista 2010, 2011 (starter/leading votegetter), 2012 (starter), 2013 (starter), 2014 (starter/ leading vote-getter), 2015

Michael Saunders 2016

Teoscar Hernández 2021

George Springer 2022

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 89

Varsho is in his fourth MLB season and has versatility as a catcher, even serving as the backstop for the third no-hitter in Arizona Diamondbacks history (by Tyler Gilbert on August 14, 2021). He’s viewed as a sure-handed outfielder with some pop in his bat as evidenced by his 27 home runs and 74 RBI last season.

Meanwhile, George Springer moved to right field with the arrival of Kiermaier. Noted for his spectacular diving catches, Springer is in his third season with the Blue Jays after cementing himself as one of the best in the outfield with Houston from 2014 through 2020. He’s a four-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger winner and MVP of the 2017 World Series. Springer’s leadoff home run against Tampa Bay on April 14 was the 53rd of his career, tying him with Craig Biggio for third in MLB history. Springer’s leadoff home run at the New York Mets on June 2 was the 54th of his career, tying him with Alfonso Soriano for second in MLB history.

So, they’ve already made contributions as Blue Jays, intending to add significantly more over time. That would certainly augment what has been a proud outfield tradition for the Blue Jays.

No one knows that better than Jerry Howarth, the legendary radio voice of the Blue Jays for 36 years before his retirement in 2018. Howarth’s teaming with the equally great Tom Cheek in the radio booth coincided at the time with the Blue Jays evolution from expansion franchise to perennial playoff contenders.

“The Blue Jays have been so well represented in the outfield over the years,” said the ever-enthusiastic Howarth. “It all started with general manager Pat Gillick and his first significant steps toward being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown when he brought together the famous outfield of George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield to win a franchise record 99 games in 1985 that still stands to this day.

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“Bell showed awesome power which every outfield needs to drive in those at the top of the order. Moseby not only stole bases to continually put himself in scoring position but he also anchored centre field with his speed, taking away numerous base hits to aid the entire pitching staff. Barfield demonstrated that he was the best young right-fielder in the game with easily the best arm throwing runners out on a regular basis.

“They spelled out the Big Three and what the outfield is all about to win games: Power, speed and defence. That set the foundation for Gillick later to steal Devon White from the Angels and Joe Carter from the Padres to once again add speed, power and defence to the outfield to help win two World Series in 1992 and 1993. And with a break or two here and there, José Bautista might be wearing a World Series ring as well with his overall presence in right field for 10 years.”

Exceptional outfielders for sure with plenty of memories to savour. Remember Bell when he made the catch, fell to his knees and pumped his arms in jubilation for the final out to seal the first ever postseason trip for the franchise in 1985? How about White and his dazzling backhand leaping catch into the centre-field wall to start what should have been a triple play in Game 3 of the 1992 World Series against Atlanta?

Two of the most iconic home runs in MLB history belong to Carter in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series against Philadelphia and Bautista in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS versus Texas. Etched forever in our minds are Carter touching ’em all and jumping for joy – and Bautista delivering the best bat flip of all time.

“In my humble opinion, the top three starting outfielders in the history of the Blue Jays would be Carter without question which included his World Series walk-off home run, White for his superior defence adding to the old adage in sports that defence wins championships and finally, Bautista for all his wonderful years as one of the best complete players ever in the game,” Howarth said.

“Behind this outfield trio, I would happily add Vernon Wells, who showed both power at the plate and speed as well as range defensively in centre field; Shawn Green, for his outstanding play in right field coupled with his bat that produced so many runs over his Blue Jays tenure and rounding out another classy three in the outfield of course is Bell for his bat and presence in the lineup to hit – and hit with power.”

That’s quite a selection, especially with Barfield and Moseby also drawing such high admiration from Howarth. Extolling the virtues of the many who’ve played outfield for the Blue Jays would be an endless task. As you peruse the following chart, the impressive numbers and awards will rekindle treasured memories of these remarkable Blue Jays outfielders. Who will join them? Only time will tell.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS BY TORONTO BLUE JAYS OUTFIELDERS

AL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

George Bell 1987

BLUE JAYS LEVEL OF EXCELLENCE

George Bell April 9, 1996

Joe Carter July 30, 1999

José Bautista August 12, 2023

HANK AARON AWARD

José Bautista 2010, 2011

RAWLINGS GOLD GLOVE

Jesse Barfield 1986, 1987

Devon White 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

Shawn Green 1999

Vernon Wells 2004, 2005, 2006

2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 92

SILVER SLUGGER AWARD

Lloyd Moseby 1983

George Bell 1985, 1986, 1987

Jesse Barfield 1986

Joe Carter 1991, 1992

Shawn Green 1999

Vernon Wells 2003

José Bautista 2010, 2011, 2014

Teoscar Hernández 2020, 2021

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TRIVIA

QUESTIONS

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. recorded one hit in his first MLB game on April 26, 2019 against the Oakland A’s at Rogers Centre. What was his milestone first MLB hit?

A. Single C. Triple

B. Double D. Home Run

Who was the first in Blue Jays history to win the AL Cy Young Award?

A. Roy Halladay C. Pat Hentgen

B. Roger Clemens D. Robbie Ray

3.

Entering 2023, what was the Blue Jays record for most wins in one regular season?

A. 89 C. 95

B. 91 D. 99

Name the Blue Jays closer who holds the club record as the fastest to reach 10 saves in a single season, accomplishing it in Toronto’s 22nd game that year.

A. Duane Ward C. Tom Henke

B. Jordan Romano D. Billy Koch

The Blue Jays clubbed a Home Opener franchise-high five home runs against the Detroit Tigers on April 11, 2023. Who was the first to blast a round-tripper for the Blue Jays that night at newly renovated Rogers Centre?

A. Alejandro Kirk C. Matt Chapman

B. George Springer D. Kevin Kiermaier

BL

1. 2. 4. 5. 2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 95

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

How many times did Blue Jays ace Dave Stieb pitch in the MLB All-Star Game?

A. Five

B. One

C. Four

D. Seven

Who was the first Blue Jays batter to lead the American League in hits in multiple seasons?

A. Bo Bichette

B. Paul Molitor

C. John Olerud

D. Carlos Delgado

Who earned the “W” for the Blue Jays against Detroit in the 2023 Home Opener?

A. Yimi Garcia

B. Zach Pop

C. Alek Manoah

D. Erik Swanson

Who was the third backstop in Blue Jays history to catch three straight shutouts?

A. Ernie Whitt

B. Buck Martinez

C. Danny Jansen

D. Gregg Zaun

Where did Kevin Gausman make his MLB debut on May 23, 2013?

A. Rogers Centre

B. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

C. Yankee Stadium

TRIVIA ANSWERS 1. B 2. C 3. D 4. B 5. C 6. D 7. A 8. B 9. C 10. A
D. Fenway Park JA 2023 BLUE JAYS OFFICIAL YEARBOOK | 96

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