Exploring an Anton Stralman homecoming for the Leafs

Exploring an Anton Stralman homecoming for the Leafs

Whenever someone is put on waivers, the default answer to do you claim them should be no. This year the quality of players on waivers really has hammered that point home, and when you consider that as of this morning the Leafs cannot claim Stralman due to being at 50 standard player contracts already really makes the decision for the Leafs.
So all of those things considered, I still have a hard time getting the idea of Anton Stralman out of my head. He’s older, he’s not the player he was in his prime and he’s never been particularly fast and definitely not physical, but he’s always been effective. With a $1M cap hit, a right shot, and the Leafs regularly putting Mac Hollowell in their lineup, it’s not ridiculous to consider a defensive option that comes particularly cheap.
So here is the current state of Anton Stralman:
He’s played 8 games this season, he’s averaging around 14 minutes a night, and seeing about a minute of penalty kill time each game. His Corsi For % is 51%, and his expect goals % is as …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Whit Merrifield sparks win behind Alek Manoah’s huge start

We finally have the answer to if giving up Max Castillo and Samad Taylor to the Royals for Whit Merrifield was worth it. Hell yes, it was. Whit Merrifield is a Blue Jay.

Of all the pain that Tropicana Field has caused the Blue Jays, Merrifield has seemed to find his former batting title self while playing down in Tampa. His 7th inning 3-run home run off of Rays reliever Brooks Raley sealed the deal on a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay, as well as changed the tone for how this series has been going.
The Blue Jays had just stranded the bases loaded in the 6th, as they were in the midst of a pitching duel between Alek Manoah and Drew Rasmussen. Chances to pounce on the relentless Rays pitching were dwindling down, but the bottom of Toronto’s order came through.
Teoscar Hernandez doubled with one out in the 7th, forcing Rasmussen to leave the game in favor of Raley. Danny Jansen walked, setting the stage for Merrifield.

BIG HIT WHIT @WhitMerrifield pic.twitter.com/jBAxkDo2J5
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 25, 2022

Merrifield skied a first-pitch slider to the left-field seats for his fourth home run as a Blue Jay. As a fan, it was quite the moment watching Merrifield trot around the bases with a lot of emotion. The recent injury to Santiago Espinal has opened the door for more playing time for Merrifield, and he is taking full advantage.
Thus far in this series, Merrifield is 5-for-11 with three home runs and six RBIs. It’s almost comical how much he has been the “secret weapon” for the Jays against the Rays. It’s important to note that he had the clutch hit to put Toronto ahead during a September 13th win over these Rays during the late innings.
Merrifield’s big hit also gave Alek Manoah a win; a reward for the Big Man’s excellent outing. Manoah didn’t allow his first hit until the 4th inning, en route to a 7 inning, four hit and no run performance.
Jordan Romano finished the game off with a 4-out save, a reassuring sight to see after two straight blown saves.
Manoah has continued to be the MVP of this Blue Jays team, and everyone is running out of adjectives to describe how much he has meant to this team. He also continues to be the go-to guy after a loss, as this win tonight by the Jays came when they absolutely needed it. The win put the Jays back …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation