Blue Jays have altered the way free agents view their organization

Throughout their years of existence, the Toronto Blue Jays largely haven’t been considered a popular destination for free agents, but recently, that same narrative has begun to change, particularly in 2021.

Acting as the lone Canadian franchise in Major League Baseball, historically, there’s been a running theme about how this team hasn’t been able to attract marquee players in free agency, at least, that was the case up until the last few winters.
Whether it was the disparity between the American and Canadian dollars, concerns about income tax, being forced to pass through customs when crossing the border or having to experience the unpredictable weather in April and May, this fanbase had grown accustomed to hearing all of these excuses year after year. And yet, none of that mattered for Hyun Jin Ryu in 2019.
Breaking past the organization’s previous woes to land a high-profile name in free agency, Ryu agreed to join the Blue Jays despite being highly coveted by the rest of the league, signing a four-year, $80-million deal. Still to this day, it remains the largest contract handed out to a free-agent pitcher in franchise history, at least for now.
While it may not have …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Precious Achiuwa shows how Raptors will miss Goran Dragic

Precious Achiuwa shows how Raptors will miss Goran Dragic

The Toronto Raptors may not be utilizing the services of Goran Dragic frequently this season, but news of his personal leave still shook the squad. Young players like Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa may feel the sting of his absence harder than some veterans. Dragic, who was acquired in the Kyle Lowry swap with the […]
Precious Achiuwa shows how Raptors will miss Goran Dragic – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays might be in the mix for… Freddie Freeman?

Here’s one completely out of the blue.

Over on Instagram, former All-Star Carlos Baerga posted this image with Freddie Freeman wearing his Team Canada uniform in front of a Toronto Blue Jays logo. In the post he said that Freeman could sign with the Blue Jays.
 

Here’s the translation… 
“Freddie Freeman could sign with the Blue Jays that in the history of the franchise there is no Canadian player who was an All-Star Player when he wore the Toronto uniform. There is a possibility that this will change in the 2022 season, Freddie Freeman (WS Champ, MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger) …… calm that Vlady Jr knows where the 3rd base is.”
There’s quite a bit going on here!
First of all, Baerga saying that there hasn’t been a Canadian All-Star playing for the Blue Jays is inaccurate, as Russell Martin was an All-Star in 2015 and Michael Saunders was in 2016. Anyways…
This is certainly interesting because Baerga is one of those sorta random sources who has been right about stuff in the past. For example, he was the first one to report that Yimi Garcia had signed with the Blue Jays a few days ago and he was …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

News from the Rink: Updates on the status of injured Leafs

After coming off a road trip in California, which saw the Leafs get the sweep (for the first time since 2018), they’re back in Toronto.
It’s been a day of returns for some Leafs who’ve been out for some time due to injury. One is Ilya Mikheyev, and the other is Petr Mrazek. Ondrej Kase, however, was absent once again from practice.
He’s missed the last two games due to an upper-body injury.

Keefe says Kase skated this morning and it went well. Plan is for him to join the morning skate but will not play tomorrow.
— David Alter (@dalter) November 30, 2021

Ilya Mikheyev skates before Leafs take the ice
Starting with Mikheyev, he’s been out since training camp after suffering a broken thumb. The 27-year-old skated before practice at Ford Performance Centre on Tuesday.

Ilya Mikheyev taking feeds from Alex Kerfoot with Petr Mrázek in goal. pic.twitter.com/651hbLxVdf
— David Alter (@dalter) November 30, 2021

Mikheyev is on week seven of his recovery, which means he may return to full practices (or maybe even game action) very soon.
Petr Mrázek takes in full Leafs practice
Back on October 14th vs. Ottawa, Mrázek suffered a groin injury which …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

MLB proposed a 14-team expanded post-season format in recent CBA discussions

Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association are working on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement as the current one comes to an end on December 1.

There are a whole bunch of issues that will be involved in negotiations. Labour-related things like service time manipulation and when players can first reach free agency are going to be hot-button issues, while other things such as the post-season format and the universal designated hitter are things that fans will be more interested in talking about.
According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, MLB has proposed expanding the post-season field to include 14 teams. Here’s who it would work…
Seven teams from each league make the post-season.
The top team in each league gets a bye through the wild-card round.
The two other division winners and the top wild-card team host a three-game series.
The two division winners in the wild-card round get to choose the opponent they’ll host from the pool of the three non-hosting wild-card teams.
The three winners from this wild-card round move on to the divisional round.
The goal here is for MLB to expand the post-season, which would, of course, increase television and sponsorship revenue. More games, especially in …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Tunesday: High hopes, new energy and a great Leafs November

Welcome, all to our third instalment of Tunesday! If you’re new around here this is the article where I dissect 5-7 songs that describe how the leafs played In the two weeks prior, for this edition, it’s three. It is a companion piece to the Not Enough of Blue playlist which is available everywhere you stream your music. As always it will be linked at the end of the article. Keeping with the theme of our second edition it’s an overall good vibe. The Toronto Maple Leafs feel different this year and their play up until now has proved it. 12-2-0 in November, 7 straight road wins, another California sweep, this team is doing amazing things right now. Let’s take a look at some music that reflects that. 
 
Up first we have the classic that is Dream On – Aerosmith. This song in particular represents the tough times that Aerosmith once went through. So although they were just beginning and obviously not succeeding musically, not selling albums and such. This song was a way for them to hold themselves accountable. This was a way of saying hold on to the feeling and the passion that drives you, …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Grizzlies Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 30

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Grizzlies Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 30

The Toronto Raptors have lost nine of their last 12 games, putting this team on a crash course for the lottery if they don’t manage to turn things around quickly. Will the latest Raptors odds claim that they are going to get back to winning or stay mired in their losing ways? Nick Nurse and […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Grizzlies Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 30 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Corey Seager and Javier Baez are off the board, the Blue Jays are reportedly interested in Chris Taylor

It was always a pipedream, but the Blue Jays’ “ideal target” of Corey Seager is off the market.

Seager joined Marcus Semien, inking a massive 10-year contract worth $325 million with the Texas Rangers.
Texas spent $600 million and completely revamped their infield… but still look like complete ass?

Looks so much better when you sign the best middle infield available to you in free agency:
2B SemienSS Seager1B LoweRF CalhounCF TaverasDH CalhounLF McKinney3B Kiner-FalefaC Heim
Could maybe use another outfield bat, definitely another starting pitcher.
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) November 29, 2021

Billy McKinney batting seventh?!? I mean, hey, good on them for spending some cash on marquee free agents, but it’s sort of hilarious to see a team add two impact players and come out of it looking like they’re going to challenge to finish .500.
As much as it sucks to lose Semien and subsequently lose out on, in my mind, the best fit for the Blue Jays on the free-agent market in Seager, the positive here is that both players joined a non-competitive team. Things would be much worse if Semien and/or Seager signed with the Yankees.
Anyways, after Semien signed in Texas, Shi Davidi offered us …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Why Kevin Gausman can survive the AL East the second time around

They have finally done it. The Blue Jays have been after Kevin Gausman for ever it seems and on Sunday they landed their guy signing Gausman to a 5-Year $110 million contract.

It’s not hard to see why the Blue Jays coveted Gausman, he checks off so many boxes for this front office. First of all he is an ace. Gausman had a 2.81 ERA last season, supported by a 3.00 FIP and 3.28 xFIP. By FanGraphs WAR he was worth 4.8 wins, ranking 10th among pitchers who threw at least 50 innings.
He struck out 227 batters against just 50 walks. He has swing and miss stuff, his 15.3% swinging-strike rate, was basically the same as Robbie Ray’s last season. Second, he is durable, having made at least 30 starts in four of the last five full seasons. His 192.0 innings pitched last year were the sixth most in baseball. This is something I think the Blue Jays have focused on. In a league where starters are pitching less and less the Blue Jays will have two pitchers (of just seven) in their rotation next season who threw 190 innings last season in Gausman and José Berríos.
Third, Gausman seems like a really good person.

Put some respect on …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs November reign raised expectations and hopes

The Leafs were never as bad as their October. A team with Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner, not to mention a strong supporting cast of TJ Brodie, Jack Campbell, Morgan Rielly, and others was not going to be 2-4-1 bad. In fact even the October 2-4-1 start was a bit exaggerated, as by the end of the month they had rebounded to 4-4-1, which while still underwhelming spoke to the fact that the Leafs have a finite amount of time they can be bad for, they just have the unfortunate habit of picking the playoffs for that time.
Now a 12-2-0 November, and a 14-2-0 stretch if you blissfully include those last couple of games in October is a bit of an inflated sense of how good the Leafs can be as well, albeit a far more enjoyable stretch of hockey to partake in. It by no means warrants responses like this:

The Toronto Maple Leafs playing their best hockey of the season in November is peak Leafs.
— Sid Seixeiro (@Sid_Seixeiro) November 29, 2021

Now, you can make a strong case for the fact that this will be some of the best …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation