One difficulty that the Jays face that hasn’t often been mentioned is that some players don’t want to play in Toronto. It’s a foreign country, it’s cold here in April, the team plays in a dome, and there’s artificial turf. (Did you know that the Rogers Centre is now the seventh-oldest ballpark in major league baseball? For those of us who were adults when it was built, this is a sobering reminder of something.) I don’t have a list of the number of players with no-trade restrictions in their contracts, or a list of the teams that they don’t want to play for, but I’d bet that Toronto is high on the list of prohibited destinations. And it wouldn’t surprise me if the Jays tend to lose out on free agent signings, as playing in Canada is probably outside of some people’s comfort zone.
All things being equal, this is an advantage of trading for a Canadian: you’ll be reasonably certain that he actually wants to play here. Michael Saunders, who is from B.C., is apparently quite happy to be in Toronto, and Russell Martin, who grew up in Quebec, has been quoted as saying that he is looking forward to the exhibition games in Montreal. It makes for a happier clubhouse, I would guess.