Several Canadians found new homes at Winter Meetings

By: Adam Morissette

Canadian Baseball Network

OTTAWA- The annual Baseball Winter Meetings wrapped up today in Nashville that included a busy week with several players changing uniforms through trade, free agency and the annual Rule V draft.

Among those changing uniforms at the big league level were a pair of Canadians and Baseball Canada alumni in 3B Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) and RHP John Axford (Port Dover, ON).

Lawrie, 25, was traded to the Chicago White Sox from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for a pair of minor league pitching prospects. The former Junior National Team star played in 149 games with the A’s in 2015 and hit .260 with 16 home runs and 60 RBI. Lawrie joined the Junior National Team program in 2005 and played in two 18U World Cups (2006, 2008) along with the Beijing Olympics (2008), IBAF World Cup (2009), the World Baseball Classic (2009), and was named to the 2013 WBC roster although he did not participate in the event due to injury.

Axford, 32, spent the 2015 season with the Colorado Rockies and pitched in 60 games out the bullpen where he successfully converted on 25 out of 31 save opportunities. He also struck out 62 batters in 55.2 innings pitched. He inked a two-year deal with the Athletics that will see him pitch in the American League for the second time in his career after pitching with the Cleveland Indians for part of the 2014 season. Axford pitched with the Junior National Team program in 2001 before representing Canada in 2003 at the America’s Qualifying Series. He was also a member of the National Team in 2013 for the World Baseball Classic.

The Rule V Draft is the final event on the agenda at the Baseball Winter Meetings, and two Canadians were among those selected as Pan Am Games gold medalist LHP Evan Rutckyj (Windsor, ON) was taken by the Atlanta Braves from the New York Yankees organization with the third overall pick during the Major League phase of the draft, while Junior National Team alum Maxx Tissenbaum (Toronto, ON) went to the Miami Marlins from the Tampa Bay Rays organization in the second round of the Triple-A phase. Both players are former members of the Junior National Team program.

Rutckyj will have a chance to earn a job with the Braves big league club during Spring Training. 


Adam Morissette

Adam Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ont. where sports were always a big part of his life whether it be baseball, hockey or football, including playing two seasons as centre for coach Pat Sheahan with the Queen's University Golden Gaels in Kingston -- Canada's first capital. Morissette has always have been passionate about baseball and has fond memories of attending Montreal Expos games with his father, Mike, and listening to his recollection of watching baseball in Montreal at Jarry Park and stories about Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Steve Rodgers. Morissette could often be found in a near empty Lynx Stadium watching Joe Siddall, Bert Heffernan, Curtis Pride and Jamie Carroll soaking in a beautiful summer night at the ballpark. He was a member of the provincial championship Orleans Red Sox Little League teams also played with the Ottawa White Sox for the late Lyle Anderson and Todd Burke in OBA Midget and American Legion play and the Capital City Crushers (NCBL), primarily as a catcher. Has also spent time coaching Little League in Orleans and South Ottawa. He wanted to turn his passion into a career and enrolled in Sport Business Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2007. After working for the Ottawa 67's OHL team as the Ticket Coordinator, Morissette jumped at the opportunity to become the Media and Public Relations Coordinator with Baseball Canada in 2010. He loves watching and reading about pro, college or amateur baseball and is a long-time subscriber to Baseball America. Morissette is thrilled about the idea of writing about baseball and is interested in covering any story that his car -- and time -- will allow him to cover.