BJN Radio – Ep. 31: Maybe they aren’t the Fraud Sox after all?

That was ugly!

The Blue Jays got smashed on Monday, rained out on Tuesday, and then they lost an incredibly frustrating game on Wednesday against a struggling starter with their ace on the mound. Oof.
With Tyler on vacation, me and BK talked about the Red Sox series, why they might not actually be frauds, especially with Chris Sale nearing a return and killing it early on in his rehab assignment.
We also talked about a whole bunch of different stuff from this week, like the T.J. Zeuch era coming to an end, Nate Pearson going to the bullpen, and what we can expect from the trade deadline given Ross Atkins’ comments about how the starting pitching market is thin right now.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs Practice Notes: Hyman out a minimum of two weeks, Mikheyev questionable, Sandin & Andersen return to practice

The Leafs returned to practice on Monday following a disappointing overtime loss to the embattled Vancouver Canucks who were playing their first game since March 24th due to a COVID outbreak. Losing out on the extra point in overtime seemed rather insignificant, however, as Zach Hyman was also lost to injury after taking a brutal knee on knee hit from Alexander Edler who earned a two game suspension for his troubles.
Sheldon Keefe revealed after practice that Hyman has suffered a sprained MCL that will keep him on the shelf for at least two weeks. Given the fact that he has already had this knee surgically repaired once, and how the hit looked, it could have been a lot worse.

TOR head coach Sheldon Keefe says Zach Hyman has a sprained MCL. Out at least two weeks. Probably as good news as they could get.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 19, 2021

Some alarm bells went off when William Nylander stepped onto the ice for practice in a grey sweater typically reserved for extras or members of the taxi squad, with Pierre Engvall and Adam Brooks shedding grey for regular white practice sweaters. Nylander ended up skating in his usual spot alongside John …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu tosses a gem, Vlad stretches and flashes leather, Rowdy finally smashes a dinger, and the Blue Jays down the Yanks

After a frustrating loss on Monday, the Blue Jays were facing what low-key felt like a must-win game with ace Hyun Jin Ryu taking the mound. And, oh boy, he delivered.

Things worth mentioning…
For the third time this season, Ryu put together a very nice start. The bats actually showed up this time around so he was also able to earn his first win of the season. Ryu went six-and-two-thirds innings, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits and one walk while striking out seven. He’s allowed just four earned runs over 19 innings so far this season. It was impressive to see Ryu just carve up New York’s righty-heavy lineup, especially given the fact they saw him just a couple of weeks ago. The Yanks only managed to put 17 balls in play, and only about half of those balls were hit particularly hard. All told, it was a gem for Ryu, who had New York just totally confused and off-balance all night.

Things got sort of weird pitching-wise after Ryu left the game. David Phelps came in to finish off the seventh inning and then came out for the eighth but got drilled in the back by …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: The five worst stretches of futility in team history

Toronto Raptors: The five worst stretches of futility in team history

The Toronto Raptors are officially a bad team. Monday night, they couldn’t even stop the Houston Rockets, who used Toronto to break a 20-game losing streak in a 117-99 drubbing of the Raptors. Since the All-Star break, the Raptors are 0-9. It would be delusional to believe the Raptors could somehow salvage this season with […]
Toronto Raptors: The five worst stretches of futility in team history – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Rumours: The Athletic talking Gaudreau to the Leafs, Nick Foligno won’t go away, and bad deals involving top prospects

So an optimal day for Leafs trades has come and gone. Monday was sadly uneventful, but doesn’t necessarily mean that we are in for a completely quiet week. The Leafs could be willing to take an extra missed game to due to quarantine requirements if it means that teams aren’t pressuring them into an overpayment, and there’s always the possibility of trades within Canada as well, as we’ll soon discuss. There is also the fact that after the game Saturday night the Leafs will once again find themselves with a bit of a break and that could yield the trade we can feel coming.
Burnside wants to see Gaudreau on the Leafs
So calling this a rumour is a little much, this is more a columnist at The Athletic pushing out something he knows will get discussed. Such is the nature of Scott Burnside’s “6 Trades I’d like to see” article.
The logic behind the suggestion seems to be obvious from a Leafs perspective, Gaudreau is a great player and with a year left on his contract, he improves Toronto for next season as well, something I’m sure Kyle Dubas would love if he’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Tavares, Nylander end droughts, Matthews extends point streak to 15 in 7-3 blowout vs the Sens

After a blown lead on Monday and a game that was closer than it needed to be last night, the Leafs finally had the kind of game we expected against the Sens, as all of the big guns would show up in a 7-3 blowout. There were a lot of goals to cover, so let’s get right into it.
It was a high scoring first period as the Leafs made sure to get a quick lead to support Hutchinson’s season debut. They got a couple powerplays to start the game, and capitalized on the second one with another Auston Matthews goal, who gets his 15th of the season, and extends his point streak to 15 games as well.
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 19, 2021

The Sens ran into a bit of goalie trouble after that, as Marcus Hogberg got hurt and Matt Murray, who played last night. Don’t worry, there was no David Ayres in this game to give the Leafs any trouble.
The Matthews goal was the only goal for most of the first, but the floodgates opened up late. First, the Leafs made it 2-0 as Joe Thornton deflects a Jake Muzzin a slap …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Play in Dominican Winter League

It was reported Monday night that Vladimir Guerreo Jr. has been granted permission and will play Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic. 

Vladimir Guerrero will play with @EscogidoBBClub in the Dominican Winter League.
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) November 30, 2020

Vladdy will be joining the Escogido Baseball Club, a team already loaded with young talent. Vladdy will play alongside Julio Rodriguez, the Seattle Mariners prospect who ranks among the top 10 prospects in all of baseball and the undisputed top prospect in baseball in shortstop Wander Franco. The roster also includes Gregory Polonco of the Pirates. 
As far as Blue Jays fans go the other name to watch on this team is Otto Lopez. Lopez was just added to the Blue Jays 40-man roster to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Lopez is a versatile player having played every position but catcher and first base. It looks like the Blue Jays want to get him more focused on playing a middle infield position. In 2019 Lopez played 693.1 innings at shortstop after playing less than 100 innings there the year prior. Reading some scouting reports he doesn’t sound like a great defender, which means he’s likely headed …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu is a finalist for the League Cy Young and Charlie Montoyo is a finalist for Manager of the Year

It’s Awards Season!

On Monday night, Major League Baseball announced the finalists for all of the major awards for the 2020 season. Two Blue Jays, Hyun Jin Ryu and Charlie Montoyo, have been nominated.
Montoyo is a finalist for American League Manager of the Year along with Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays and Rick Renteria formerly of the Chicago White Sox.
I wrote a little while ago why I think Montoyo has a good shot at winning the award. It often goes to a manager of a team that breaks out or exceeds expectations and the Blue Jays were exactly that. Navigating through not having a home for the first chunk of the season will also be a big play for Montoyo here I would imagine.
And then there’s Ryu, who’s a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award along with Cleveland’s Shane Bieber and Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda. It’s great to see Ryu nominated but there’s no doubting that Bieber is going to win this thing. He posted an 8-1 record with a league-leading 1.63 ERA while striking out an obscene 14.2 batters per nine.
Ryu finished second in National League Cy Young …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Case for Alexander Barabanov

On Monday Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas spoke about a KHL free agent the Leafs have been rumoured to be pursuing.

Kyle Dubas acknowledges the #leafs interest in KHL free agent Alex Barabanov. They view him as a skilled playmaking winger: “One of the other things we like most about him is his ability to make plays under pressure and … win pucks, protect pucks, when people come after him.”
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 31, 2020

It doesn’t appear to be a lock for the Leafs though, with Arizona showing interest as well. Barabanov is represented by the same agent as Ilya Mikheyev and Egor Korshkov, so it will be interesting to see if that factors into the decision for Barabanov. He is only eligible for a 1 year ELC, with a maximum value of $925k.
He will also be eligible for up to $2.85m in performance bonuses, which the Leafs have been averse to handing out recently. Only three players under contract with the Leafs for next season have performance bonuses, while eligible players like Rasmus Sandin and Nicholas Robertson did not recieve any.
If the Leafs wish to outbid their competition they will likely need to offer the …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

NHL players propose pushing playoffs back to August-September, draft and free agency back to October

On Monday, we learned about a rumoured playoff format that would see 24 teams in the big dance, with eight teams getting byes to the second round and the other sixteen playing in a play-in round.

According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, this format would involve three-game playoff series, allowing it to fit into a smaller window of time while also not leaving anybody out who was in the race for a playoff spot. Apparently, this is the preferred route of NHL executives.
On Tuesday, according to Frank Seravalli on Insider Trading, some of the league’s top players came together to come up with their own idea of how the league should move forward…

Though it doesn’t involve a specific playoff proposal, the players are suggesting that the league get rolling again in early July with a training camp before finishing the 2019-20 regular season in late July. That would then leave August and September for the standard month-and-a-half long playoffs with the draft and free agency coming in October. Finally, the 2021-22 season would begin in November.
If this were the plan, it would be easiest just to scrap the remaining 2019-20 regular-season games. As …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation