Pursuing Cubs’ relievers could significantly transform Blue Jays’ bullpen

The Toronto Blue Jays can’t win the World Series at the trade deadline, however, if the correct moves are made, they could position themselves for a deep playoff run in October. So, what moves need to happen?

Well, there are some obvious flaws with Toronto’s roster. Offensively, they probably need to acquire a proven left-handed hitter to make their lineup a little more balanced. But that’s not the main weakness of this group. Everyone knows they can score boatloads of runs even with a right-handed-heavy offence.
Pitching is where this team must improve the most, especially in the bullpen. There’s only one problem with that, though, so too does almost every other contending team. Quality relievers are always in high demand during this time of the year. And with the expanded playoff format, there won’t be as many sellers at this year’s trade deadline and in future ones, too.
Having said that, there are a handful of franchises who’ve already been virtually eliminated from post-season contention, particularly those near the bottom of the standings in the National League. As for which ones stand out the most in terms of pitching depth, the Chicago Cubs could serve as an intriguing tra …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 92: Trading a catcher, checking in on former Blue Jays in Oakland, and more!

The Blue Jays dropped their five-game series with the Rays and now they’re off to the West Coast to play Oakland and Seattle.

In this episode of BJN Radio, we took a look back at the Rays series, which started off with a great Yusei Kikuchi performance and finished with depth arms throwing batting practice.
We then dove into a couple of rumours, as the Blue Jays are reportedly one of the teams in the mix for Kansas City’s Andrew Benintendi while the Tigers are reportedly interested in Danny Jansen.
Finally, we looked ahead to the series in Oakland against the A’s, who are in last place in baseball, and we took a look at how the players who were traded for Matt Chapman back in March are doing.
You can listen to the episode here…
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 91: Gearing up for a long weekend with the Tampa Bay Rays!

The Blue Jays nearly pulled off a sweep of the Boston Red Sox this week but some bullpen struggles resulted in a loss in the finale.

Pitching will be important this weekend as the Blue Jays are set to host the Tampa Bay Rays for five games. Tampa is a game-and-a-half behind Toronto in the standings and are rolling into town limping through multiple injuries.
On this episode of BJN Radio, we talked about the good and the bad from the Boston series and then looked ahead to the five-gamer with the Rays.
You can listen to the episode here… 
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Trade Deadline Primer: Looking for teams that can give the Blue Jays pitching depth and make them more left-handed

Last year around this time the Blue Jays’ trade deadline needs were shaping up to a left-handed bat, relief pitching help, and arguably another starting pitcher.

Funny enough, those are the same things the team could stand to add as this year’s trade deadline approaches. But what teams could represent an opportunity for Blue Jays to address two, or maybe all three, needs in one fell swoop? Well, that is what we are going to investigate here. Hopefully, these names could coalesce in a package that provides the kind of impact more in line with the Adam Cimber-Corey Dickerson trade than the Rowdy Tellez deal.
For example, former Blue Jays assistant general manager, and current general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ben Cherington probably still has a good handle on the Blue Jays prospect pipeline. But the Pirates also have players that could fill all three of the Blue Jays’ needs, making them a good match for each other at the deadline. To start, David Bednar is a monster out the bullpen, using a blistering fastball to put up elite strikeout rates. When hitters do make contact against him they tend to do damage, but he profiles as the kind of force the Blue Jays could stand to add to lock up games la …

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Author: Noah Vande / Blue Jays Nation

Injuries, inconsistencies are severly testing Blue Jays’ bullpen as trade deadline nears

Like most clubs, the Toronto Blue Jays have relied heavily on their bullpen throughout the first half of the 2022 season and while that’s resulted in several one-run victories, it’s also led to a very taxing workload, particularly as of late.

When your starting rotation pitches deep into games, more often than not, your bullpen will be well-rested when called upon to record the last few outs. That was the case for the Blue Jays early on, especially when starters Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah took the mound. And Yusei Kikuchi for a brief time, too.
Lately, however, Toronto’s starting rotation has largely struggled to cover many innings as José Berríos and others have failed to provide length. Currently, their starters are tied for the 11th-fewest innings pitched (125.1) among all 30 teams in June, according to FanGraphs. Not to mention, they also rank 17th in ERA (4.45) and OPP AVG (.259). That’s less than ideal.
Add in the season-ending injury to Hyun Jin Ryu, forcing Ross Stripling out of his multi-inning role and back into the rotation before he could be fully stretched out, and this results in an unsustainable workload for the bullpen. And the cracks are starting to show.
This month, the Blue Jays’ bullpen has been one of the most overworked units in the majors, as they’ve faced the fourth-most batters (427) and have logged the fifth-most innings pitched (98.1). As you can imagine, covering all these innings hasn’t been a recipe for success. In total, they’ve posted the second-worst OPP AVG (.274), the fifth-highest ERA (4.94) and the ninth-lowest left-on-base percentage (68.7 per cent).


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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Blue Jays C Alejandro Kirk continues to pace AL catchers in MLB All-Star game votes

The summer of Alejandro continues.

The Toronto Blue Jays catcher, who has thrown himself into the season as one of the best at his position in the league, is continuing to run away with votes for the all-star game.
Fresh tallies were released Monday afternoon, and Kirk’s vote totals have risen to over 1.857-million — triple that of the second-place Jose Trevino.

Alejandro Kirk expands his lead in first phase of MLB all-star voting, which ends Thursday at 2 pm ET. Top two vote getters at each position (and top six in OF) advance to second stage to determine who starts. Several Blue Jays in good shape. pic.twitter.com/bKbIiCrnyD
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) June 27, 2022

A few other notable Jays find themselves sitting comfortably. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hold first place for first basemen voting doubling up on Ty France from the Seattle Mariners. Santiago Espinal sits second in 2B voting, but has Andres Gimenez of the Cleveland Guardians hot on his tail rough 120,000 votes behind.
Bo Bichette is in a nice spot in shortstop voting holding first place and a 200,000 vote lead over Tim Anderson from the White Sox. Both George Springer and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have worked their way into outfield voting sitting 3rd and sixth, respectively, with Tesocar Hernandez in the seven spot.
Two Blue Jays are in pursuit of all-star game trips, too. Matt Chapman is in third for 3B voting, but his 696,556 pales in comparison to Rafael Devers, who is in second with 1.185-million votes.
Lastly, Danny Jansen has worked his way into third spot among DH voters despite the fact he’s only played in 19 games this year.
Zach Laing is the Nation …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 90: What should the Blue Jays do about their starting pitching woes?

The Blue Jays’ starting pitching has become a problem.

After Alek Manoah cruised to a win on Friday night, Yusei Kikuchi and Jose Berrios were only able to go two innings each on Saturday and Sunday as the Blue Jays dropped two of three in Milwaukee.
On this episode of BJN Radio, we talked about Charlie Montoyo’s comments about Kikuchi’s performance, whether it might be time to give somebody else a look, and whether the front office should look to acquire a starting pitcher.
We then looked ahead at an incredibly important eight-game stretch against the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays this week.
You can listen to the episode here…
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays hitting coach Guillermo Martínez receives five-game suspension, undisclosed fine

The Toronto Blue Jays still can’t escape their frustrating three-game series against the Chicago White Sox from earlier this week.
In the second game of that series, both clubs encountered an egregious strike zone from home plate umpire Doug Eddings, who struggled mightily on Tuesday. More often than not, most of those missed calls were against Blue Jays hitters, which caused tensions to boil over, with pitching coach Pete Walker ultimately being ejected.
One day later, prior to first pitch of Wednesday’s finale, hitting coach Guillermo Martínez got into a heated argument with Eddings as he was exchanging lineup cards with the White Sox. Martínez was eventually tossed from the game and is now being disciplined by Major League Baseball for his actions.
The 37-year-old has received a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine after he made contact with Eddings during the pre-game meeting at home plate. His suspension will begin Friday, making him unavailable to the team until Wednesday.

Blue Jays hitting coach Guillermo Martinez has received a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for making contact with Umpire Doug Eddings and for his unsportsmanlike conduct during the pregame lineup card exchange prior to his Club’s Wednesday’s game vs. the White Sox.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) June 24, 2022

For those who missed it, here’s the clip of Martínez confront …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: The Blue Jays head to Milwaukee for the first time since 2017

The last time the Blue Jays played in Milwaukee, they pulled off a two-game sweep of the Brewers in a series that featured a start from Joe Biagini and a grand slam from Ryan Goins.

That was all the way back in 2017, and not a single player from the Blue Jays’ roster in that series is still with the team. In fact, the only players who played for the Blue Jays during the 2017 season who are still around are Teoscar Hernandez, Tim Mayza, and, yup, you guessed it, Casey Lawrence.
Anyways! The Brewers come into this series in 2022 tied for first place in the American League Central with the St. Louis Cardinals at 40-32. At a glance, that record makes it seem like they’re a strong team, but it’s important to remember that the Brewers play in a completely dog shit division, and they’re already 13-2 against the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Last year, Milwaukee won the Central with a 95-67 record thanks to an elite pitching staff carrying a mediocre offence. This year, that offence is still mediocre and the pitching has had to navigate some injury issues. Brandon Woodruff and Aaron Ashby are on the 15-day Injured List while Freddy Peralta, who was an All-Star last year, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 89: The Blue Jays need bullpen help, Yankees fans are mad about All-Star voting, and more!

The Blue Jays are in a bit of a skid as they split a four-game series with the Orioles, got dropped by the Yankees, and then lost two of three to the White Sox.

In this episode of BJN Radio, we recapped the series with the White Sox and talked about how the Blue Jays are badly in need of some bullpen help. We also looked at the American League All-Star vote and why it’s making Yankees fans so upset.
After that, we looked ahead to the upcoming series with the Milwaukee Brewers and took a look back at the Rowdy Tellez trade that happened just over one year ago.
You can listen to the episode here… 
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation