Lester exit similar to Carpenter's

* The Boston Red Sox attempted to sign Jon Lester in spring training but were unsuccessful. They made a huge offer to Lester -- after they traded him to the Oakland A's -- but were outbid by the Chicago Cubs. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list …. Canadians in College 2016 Canadian draft list  Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

SAN DIEGO _ Remember Chris Carpenter?

The Blue Jays refused to pay him the minimum salary for the next season when he was injured at the end of the 2002. The Jays told Carpenter he would not find any guaranteed money on the market.

While the Jays came in late with a strong bid ... once the horse was out of the barn he was gone.

Carpenter pitched 1,348 2/3 innings for the St. Louis Cardinals started 197 games, won 95 games, a Cy Young award and finished second and third in two other seasons. Oh, he also earned $80,202,957 in nine seasons with St. Louis before retiring.

The Boston Red Sox failed to re-sign lefty Jon Lester as he bolted to the Chicago Cubs and his former general manager Theo Epstein, signing a six-year, $155 million US deal that includes a vesting option for a seventh year.

The final offer by the Red Sox was for six years and $135 million, which did not include a vesting option for a seventh year.

During spring training Boston’s original offer to Lester was four years and $70 million before they dealt him to the Oakland A’s at the trade deadline for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

So, Boston almost doubled its bid, added on two more years and still lost.

Boston will likely go after either free agent Max Scherzer or James Shields.

While Boston came in late with a strong bid ... once the horse was out of the barn he was gone.

And now management has some explaining to do to Red Sox Nation.


Looking east: The Blue Jays have discussed signing Japanese shortstop Takashi Toritani, 33. The left-handed batter hasn’t missed a game at shortstop in 10 years for the Hanshin Tigers. He hit .313 with 28 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 73 RBIs in 155 games. He had an .820 OPS. He projects as a second baseman.

The problem for the Jays is that Toritani is represented by super agent Scott Boras. The Jays don’t have what one would call a good working relationship with Boras.


What’s in a number?: Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale will give up his uniform No. 20 for new third baseman Josh Donaldson.

“Players have earned the right to wear whatever number they want, it’s important to them in social media,” said Hale. “Hey, if it makes it easier for Josh to hit 30 home runs, drive in 100 runs and win a gold glove, I’m all for it.”

For whatever reason Hale keeps picking uniform numbers other players want: Brad Fullmer asked for Hale’s No. 20 when they were with the Texas Rangers, Dan Wheeler asked for Hale’s No. 35 with the Boston Red Sox and Mark DeRosa asked for Hale’s No. 16 with the Jays in 2013.

Hale’s favorite number as a player? “I was just happy to be given a uniform to wear.”

When third baseman Brett Lawrie was dealt to Oakland, Maicer Izturis phoned at 5 AM to tell the Jays he wanted to wear No. 13 that Lawrie had worn.


Honors: Blue Jays’ Mike Shaw was voted travelling secretary of the year by his major league peers. It’s the first time a Toronto travelling secretary has ever won the award. “There wasn’t such an award when I was traveling secretary or I would have won every year,” said Ken Carson.

A day one employee Carson moved from the Jays trainer and travelling secretary to running the Florida operations.


Frick winner: Dick Enberg earned the Ford C. Frick award, for excellence in broadcasting on Wednesday. It will be presented Juy 25, as part of Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown.

He was chosen from the Living Room Era (mid-1950s to mid-1980) and a list of finalists which included Richie Ashburn, Billy Berroa, Rene Cardenas, Dizzy Dean, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan.


HOFers: The Ontario Blue Jays will induct grads Shawn Hill and Jamie Lehman plus original coach Gary Wilson into their Hall of Fame at a banquet in Vaughan Jan. 17. Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar and former Jays great Jack Morris are the guest speakers.

Mississauga’s Hill. who was signed by Alex Agostino, pitched at triple-A Charlotte this year his 14th season of pro ball. He has made 44 starts in the majors with the Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals, San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays. Brampton’s Lehman pitched six seasons in the minors with the Expos, Nationals and Jays, after he was signed by Alex Anthopoulos. Lehman is the Toronto Blue Jays director of Canadian scouting and signed outfielder Dalton Pompey of Mississauga.


Coming soon: A new independent loop -- the East Coast League -- with two teams in Ontario and two in upstate New York. The Waterloo Whiskey Jacks and Niagara Wild, based in Welland will operate north of the border, while the Newburgh Newts and Watertown will play in New York.