News and Notes: The Minnesota Twins are interested in A.J. Pollock, Blue Jays sign an intriguing hard-throwing relief pitcher, and more!

I’m running out of good intros for the News and Notes articles. So here’s a News and Notes article to start off your day.

There isn’t a lot of Blue Jays-related news or rumours, but there are some rumblings of teams looking to trade players the Jays could be interested in. Let’s start with the Jays’ news first.
Julián Fernández:
Here’s the skinny: The Jays signed a 27-year-old righty who touches 103 mph with a great out pitch in his changeup. Despite his 6.63 ERA and 7 FIP in 57 innings pitched in Triple-A, which also saw home run issues and command issues, this signing has a possibility to be really good for the Jays.

#BlueJays are signing hard-throwing RHP Julian Fernández to a minor-lg deal per source. 27-yr-old reliever spent ‘22 at AAA Albuquerque & battled HR issues. Pitched in majors for ’21 Rockies, averaging 99 mph on FB. Topped out at 103. Recently pitched in Dominican Winter League
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) December 29, 2022

Fernández is an intriguing reliever, and our very own Cam Lewis went more in-depth in this article here. You can also read my deep dive on why he has the tools to become an elite reliever here.
Yosver Zulueta gets an MLB.com nod:
Speaking of Blue Jays pitchers that throw hard, Cuban-born Yosver Zulueta was featured in MLB.com’s article featuring which prospects they’re excited to see debut in 2023.
If you’ve read any of my prospect articles, you know I’m pretty high on Zulueta as he sits in the high-90s (and touches over 100 mph) as a starter, while flashing plus or average secondary pitches.

Zulueta just fanned his first runner throwing…
100 mph!!!!!!#BlueJays #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/RjpNT5v6Jl
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) July 7, 2022

While his strikeout rate was high, so too was his walk rate. However, this is to be expected as he hadn’t really pitched competitively since 2019 due to the plague …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Kevin Kiermaier speaks for the first time as a Blue Jay, the Jays have interest in Johnny Cueto, and more!

It’s time for a News and Notes; this time, it’s more Blue Jays-centric!

We finally have the details of Kevin Kiermaier’s contract and some spicy sound bites. It also seems that the Jays aren’t finished signing starting pitchers either.
Let’s hop right into it!
Kevin Kiermaier:
It had nearly been a week since it was announced that the Jays were signing Kiermaier, but on Wednesday it was announced that Kiermaier signed a one-year, $9,000,000 contract.

Former #Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier’s deal with #BlueJays is for 1 year, $9M
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 14, 2022

For his career, Kiermaier has slashed .248/.308/.407 with 82 homers in 3351 plate appearances for a 97 wRC+. He struggled offensively in his 221 plate appearances but had a 101 wRC+ in 122 games in 2021.
While there’s a little bit to be desired with the bat, Kiermaier excels defensively. For his career, he has a 134 Defensive Runs Saved and a 64 Outs Above Average, with the latter being created a season after his fantastic 38 DRS season in 2015.
Kiermaier press conference:
Apparently, Kiermaier will be the Jays’ everyday centre fielder.

#BlueJays have told Kevin Kiermaier he’s the everyday CF in 2023, adding there’s been no talks of platooning.”It’s my job to lose.”Career OPS/wRC+ vs LHP and RHP: .662/84 and .735/102.
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) December 15, 2022

 
I’ve seen many, many people misconstrue this as “Kiermaier is Teoscar Hernández’s replacement”, which isn’t true in the slightest.
Kiermaier may very well push George Springer to right field, but that doesn’t mean that the Jays won’t be in the market to add another left-handed batting corner outfielder. It wouldn’t be surprising if they still want to use Springer as a designated hitter, meaning the signing of Joey Gallo, Michael Conforto, Michael Brantley, or Andrew Benintendi makes sense.
Not just that, but I’m sure that the Jays are aware of Kiermaier’s injury pa …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Joe Siddall suggests the Blue Jays could trade two catchers, Ross Atkins speaks, and more!

News and Notes time, as we’re slowly approaching the Winter Meetings.

“Slowly approaching” feels like an understatement, as the past month has just been filled with speculation and empty rumours, but we’re almost there. Let’s look at some things boiling on the hot stove.
Why just trade one catcher, why not two:
It’s pretty well known that the Jays are expected to trade a catcher before the start of the 2023 season. While it’s also been noted that they’re okay with carrying three if a trade doesn’t materialize, they have a surplus of three really good catchers, so a trade will probably happen.
Sportsnet’s Joe Siddall takes it one step further and suggests that instead of trading one catcher, trade two and sign a veteran.

#MLB winter meetings next week… #BlueJays expected to move a C (area of depth)…thinking outside the box…how about trading 2 C’s?…& sign FA christian vazquez…vaz catches primarily, kirk C & dh…using jansen/moreno to acquire needs (sp/rp, cf)..rest is done via FA
— Joe Siddall (@SiddallJoe) December 1, 2022

 
Siddall, who played the backstop in the Majors knows what he’s talking about, but this may be too extreme. Defensively, Vázquez is an upgrade over Jansen, but except for in 2019 when he hit 23 homers, he never had over 10. Over his career, he is a 84 wRC+ hitter as well, but he’s a perfect fit for a backup catcher.
Once you factor in that he’s been the backstop for two World Series winners, and yeah, Vázquez is definitely an interesting free agent, but it doesn’t seem likely the Jays will sign a catcher for the main roster
This is speculation on my behalf, but it seems likely to me that they’d trade for a starter with team control while signing a left-handed batting outfielder. More on this later, though.
Nathan Eovaldi:
Jim Bowden of The Athletic paired former Red Sox Nathan Eovaldi with the Toronto Blue Jays, speculating that he’d sign a four-year, $90,000,000 deal with the team. The s …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation