Transaction: The Joel Payamps era begins again!

No, this isn’t deja-vu, this isn’t a dream, Joel Payamps has again been claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays.

ROSTER MOVE: We’ve claimed RHP Joel Payamps off waivers from the Red Sox.
To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Jacob Waguespack has been designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/7awdikkLQr
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) March 6, 2021

Payamps has had one hell of winter. He was originally with the Diamondbacks, he was waived and claimed by Boston, waived again two weeks later, claimed by the Blue Jays, waived again shortly after that, and now he’s a Blue Jay again. So, in the last three-is months, he’s been Diamondback, a Red Sock twice, and a Blue Jay twice. Let’s see if it sticks this time.
In a corresponding move, the team designated Jacob Waguespack for assignment. Waguespack, of course, was the guy the Blue Jays got in return for Aaron Loup a couple of years ago.
He pitched 95 2/3 innings for the big-league club between 2019 and 2020 and put together a 5.08 ERA. He had a few strong starts in 2019, most notably the seven one-hit innings against the L.A. Dodgers, that made it appear as though there was …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Mark Shapiro talks about Spring Training broadcasts, Blue Jays home games, and more!

Mark Shapiro appeared on The Bob McCown Podcast on Wednesday and spoke about a handful of interesting things, including the ongoing broadcast drama of Blue Jays Spring Training games and where the team will be playing its home games come the regular season.

On the Spring Training broadcasts, or lack thereof…
A big storyline so far this year is the fact that Blue Jays baseball is back and nobody is able to watch it. Even more abnormal, we aren’t able to hear most of the Grapefruit games on the radio because Sportsnet has axed that part of its production.
As we learned last week, Sportsnet will only be producing three Grapefruit games this spring and they’ll all come in late-March. Otherwise, we’re relying on Toronto’s opponents to have either a television or radio stream to be able to consume these games. And then, come regular season time, the Blue Jays will have a TV broadcast featuring Dan Shulman, Buck Martinez, and Pat Tabler simulcast on the radio, leaving Ben Wagner somewhere in limbo.
When asked about the broadcast situation, Shapiro remained fairly tight-lipped, and ultimately reiterated what he said a couple of weeks ago about how …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Nate Pearson has a Grade 1 Right Groin Strain

Here’s something you don’t want to see… Nate Pearson is dealing with a groin injury.

According to Arden Zwelling, Pearson suffered a Grade 1 Right Groin Strain while making his 2021 spring debut on Monday against the Pirates.

Per Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins, Nate Pearson suffered a grade 1 right groin strain while pitching Monday.
Club will be cautious and limit his activity in the coming days; not yet a clear timeline on when he could return to the mound.
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) March 4, 2021

As Zwelling says, there isn’t yet a timeline for Pearson’s return and the team is going to limit his pitching activity in the coming days. According to Google, a grade 1 groin strain occurs when the muscle is overstretched or torn and it generally takes one-to-two weeks until somebody can return to exercise.
Pearson’s outing on Monday was a bit shaky, as it took him 28 pitches to navigate through one inning of work, so this would probably explain what was going on. Let’s hope he can get healthy quickly so he can get adequately ramped up before the start of the season.
Maybe Ross Atkins should be phoning Jake Odorizzi’s agent today.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Grapefruit Notes: Simeon Woods Richardson and Alek Manoah shine in loss to Yankees

The Blue Jays are no longer undefeated in 2021. All good things must come to an end. But, on the bright side, Wednesday night’s loss to the Yankees featured two very good pitching performances from two key prospects.

Things worth mentioning…
Simeon Woods Richardson made his first start of the spring for the Blue Jays and looked pretty damn good, I would assume, based on following along on MLB Gameday because this game wasn’t televised. Woods Richardson, a prospect who some have suggested could crack the big-league club at some point this season, threw two scoreless frames, allowing just one walk while picking up one strikeout. The batters he got out? DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and Gary Sanchez. That’s what you like to see.
After Woods Richardson, Alek Manoah, another Large Adult Son, entered the game to pitch. The Blue Jays’ first-round pick from the 2019 draft had himself a damn good outing, striking out four Yanks over the course of two scoreless innings. I wonder what they looked like. Really cool, probably. Anyways, Manoah was hitting as high as 97.8 miles-per-hour on the gun and generated quite a few swinging strikes, as far …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays were among the teams who attended Yoenis Cespedes’ showcase in Florida

We’re only a few weeks away from the start of the season and we have a new ‘The Blue Jays have checked in on ________’ report.

According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Blue Jays (along with the Yankees, White Sox, Brewers, Tigers,, Padres, Rays, Reds, Marlins, Cubs, and Braves) attended Yoenis Cespedes’ showcase in Florida.
I could quote some of the scouts on site, except it would be more effective to express their general sentiments in a collective shrug, as many of them did, their shrugs meaning, “Yup, he’s still a physical wonder and somebody you can dream on.”
At the plate, working with recently dismissed Mets hitting coordinator and coach Ryan Ellis, Cespedes did some soft-toss work, and then he took batting practice against a left-handed pitcher. He pulled some shots over the left-field wall and went the other way to deposit some shots over the wall in right-center. La Potencia still can send the baseball on a long-distance trip.
Cespedes has sort of fallen off the grid over the past few years due to battles with various injuries. He opted out of the 2020 season and he played in just 119 games between 2017 and 2019 due …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Alternate Training Site lives on as Triple-A baseball’s start has been delayed by one month

Bad news if you’re a fan of the Buffalo Bisons — The Alternate Training Site will continue to exist for at least the first month of the 2021 season.

According to a report from ESPN, Major League Baseball has opted to push back the start of the Triple-A level season to early May. It was originally slated to begin on April 6, a few days after the start of the big-league season, but players will instead go to Alternate Training Sites like the ones from last summer for at least one month.
Here’s what MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations’ statement said…
“This is a prudent step to complete the major league and minor league seasons as safely as possible, and we look forward to having fans back in ballparks across the country very soon.”
With COVID-19 vaccinations quickly becoming available in the United States, MLB is ultimately strategizing to have non-big-league players wait around and practice so that they can receive the vaccine before embarking on the minor-league season. Both Double- and Class-A level ball had always been scheduled to begin in May this season.
Minor-league players are obviously in a more susceptible position to contract the virus, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Grapefruit Notes: The much-anticipated George Springer debut that nobody saw

The Blue Jays remain undefeated in 2021 as they beat the Phillies by a score of 4-2 (after picking up a 2-2 tie against the Pirates on Monday.

Tuesday’s game was headlined by George Springer’s debut as a Blue Jay. Unfortunately, all we got to see from this game was A) a MLB dot com’s Gameday feed and B) a 10-second clip on Twitter of Springer hitting a single.
This whole spring training broadcast (or lack thereof) situation is obviously nothing new and everyone has pissed and moaned about it by this point. But still, it’s absolutely perplexing that Rogers allowed the Blue Jays to go out and spend $150 million on a player and the first view of them in a game wasn’t aired or even played on the radio.
Could you imagine if John Tavares’ first pre-season game with the Maple Leafs wasn’t aired? I’ve seen more effort put into broadcasting pre-pre-season NHL rookie intra-squad games than George Springer’s Blue Jays debut.
Anyways!
Things worth mentioning…
We also missed the not-quite-as-anticipated debuts of Steven Matz and Tyler Chatwood, two of Toronto’s off-season pitching additions. Matz tossed two innings and allowed one …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins Need to Explain Themselves

Mickey Callaway’s behavior was unacceptable. Everybody reading this understands that fact. In The Athletic’s latest article about Callaway, Katie Strang, Britt Ghiroli, and Ken Rosenthal detail Callaway’s harassment and uncomfortable actions while he was employed by the Cleveland baseball team.

For context, Callaway was hired by Cleveland in 2010, and he served with them in four different roles until 2017. Mark Shapiro, the Blue Jays’ current President, was Cleveland’s President from 2010 until he left to come to Canada in 2015. Ross Atkins, the Blue Jays current GM, was Cleveland’s Director of Player of Development from 2006 through 2014, and served as the club’s Vice President of Player Personnel until he too came to the Blue Jays after the 2015 season.
What this means is that while Mark Shapiro was in charge of Cleveland’s entire organization and Ross Atkins was in charge of their minor league system, Mickey Callaway was hired and then promoted three different times. There were at least four different opportunities for Shapiro or Atkins to evaluate the performance of Callaway and check with others on how people felt about Callaway, and yet he continued to advance in the organization.
It’s difficult to believe that they …

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Author: Gideon Turk / Blue Jays Nation

Transactions: Breyvic Valera and Travis Bergen are back with the Blue Jays

We’ve got some transaction news as two familiar-ish faces are back in the mix.

First, as you would have noticed if you watched Sunday’s game against the Yankees, infielder Breyvic Valera is back with the Blue Jays after being reinstated from the Restricted List. Valera was unable to join the team last season as he wasn’t able to get out of Venezuela due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Valera is a really random name you might have completely forgotten about until today. He was claimed by the Blue Jays from the Yankees back in September of 2019, a dark period of time many of us have wiped from our memories, and he got into five games with the team that season.
His numbers in Triple-A that season (between the Giants and Yankees minor-league affiliates) were actually quite good. Valera slashed a .303/.389/.480 line over 107 games with a 50-to-44 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Of course, he’s also 29 years old with no success at the big-league level.
Anyway, Valera is apparently in the mix for a backup infield gig with Santiago Espinal and Joe Panik, who’s in Florida as a non-roster invitee. I figure Valera is a pretty likely candidate to be …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Grapefruit Notes: The Blue Jays are undefeated in 2021

Baseball! It’s back!

Hopefully you were able to catch the fever of YOUR Toronto Blue Jays on this lovely Sunday afternoon because they won’t be on television again for two weeks.
Baseball! It’s sort of back!
Things worth mentioning…
The Toronto Blue Jays are undefeated in 2021, while the New York Yankees remain winless. Does this make the Blue Jays World Series favourites? I mean, you certainly have to ask the question.
Anthony Kay got the start for the Blue Jays and looked very good. Remember, when it comes to Spring Training, when a guy is doing well, it means that they’re going to have a breakout season, but when they’re doing poorly, it doesn’t mean anything. Those are the rules. Anyway, Kay was excellent over two innings of work, but, unfortunately Charlie Montoyo didn’t allow him to go the distance to pitch a perfect game. The interesting thing with Kay on Sunday afternoon was the extra zip on his pitches. He was hitting as high as 97 miles-per-hour, which is well above the 96.3 mph fastball he averaged last year. All aboard the Anthony Kay for Cy Young train!

2 perfect innings for @TonyBuckets18?
What a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation