Bryan Reynolds, a potential fit for the Blue Jays’ outfield, has requested a trade from the Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds has requested a trade, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

There isn’t any indication as to why Reynolds has requested a trade at this time. Back in August, Reynolds joked that he told the Pirates not to move him ahead of Major League Baseball’s trade deadline…
“I want to stay here,” Reynolds said. “I haven’t hidden it, so hopefully that’s the plan.”
Anyway, things change, and here we are now.
Reynolds, a switch-hitting outfielder, fits the profile of the type of player the Blue Jays would like to add to diversify their lineup this off-season. Following the trade of Teoscar Hernandez back in November, the Blue Jays have a hole in their outfield and in the middle of their lineup and the assumption has always been that they’d add a lefty or switch hitter to fill it.
Originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Reynolds was the main prospect that came back to Pittsburgh when the Pirates traded star outfielder Andrew McCutchen out west back in 2018.
Reynolds broke into the big leagues in 2019 with an impressive rookie season in which he slashed a .314/.377/.503 line over 546 plate appearances. His production took a step back in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season but Reynolds has since rebounded to All-Star-calibre production, as he slashed a .283/.368/.492 line over 1260 plate appearances between 2021 and 2022.

Bryan Reynolds with his third homer of the game!!!
— MLB (@MLB) June 29, 2022

Now heading into the second season of a two-year contract worth $6.75 million per year that was signed back in April, Reynolds has …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Jacob DeGrom signs with the Texas Rangers

The first huge domino of free agency has fallen, as Jacob DeGrom has signed with the… Texas Rangers? What?

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the 34-year-old has signed a five-year, $185,000,000 contract with the Toronto Blue Jays son.

BREAKING: Right-hander Jacob deGrom has signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the Texas Rangers, sources tell ESPN. Physical is passed. Deal is done. Includes conditional sixth-year option that would take total deal to $222 million. Full no-trade clause. A massive haul.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 3, 2022

This sets a trend of the Rangers committing serious money to free agents, as they signed Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325,000,000 contract and Marcus Semien to a $175,000,000 contract over seven seasons before the 2022 season.
Last season, DeGrom finished with a 3.08 ERA and 2.13 FIP in 64.1 innings pitched. He also amassed an insane 42.7 K% and an incredibly low 3.3 BB%. However, injuries have been a concern for our generation’s best pitcher, as he’s been limited to only 26 starts the past two seasons. Usually, a starter appears in around 32 games if fully healthy.
He’s also on the wrong side of 30, so they’ll always be a concern there. However, teams have been committing serious money to older pitchers still performing excellently.. For example, the Mets signed Max Scherzer to a 3-year, $130,000,000 contract before the 2022 season when he was 37 years old.
Furthermore, reigning American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander is looking for a big payday, like Max Scherzer’s the season prior. Verlander will be 40 years old before the season starts.
What about the rest of the Texas Rangers pitching st …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Joe Siddall suggests the Blue Jays could trade two catchers, Ross Atkins speaks, and more!

News and Notes time, as we’re slowly approaching the Winter Meetings.

“Slowly approaching” feels like an understatement, as the past month has just been filled with speculation and empty rumours, but we’re almost there. Let’s look at some things boiling on the hot stove.
Why just trade one catcher, why not two:
It’s pretty well known that the Jays are expected to trade a catcher before the start of the 2023 season. While it’s also been noted that they’re okay with carrying three if a trade doesn’t materialize, they have a surplus of three really good catchers, so a trade will probably happen.
Sportsnet’s Joe Siddall takes it one step further and suggests that instead of trading one catcher, trade two and sign a veteran.

#MLB winter meetings next week… #BlueJays expected to move a C (area of depth)…thinking outside the box…how about trading 2 C’s?…& sign FA christian vazquez…vaz catches primarily, kirk C & dh…using jansen/moreno to acquire needs (sp/rp, cf) is done via FA
— Joe Siddall (@SiddallJoe) December 1, 2022

Siddall, who played the backstop in the Majors knows what he’s talking about, but this may be too extreme. Defensively, Vázquez is an upgrade over Jansen, but except for in 2019 when he hit 23 homers, he never had over 10. Over his career, he is a 84 wRC+ hitter as well, but he’s a perfect fit for a backup catcher.
Once you factor in that he’s been the backstop for two World Series winners, and yeah, Vázquez is definitely an interesting free agent, but it doesn’t seem likely the Jays will sign a catcher for the main roster
This is speculation on my behalf, but it seems likely to me that they’d trade for a starter with team control while signing a left-handed batting outfielder. More on this later, though.
Nathan Eovaldi:
Jim Bowden of The Athletic paired former Red Sox Nathan Eovaldi with the Toronto Blue Jays, speculating that he’d sign a four-year, $90,000,000 deal with the team. The s …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

End of month Winter Leauge wrap-up: Rainer Nuñez leads the Dominican Winter League in home runs, Bowden Francis pitching well, and more!

It’s the end of November, so it’s time to look at how Blue Jays prospects are doing in their respective winter leagues!

So first things first, you’ve read the title and may be asking “who’s Rainer Nuñez?”. He was Blue Jays Nation’s 16th-ranked prospect in the mid-season ranking, and oh my is he ever coming into his own. More on that in the first section.
We’ll also look at several other prospects, such as Naswell Paulino, Bowden Francis, Otto López, and Adrián Hernández.
Rainer Nuñez:
As I had mentioned, the 21-year-old ranked as our 16th best Blue Jays prospect, and for good reason. He was the only Dunedin Blue Jay regular to have an exit velocity over 110 mph, which he did five times. In fact, in 2021 when exit velocity was tracked, he was one of only six batters with a ball hit over 110 mph, which he did the most despite being younger than most of his contemporaries.
Of course, exit velocity only matters so much, so what about his season totals?
Nuñez slashed .299/.328/.482 with 15 homers in 384 plate appearances with the Dunedin Blue Jays, eventually winning the Florida State League batting title. His BB% dropped from 13.7% in the FCL in 2021, to 3.6% with the baby Jays, but he only struck out 21.4% of the time, which isn’t bad in the slightest.

La puso del otro lado ¡HOMERUN de Rainer Núñez que pone a las @EOBASEBALLCLUB en la pizarra! #LIDOM #CopaBanreservas
— LIDOM (@LIDOMRD) November 30, 2022

He wa …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Jays are apparently close to signing Don Mattingly, could be as soon as Wednesday morning

Long-time big league manager Don Mattingly is “very close” to signing with the Toronto Blue Jays

Per Joel Sherman, the 61-year-old legend Mattingly signing with the Jays could be announced as soon as Wednesday morning!

The announcement of Mattingly’s hiring is now expected as early as Wednesday morning.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 30, 2022

News continued to pour in, but Mattingly noted on Jon Heyman and Sherman’s podcast that he’s in talks with a mystery team (the Jays per this NYPost article.) 

Don Mattingly was on The Show podcast @nypostsports with @Joelsherman1 & @JonHeyman today.
Mattingly says there is a team he is talking to that is very interesting to him.
Who is the mystery team that may end up hiring the Yankees legend and ex-Marlins manager?
— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownRadio) November 29, 2022

Let’s look at what the veteran manager could offer.
The 61-year-old spent the last seven seasons managing the eternally rebuilding Miami Marlins, amassing a 443-587 record, which isn’t that bad when you factor in the team considers itself a small market.
Miami only had a winning record once in the seven years, coming in the plague season. However, early in his tenure (when they had good players), they sat around .500. Mattingly also spent five seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where they went 446-363 in that span. Overall, he has an 889-950 record for a 48.3 win percentage.
However, the Jays re-sign John Schneider earlier in the off-season, so this begs the question, what role would he fill as a bench coach? As far as my research goes, there are no vacancies for the coaching staff, so I’m not too sure. Prior to becoming a manager, Mattingly’s job was that of a hitting coach.
Now, there are also questions about his leadership style, which is why I don’t see a fit. Unlike Charlie Montoyo and even Jon Schneider, Mattingly has never really allowed his players to be expressive. The most recent example of this came early in the 2022 season, when he sat Miami Marlins star Jazz Chisholm the day after hitting a home run.
As you may know, the Bahamian-born Chisholm is a rather expressive player, which is great for the game. However, Mattingly spent his 14-year career with the New York Yankees, even becoming their captain. So that begs the question if his hardass policies would affect the Jays, who enjoy having fun. Perhaps his policies would take a back seat as a bench coach? Perhaps it’s to help mentor John Schneider as he moves into his first full-season? What will happen to the home run jacket?
So many questions, but first he has to be announced. Expect updates to this article once he officially signs!
As always, y …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Mike Clevinger’s contract with the White Sox further indicates an expensive free-agent market this winter

After a lull in the baseball world over the past week, we got a pair of signings on Sunday and Monday, as Jose Abreu inked a multi-year contract with the Houston Astros and Mike Clevinger inked a show-me deal with the Chicago White Sox.

This flurry of moves sees the White Sox move on from Abreu, who slashed a .292/.354/.506 line with the team over the course of nine seasons, and add a reclamation project to their starting rotation. Clevinger was moved in a big trade from Cleveland to the San Diego Padres during the 2020 season. He made just four starts with the team and underwent Tommy John surgery and then missed the entirety of the 2021 season.
In his first year back from Tommy John, Clevinger posted a 4.33 ERA over the course of 114 1/3 innings. His fastball velocity hovered around 93.5 miles per hour, a noticeable drop from where it was during his successful seasons in Cleveland. As a result, his strikeout rate dipped to 18.8% in 2022 compared to 27.5% in 2020 and 22.6% in 2019.
Now, why does any of this matter? Because Clevinger’s contract, which has $12 million guaranteed, further indicates just how expensive this winter’s free-agent market is going to be…

$12M is more than I e …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Digging into eight proposed trades involving Blue Jays catchers!

It’s the time of year when we all make hypothetical trade suggestions. It doesn’t help that this off-season has felt incredibly slow. Grab a snack and get curled up, this article is going to be a long one.

A few days ago, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic wrote an article pitching eight trades involving Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk. She spoke with the other team’s beat writers of The Athletic to compile these trades, while former general manager Jim Bowden gave his assessment.
As a somewhat rational Jay fan, I also wanted to take a look at these trades and give my opinion. The fact of the matter is that some of these trades actually make sense, and I want to dig into those ones in particular.
We’ll start by looking at Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk by the numbers and attempt to gauge their value.
Danny Jansen:
The 2022 season was a career year for the 27-year-old catcher, at least with the bat. He slashed .260/.339/.516 in 248 plate appearances and had a 10.1 K% and 17.7 BB% during that time.
Where he really impressed though, was the fact that he hit a career-high 15 homers in such a short span, which was good enough for a 140 wRC+ and 2.6 fWAR.

FREE TIP: To shift Danny Jansen, place your outfielders BEHIND the wall
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 27, 2022

Defensively, he just hasn’t been the same as his 2019, whe …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have some interesting homegrown talent who could help the bullpen in 2023 and beyond

The Blue Jays bullpen has become incredibly deep over the past few seasons.

Remember the 17 pitchers on the Blue Jays staff/taxi squad to start the 2021 season? If not, it featured pitchers such as Tanner Roark, T.J. Zeuch, Ryan Borucki, Tyler Chatwood, Rafael Dolis, Julian Merryweather, Joel Payamps, and Trent Thornton (who may start 2023 in Buffalo). The Jays also had Tommy Milone, A.J Cole, and Travis Bergen on the now-defunct Taxi Squad. Here’s an article for Blue Jays Nation’s Cam Lewis if you want to see how far the team has come.
Of course, the 2021 opening day roster still featured Tim Mayza, David Phelps, and Jordan Romano. However, they were the only three mainstays in the bullpen out of the fourteen names I listed.
The state of the present-day bullpen:
Fast-forward to the present day, and the Jays have added Anthony Bass (1.54 ERA, 3 FIP in 2022), Yimi García (3.10 ERA, 3.47 FIP), Adam Cimber (2.80 ERA, 3.47 FIP), Erik Swanson (1.68 ERA, 1.85 FIP) as mainstays. 
This doesn’t even mention adding Trevor Richards, who had a good 2021 and a pretty good second half to 2022, or Zach Pop, who may not be on the 2023 roster because he has options.
The bullpen is incredibly deep with players that have produced great results. Yes, they did trade Rowdy Tellez, Joe Panik, Jordan Groshans, and Tesocar Hernández to acquire many of these relievers, but as a whole, these were all pretty good trades.
One of the few aspects the front office has failed at in the eyes of some is that they haven’t developed any homegrown relievers. While that may be true for the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Blue Jays have been linked to Masataka Yoshida, while Kevin Kiermaier and Joey Gallo could also be fits

What do Kevin Kiermaier, Joey Gallo, and Masataka Yoshida have in common? Well, they all play in the outfield, and all bat left-handed!

While I hope the Jays still remain in the hunt for Brandon Nimmo, it doesn’t hurt to look at some possible names that could fill in as a fourth outfielder.  With how the Jays utilize the Designated Hitter spot, these fourth outfielders would likely get an opportunity to play.
Masataka Yoshida:
Per The Athletics’ Will Sammon, the Jays are one of the teams linked to the Japanese outfielder by various sites overseas.
The 29-year-old lefty slashed .335/.447/.561 with 21 homers in 508 plate appearances with the Orix Buffaloes. He was also an on-base machine, with a walk rate of 15.7% and an incredibly low strikeout rate of 8.1%.

運命の首位攻防第3R#吉田正尚 勢いそのままに先制2ランホームラン!
— ベースボールLIVE (@baseballlive_JP) September 19, 2022

In his 3189 plate appearances in the NPB, he has 133 home runs, so there is definitely some raw power there as well. The main question is his defense, which has been described as below average.
While his corner outfield profile could certainly help the Jays in 2023, his defense is suspect, and overseas statistics don’t always translate well in Major League Baseball. It also would keep George Springer in centre field, which may not be ideal if the Jays hop to keep him healthy.
Kevin Kiermaier:
Did Kiermaier steal Alejandro Kirk’s gameplan sheet? He sure did. Does that mean the Jays shouldn’t sign him if he accepts the fourth outfielder role? Absolutely not.
The 32-year-old slashed .228/.281/369 with seven homers in  221 plate appearances. The former gold glove winner has a tendency to strike out, as he had a career-high 27.6 K% the past season, with a career K% of 22%. In total, he finished with a wRC+ of 90, slightly below his career average of 97.

— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2022

While it’s arguable that his offense is an upgrade over Raimel Tapia’s, his defense in centre field certainly is. He had a 2 Defensive Runs Saved and a 1 Outs Above Average, which was slightly above average in his 482.1 innings.
While his numbers took a hit in 2022, he did have a 13 DRS in 2021, as well as an 11 OAA in 894.2 innings in centre field. As for his career defensive numbers,  he has an insane 134 D …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Moving Bo Bichette to centre field may be so crazy, that it actually works

Look, the likelihood of this happening is essentially zero, but I think it’s an interesting discussion that has some merit.

In the early part of the 2022 season, I wrote about how the Blue Jays should move shortstop Bo Bichette to second base, as his defense at short was well below average. I felt comfortable with that opinion, as it would have just been a swap with everyday second baseman Santiago Espinal.
This article is a little bit different. Unlike the previous article and more like an onion, this article will have more layers as we’re in the off-season. Let’s get into the pros and cons of why this idea may be so damn crazy that it’ll work.
Starting the caveat:
We’ll get into why it looks good on paper in the next few sections, but this section will feature the biggest obstacle in why this likely won’t happen.
Imagine you’re Bo Bichette, and you’ve been touted as the long-term shortstop of the Toronto Blue Jays. Four years into your young career, the Jays are looking to move you off the position and into the outfield (in this case, centre field.)
I don’t imagine he’d be very happy with the situation, and I don’t even know if the Jays would consider this as they’ve spent four years developing Bichette at short. While it may make sense on paper, the human element, as well as the team’s interests are likely in a different direction. That doesn’t mean it isn’t an inter …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation