Shapiro: Blue Jays’ roster full of unbelievable stories

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro updates Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt as best he can, on the ongoing Edwin Encarnacion contract talks, but says "the best way to get a deal done, is to not talk about it publicly."

The current Toronto Blue Jays roster is not short on star power, but those players have had to scratch and claw to earn the household-name status they possess today.

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro joined The Jeff Blair Show on Friday and touched on how the team is loaded with players who have some sort of chip on their shoulders.

“The one thing that I didn’t fully appreciate or understand was just how interesting the group of guys is,” Shapiro said. “[Troy] Tulowitzki is the only guy with pure pedigree on this team. You go around the diamond and Chris Colabello is an unbelievable story. Ryan Goins was overlooked, Kevin Pillar was overlooked, Josh Donaldson is a position-change guy late in his career that kind of came on after being somewhat dismissed.

“Even a guy like Stroman was a first-rounder, but was the first-rounder a lot of people said couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that. I had thought about these guys individually, but I hadn’t seen them collectively. To feel that, it’s pretty impressive.”

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Even sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, whose looming free agencies have been the focal point of the Blue Jays’ spring training narrative, were late bloomers.

Bautista didn’t fully catch on as an everyday player until age-28 season in 2009. Since then he’s earned six all-star berths and is one of the most prolific power threats in the league.

Encarnacion was a Cincinnati Reds castoff, acquired by Toronto for Scott Rolen back in 2009. A year later, the Blue Jays designated the Dominican Republic native for assignment and he went unclaimed on waivers. Encarnacion burst onto the scene in 2012 and has hit 151 home runs over the past four seasons.

Former MLB all-star Sean Casey is aware of what a team full of overlooked players can do when put together, and told his friend Shapiro to enjoy the show.

“I was talking to Casey, who’s going to be [in spring training] next week to visit for four days, and he said, ‘Hey, Mark, the power when you bring a group of guys together that have that chip on their shoulder, that’s a good situation.'”

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