Taking a deep dive on the newest Blue Jay Zach Thompson, along with a farewell to Chavez Young

As you may know, the Blue Jays have acquired a pitcher who may fill in the fifth starting spot in the rotation.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Blue Jays acquired right-handed pitcher Zach Thompson, who had been designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Toronto could have claimed him off waivers, but they instead traded outfielder Chavez Young for the 29-year-old pitcher so no other team could claim him.
Let’s dive into what the Blue Jays are gaining in Thompson and what they’ve lost in Young.
Zach Thompson, a deep dive:
The first thing that jumps out to me about Thompson is his size. Per Fangraphs, he’s listed at 6’7, 250 pounds. Despite the huge frame, the righty only sits at 92.4 mph with his fastball, with a maximum velocity of 94 mph, which came on his debut.
It’s also worth mentioning that Thompson has options, meaning that he can be sent down up to five times without the Jays worrying about losing him to the waiver wire.
His tenure with the Pirates wasn’t great, as he had a 5.18 ERA and a 4.87 FIP in 121.1 innings pitched. His K% sat at a pretty low 16.6%, while he had an 8.6 BB%, which is about average. Thompson was used mainly in a starter role, as he started 22 of 29 games that he appeared in.

Zach Thompson strikes out 11 batters in his 4th MLB Career start. pic.twitter.com/ZQGJZcvhud
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) June 27, 2021

In 2021, …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: The insurance on Hyun Jin Ryu’s contract, Yankees have “uneasy feeling” about Aaron Judge’s free agency, and more!

The World Series kicks off on Friday. Do you know what that means? It’s almost Transaction Season.

The big talk around Blue Jays land over the past few days has been about Hyun Jin Ryu, specifically the insurance on his contract. The Twitter account Blue Jays Hotstove brought up that the Blue Jays fully ensured Ryu’s contract and that they’ll allocate the money they were expecting to pay him back into the payroll for 2023…

Not sure if this has already been reported but the Blue Jays have Ryu’s contract fully ensured in case of injury so they will recoup all dollars for time missed.
The plan is for the club to reallocate that money back into the payroll for next season
— BLUEJAYS HOTSTOVE (@bluejayhotstove) October 27, 2022

This is something that’s been talked about quite a bit in the past but the details are a little murky.
Ryu, of course, inked a four-year, $80 million deal with the Blue Jays back in December of 2019. He had an excellent showing in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, started off well in 2021 but faded as time went along, and then completely fell off early in 2022 and wound up having season-ending elbow surgery in June. There’s a chance that Ryu comes back late in 2023 but the reasonable bet here is that he’s thrown his last pitch for the Blue Jays.
Given Ryu’s injury history (he missed all of 2015 and most of 2016 after undergoing shoulder surgery and was limited to 15 starts in 2018 because of a groin injury), having his contract insured would have been t …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Nathan MacKinnon contract and how it affects the Leafs

You had to know this post was coming right? And it probably doesn’t take much effort to guess at how this affects the Leafs. So let’s jump right into the inevitable discussion of how Nathan MacKinnon’s contract will impact not only Auston Matthews’ next contract, but likely Mitch Marner’s next contract as well.
Here’s the contract:
$12.8 AAV for 8 years with a full no-movement clause throughout. The deal was signed when Nathan MacKinnon is 27 years old, the deal is front-loaded and pays him a $16.5M combined salary and signing bonus in year one, transitions in year 4 (2026-27) to $12.15M and drops to $9.9M in year 5 and stays at that until the end of his contract. MacKinnon’s contract is largely paid in signing bonuses and has an escalated salary to reflect the minimum salary being likely to rise. The signing bonus structure means it would be a gigantic pain in the ass to buy out. The one year (year 4, 2026-27) where the majority of MacKinnon’s contract is paid as salary instead of signing bonus coincides with the expiration of the current CBA. Based on the current salary cap of $82.5M, MacKinnon’s contract takes up 15.27% of the salary cap. That’s the import …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Meet the Sellers: Los Angeles Angels

Did you know that the Los Angeles Angels have four former Blue Jays on their current roster?

In fact, all three players featured today will all be former Blue Jays, one longer than the other two, so that’s pretty cool.
Let’s be real here, the Angels suck. Yes, Ohtani and Trout are two of the best players in the game, but my god, are they ever bad at developing players. Not just that, but the Angels hand out some really bad contracts (i.e Rendon)
Aaron Loup:
The first of the former three Jays, Aaron Loup gets swings and misses, despite having a “meh” season. Not just that, but it would be cool to have two submarine pitchers, one lefty and one righty. Bonus points if you remember who the Jays got in return when they traded Loup in 2018.
This season, Loup has a 4.40 ERA and a 4.02 FIP in 30.2 innings pitched. While this isn’t outstanding by any means, his K/9 of 10.57 is a career high, and he’s done a fine job of limiting the walks with his 3.52 BB/9
In his career, he has pitched 438.1 innings and has a 3.14 ERA and a 3.40 FIP. That includes a 8.60 K/9 and a 2.71 BB/9. All things combined, he has a rather impressive track record.

Aaron Loup, Wicked 86m …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Why the NHL Free Agent Market is Ripe for Deals

You know when the “buckle up” light comes on in a plane? That’s what this post is. We’re about to hit some turbulence.
Folks, we’re 36 hours away from Free Agency, capital FA. I don’t have time to explain things as well as I should, so you’re getting pure, unadulterated Earl brain. Here’s what I know; when the 2020 MOU was signed, high escrow in the first two seasons incentivized players to take shorter term contracts. The flat cap doubled down on that, as teams didn’t have the cap space to sign players to long term extensions. Well, 2022-23 is the third season of the MOU. Escrow is (relatively) low, those short term contracts are coming due, and the cap has still barely budged, just $1m in 4 seasons.
Teams didn’t stop giving elite players raises. In the past 5 seasons, the average of the top 100 cap hits jumped from 9% to 10% of the upper limit. There is already more players making $7.5m+ than ever before, and there are still some big names on the market. Like, massive names. Gaudreau, Kadri, Giroux, Burakovsky, Malkin, and Klingberg could all join that group. Some …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Yusei Kikuchi is going on the “Injured” List with a “neck strain”

They’re calling it a neck strain, but we all know Yusei Kikuchi is actually going on the Injured List for Left Arm Shittyness.

The Blue Jays announced the move ahead of tonight’s series-opener in Seattle….

LHP Yusei Kikuchi (neck strain) placed on 15-day IL
RHP Max Castillo recalled from Triple-A and will be active tonight pic.twitter.com/wm5R1INSQy
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 7, 2022

This move allows the Blue Jays to get Max Castillo back on the roster, which could come in handy as Anthony Banda/Casey Lawrence is starting tonight. The Blue Jays also haven’t named a starter for Friday’s game yet, so Castillo could figure into that.
Anyways, back to Kikuchi.
After a very good start against the Tampa Bay Rays last week, Kikuchi again completely lost control of the strike zone on Tuesday in Oakland. He allowed four earned runs and walked five batters and was only able to clear two-and-one-third innings.
Since the beginning of June, Kikuchi has only cleared five innings in one start, and that was the aforementioned Tampa game last week. Given the way he’s been going, the Blue Jays had to figure out to slam the rest button with Kikuchi because it isn’t working right now.
There had been some thought the team could opt to put him in the ‘pen where he could work on specific things in a role with less pressure. That’s what the team did with Robbie Ray when he was originally acquired mid-way through a miserable 2020 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But for now, Kikuchi will take a breather and try to figure out what’s happening. If he can’t get things sorted, the Blue Jays will need a solution before the trade deadline to fill the number five spot in the starting rotation.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation