Turns out Toronto hasn't seen the last of Munenori Kawasaki.
The Blue Jays announced Tuesday they have agreed to terms with the fan favourite infielder on a 2014 minor league contract. The deal includes an invite to major league spring training.
The Jays declined his $1-million contract option on Oct. 31, making him a free agent.
Jays manager John Gibbons told the Sun's Bob Elliott earlier this month Kawasaki might be back. "They talked to him. There is a chance," Gibbons said. "He wants to play at home and make some good money in Japan. That's up in the air."
GM Alex Anthopoulos said in October he believes Kawasaki deserves a major-league contract.
"Right now, he's going to explore some other options, but we're definitely leaving the door open for him to come back," Anthopoulos said.
"I don't know if we'll be able to give him that, but definitely he deserves whatever comes his way," said the GM, adding Canadians have an affinity for underdogs like Kawasaki.
"Look at John McDonald and guys like that in any sport," said Anthopoulos. "Guys that play the game hard. I think Torontonians and Canadians appreciate the effort those guys put forth."
— With files from Steve Buffery