Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. increase trade value as Raptors topple Knicks

Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. increase trade value as Raptors topple Knicks

Fred VanVleet and his Toronto Raptors saw most of the air leak out of their proverbial balloon over the last week, as they managed to lose three straight games against the Bucks, Timberwolves, and Celtics despite all three of those opponents missing most of their most impactful players. The New York Knicks aren’t exactly playing […]
Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. increase trade value as Raptors topple Knicks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays, Position by Position: Outfielders, and decisions the Jays must make for 2023

The Toronto Blue Jays outfield is the most interesting position as they head into the off-season.

Unlike the catching position and the infield, the outfield is where the Jays may be able to sign a free agent. Just like with both the backstop and the infield (namely second base) the Jays could conceivably trade on an outfielder for a position of need.
Like the other two articles, we’ll also look at a few prospects that could impact the Jays’ roster in a few seasons. There are of course infielders who also play outfield positions, such as Otto Lopez, Davis Schneider, Tanner Morris, Zach Britton and Spencer Horwitz, but they were mentioned in the last article.
This isn’t to say that the 2022 Jays had a bad outfield, in fact, it was actually pretty good (at least in terms of with the bat). Let’s look into how the Jays’ outfielders did in 2022.
How did the Blue Jays outfielders do in 2022:
Just a quick note: I won’t be including Cavan Biggio or Whit Merrifield, as they are natural second basemen. I will include both Bradley Zimmer and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Teoscar Hernandez:
After each season, there are some people that believe that the year Hernandez had just had was a fluke, but time and time again, he produces. It was a slow start for Herandez, mainly because of injury (a trend that we’ll see often here), but overall the 30-year-old right fielder had a great season.
He slashed .267/.316/.491 with 25 homers in 535 plate appearances. As to be expected, Hernandez had a high K% of 28.4% and a low BB% of 6.4%, but he finished with a 129 wRC+. 
This was the third straight season that Hernandez had performed well, as h …

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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.
Background:
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

Can a stronger post-pandemic NHL open a wider window for the Leafs?

The thing most people don’t want to talk about when it comes to the Leafs is just how much the shifting of the league due to the pandemic absolutely wreaked havoc on their plans to contend. It doesn’t make for an interesting story to just throw up our hands and say “The flat cap is the problem”, but like, it sort of is. The nuked revenue due to the near-shutdown of the league since 2020 did damage to a lot of cap teams, but none quite like the Leafs. 
Management in Toronto thought they had a strong long term plan worked out when they signed Matthews and Marner to monster second deals on top of the Tavares money in the same calendar year of 2019. They did so banking on new television deals, more expansion money, and a forecasted salary cap number that should be in the range of 92-95 million right now. With everything that’s happened since, it sits at 82.5 million. Catastrophic for a team that wanted to get the most of a 5-6 year window before another re-up was needed. 
I guess the question now becomes, with what seems to be the most normal season to get going since the pandemic started about to start, can the league, and with it the Leafs, get back on track with their long term …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

The bats come alive as the Blue Jays defeat the Rangers 11-7

As a Blue Jays fan, the most satisfying wins are probably wins against other AL East foes. Outside of that, it’s equally as satisfying to watch the Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers, especially when they can score 11 runs in four innings against them.
Toronto got to Rangers starter Kohei Arihara early and often, Bo Bichette continued to stay hot, and the Blue Jays had enough offense to stave off another late rally from Texas with a 11-7 win to clinch the series.
Arihara came into tonight’s game with an already-inflated ERA, and Toronto made sure to have him follow the trend. The Blue Jays scored in the first inning for the second straight night, this one being a 4-run frame thanks to a pair of 2-run singles from Alejandro Kirk and Santiago Espinal.
Adolis Garcia would smack a 3-run home run off of Kevin Gausman in the bottom half of the frame, making it 4-3, but that would be long forgotten once Toronto got back up to bat.
Espinal added another RBI in the 3rd inning, doubling in Cavan Biggio. Next up was Raimel Tapia, who absolutely crushed a 3-run home run 428 feet. It was Tapia’s second-longest home run this season, expanding Toronto’s lead to 8-3.

Ra …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

How much is Ross Stripling going to make on his next contract?

Ross Stripling has been one of the most pleasant surprises on the Toronto Blue Jays this year.

Given the way he’s pitching, Stripling is going to earn himself a nice contract as he’s set to reach free agency for the first time in his career this winter. How much is he going to earn? And should the Blue Jays be the team to pay him?
Digging into Ross Stripling’s success in 2022…
At the beginning of the season, the team designated Stripling as the long man out of the bullpen. His role was going to be to make multi-inning appearances and also make spot starts when the rotation needed to be spaced out.
But the plan changed as Hyun Jin Ryu went down with forearm soreness. Stripling was thrown into Ryu’s spot in the rotation and that spot became permanent after Ryu underwent season-ending surgery on his elbow.
Stripling has fared better than anybody could have expected. Through 27 appearances, 19 of which were strikes, Stripling has posted a 3.03 ERA and his 3.04 FIP indicates it hasn’t been a mirage. He’s sitting at 107 innings pitched on the year, quickly approaching his career mark of 122 IP that he threw back in 2018 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Stripling is a pitcher who will pick his spots in …

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Author: Ryan Snodgrass / Blue Jays Nation

Around the NHL: Kadri to Calgary, Isles lock up RFA’s

Around the NHL: Kadri to Calgary, Isles lock up RFA’s

The NHL offseason is now more than halfway over, and most teams appear ready to get started on the 2022-23 season. In the past week one of the most notable free agents finally signed, the New York Islanders locked up some key, young players, a couple depth pieces earned one-year deals and two assistant coaches found new homes.
Kadri lands in Calgary
Up until about a week ago it seemed like Nazem Kadri was destined to end up on Long Island but in the end, he opted to head north to Calgary. It’s been a busy offseason for the Flames who once again stole the headlines this past week.
General manager Brad Treliving inked the soon to be 32-year-old Kadri to a seven-year contract at an average annual value (AAV) of seven million dollars. Kadri joins former Florida Panthers Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar as a fresh face in Calgary. The revamped Flames look primed to compete for the Pacific division title yet again, albeit with a new look roster.
To make room for Kadri’s contract, long-time Flame Sean Monahan was traded to the Montreal Canadiens with a conditional first round pick in 2025 for future considerations.
Islanders lock up RFA’s
Besides the Kadri rumours, things have been awfully quiet in Long Island this summer. This past week GM Lou Lamoriello …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

Can Raptors afford to keep Fred VanVleet for 2023 and beyond?

Can Raptors afford to keep Fred VanVleet for 2023 and beyond?

Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet has one of the most heartwarming stories in the NBA. Coming from the most improbable ranks and eventually ascending to the level of All-Star guard, VanVleet has made himself the highest-paid undrafted player in NBA history. Vanvleet has spent six years in the NBA, all with Toronto. He has gone […]
Can Raptors afford to keep Fred VanVleet for 2023 and beyond? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

What will Raptors make of Malachi Flynn starring in Drew League?

What will Raptors make of Malachi Flynn starring in Drew League?

Malachi Flynn remains one of the most curious evaluations on the Toronto Raptors. While it’s quite clear that Flynn has the talent and potential needed to become a long-term starter in the NBA, he has consistently underwhelmed whenever he has received NBA minutes. Anytime Flynn is involved in an offseason competition like Summer League or […]
What will Raptors make of Malachi Flynn starring in Drew League? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

3 best ways Raptors can fill backup PG time behind Fred VanVleet

3 best ways Raptors can fill backup PG time behind Fred VanVleet

The Toronto Raptors were able to fill most of their holes in free agency, but they did not change much when it comes to getting an extra point guard behind Fred VanVleet. Toronto appears content to run it back with names like Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton on the second unit. While VanVleet was doing […]
3 best ways Raptors can fill backup PG time behind Fred VanVleet – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ