Off-season News and Notes: Anthony Bass’ option picked up, Blue Jays interested in a Ross Stripling reunion, and more!

The transaction news is coming fast and curious as we come ever so close to Thursday’s opening of free agency.

We all love transaction news, right? Well, on Tuesday evening, the news came fast and furious. Let’s look at the obvious news before looking at the more surprising news.
Anthony Bass:
As expected, the Jays have exercised their team option worth $3,000,000 on reliever Anthony Bass’ contract. The 35-year-old reliever was picked up in a deadline deal trade along with reliever Zach Pop and prospect Edward Duran. Going the other way to the Miami Marlins was former first-rounder Jordan Groshans.

#BlueJays plan to exercise Anthony Bass’s 2023 option this week as expected
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 8, 2022

Bass posted a 1.54 ERA and 3 FIP in 70.1 innings pitched between the Jays and the Marlins. He also had a 26.5 K%, the highest in his career, and well above his 18.8% average for the statistic.
With the Jays, Bass had a 1.75 ERA and 4.63 FIP in 25.2 innings pitched. His K% jumped to 27.5%, while he still had a solid, albeit a bit high, BB% of 9.8%.
This was a pretty obvious move to make, as Bass is an important part of the bullpen.
Ross Stripling:
Another pretty obvious piece of news that was dropped, but the Jays have been in contact with the 32-year-old and are interested in bringing him back. He posted a 3.01 ERA and 3.11 FIP in 134.1 innings pitched this season.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that if not for Stripling and what he provided in 2022, the Jays may not have made the playoffs. Originally penned as the swingman, Ross broke out as the Jays’ #3 in the rotation. A big reason for this was because of an improved changeup.

#BlueJays have been in touch with Ross Stripling & expressed interest in bringing him back
Ja …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

End of season comparison: Raimel Tapia and Randal Grichuk, plus intriguing prospect Adrian Pinto

One of the most shocking transactions to come out of the lockout, the Jays traded longtime Jay Randal Grichuk to Colorado for Raimel Tapia and a prospect.

It’s time to compare two more players. In this article, we’ll see if the Jays were better off with Grichuk or Tapia.
On March 24th, 2022, the Blue Jays traded Randal Grichuk and $9,716,666 in cash to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Raimel Tapia and second baseman/centre fielder Adrian Pinto.
At the time of the trade, Grichuk was set to make $9,333,333 in 2022 and $9,333,334 in 2023. The Jays took on Tapia’s $3,950,000 contract, which, paired with the $5,383,333 sent to the Rockies this season, offsets the two salaries.
However, the Jays could non-tender Tapia, meaning he’d become a free agent instead of going to arbitration for his third and final time. I wouldn’t do this if I were the GM, but if they did, the Jays would clear $5,000,000 of salary from this move. 
Both Grichuk’s and Tapia’s contracts would be off the books and the only money tied up would be the remaining $4,333,333 the Jays will have to send to Colorado. If the Jays do tender Tapia, which they likely will, his 2023 salary would probably come in somewhere around the $5 million mark.
Now it’s time to compare their 2022’s.
Randal Grichuk’s 2022:
In his last season with the Jays, Grichuk slashed .241/.281/.423 with 22 homers in 545 plate appearances. He had an 85 wRC+ and a 0.1 fWAR. He didn’t fare much better in the thin al …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

This could be Wayne Simmonds’ last season as a player with the Toronto Maple Leafs

All good things must come to an end, and for Wayne Simmonds, this could potentially be the last season he pulls on a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.
It’s always difficult to see such likeable players come to the end of the road with their team or career. Wishing to see them continue to succeed and win the ultimate prize before sailing off into the sunset is something that many fans will hope for, as seen with how strongly the Toronto Maple Leafs fanbase was drawn to Jason Spezza before his retirement this off-season.
But, as with all things in life, at some point, it can’t continue and there could be an argument that this is the case with Wayne Simmonds and the Leafs this upcoming season. Simmonds has been a popular addition to the team prior to the Covid-shortened 2021 season, being well-liked by both his teammates as well as the fans, but his run with the team may not continue beyond this campaign.
The biggest indicator of this is how little Simmonds actually played for the team last season. While he featured in 72 games during the regular season, scoring five goals and providing 11 assists, Simmonds averaged …

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Author: James Reeve / The Leafs Nation

The almost certain break up of the Tavares, Nylander, and Kerfoot line

It’s late summer and I was all prepared to come at you with an article today going into the merits of splitting up Tavares and Nylander and trying to spread the offense around to three lines. There might still be some interest in doing that, and I’ll discuss it, but the numbers certainly don’t support it. What it looks like the numbers support is that Kerfoot if he returns this season, shouldn’t be on that line. That’s certainly an idea worth exploring as the salary cap could dictate it as a necessity for the Leafs anyway, and it probably makes sense to prepare for that outcome.
Last start with the place where most bad ideas start, and that’s with WOWYs. The second we start breaking down the large sample of a season into these smaller bite sized samples there is a lot more situational context at play. For one late in the game when the Leafs are looking for offensive opportunities the Leafs will put Nylander and Tavares out on the ice but not necessarily Kerfoot. When Kerfoot was playing with Nyland …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

3 teams who may tempt Gary Trent Jr. to bolt Raptors after 2023

3 teams who may tempt Gary Trent Jr. to bolt Raptors after 2023

The Toronto Raptors once again seemed to come out on the winning end of a trade after acquiring Gary Trent Jr. from the Portland Trail Blazers. While Norman Powell was traded to the Clippers after just one season, Trent has become one of the Raptors’ most integral pieces. Trent averaged 18.3 points per game while […]
3 teams who may tempt Gary Trent Jr. to bolt Raptors after 2023 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Ilya Mikheyev will hit the free agent market

The Soup era in Toronto has come to a swift end as the other player with the namesake will become a UFA.

Coming off a career best season with 21 Goals in 53 Games, @MapleLeafs Mikheyev is headed to the UFA Market tomorrow , open to all offers, and will garner plenty of interest .@espn @NHL #HockeyTwitter
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) July 12, 2022

It’s not all that surprising that Ilya Mikheyev did not get an extension with the Leafs as he priced himself out of Toronto. At the same time, it will be sad to see him go as he became a fan favourite and provided a ton of value in the middle-six.
This past season saw him rebound to his rookie season form as upon his return to the lineup in December, he registered 21 goals, 11 assists, and 32 goals in 53 games played. Mikheyev also registered his first playoff points during the Leafs’ matchup against the Lightning where he recorded four points.
His versatility and solid play at both ends of the ice made him one of the Leafs’ more reliable options in the forward unit, especially his play on the penalty kill. While his impending departure will no doubt sting, it is far from impossible to replace his services, especially in the wake of the non-tendered free agent list being revealed on Monday.
Value to be found in non-tendered free agents once again for Maple Leafs
Recent reports suggest Mikheyev may net himself a multi-year contract with an AAV of as high as $5.5 million, which is too much for the Leafs to comfortably manage so it’s no wonder they have decided to let him walk. The reason why he has been put in this position was because of Kyle Dubas’ strong ability to unearth talent at an affordable price. Whether his successor is found on the open market or within the organization, replacing Mikheyev will not be a difficult task to pull off.
Best of luck to Mikheyev wherever he goes next!
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BJN Radio – Ep. 94: Winless in Seattle

The All-Star break can’t come soon enough.

The Blue Jays rolled into Seattle after a disappointing series in Oakland and things got even worse, as the Mariners pulled off a four-game sweep. Toronto is now tied with Seattle for the final Wild Card spot in the American League while the Baltimore Orioles are suddenly right on the heels thanks to an eight-game winning streak.
We talked about the mess that was the Seattle series, how the Blue Jays can pull themselves out of this funk, and whether or not firing Charlie Montoyo is the solution.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation