Blue Jays can afford to remain patient as focus shifts to improving offensive ceiling

Much of the off-season for the Toronto Blue Jays thus far has been dedicated to run prevention, but after improving their outfield defence and pitching staff, the focus will shift to run creation heading into the 2023 season.
Yes, that is correct, general manager Ross Atkins has added another buzzword to his arsenal, although its meaning will be just as crucial as the former.
The Blue Jays have improved their roster from the end of last season, however, the loss of Teoscar Hernández still has yet to be addressed. At least, not from an offensive standpoint. And that, in particular, is what Atkins plans to prioritize moving forward.
“Now we’ll shift to offensive improvements,” Atkins said to local reporters as the team officially introduced free agent Chris Bassitt on Monday. “We’ll continue to think about raising our ceiling in that area.”
Even after signing Kevin Kiermaier in free agency, the team is still looking to add another outfielder to go along with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and George Springer, as they should. After all, it is not like Kiermaier can be expected to match Hernández’s 2022 output (129 wRC+) when the left-hander – who owns a career 97 wRC+ – is best known for his elite defence.
Atkins’ comments also sugge …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays may head into the 2023 season with three catchers, which isn’t a bad thing

As we move further along in the off-season, it’s more unlikely that the Jays will find a trade partner for one of their three catchers.

The big question is if this is bad, which I believe it isn’t. While numerous teams are still looking for backstop help, such as the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Arizona Diamondbacks, the market for trading catchers isn’t quite great. 
This is reflected by the return that the Oakland Athletics got, granted the Milwaukee Brewers absolutely messed that trade up. 
Either way, we’ll look at why everyone wanted a catcher moved and who they’re in a position to avoid doing so. We’ll also look at why it really isn’t a bad idea for the Jays to have three catchers on the 26-man roster.
Trade a catcher because the Jays have a surplus:
The Jays have three MLB-quality catchers: Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk, and Gabriel Moreno. So at a certain point, it actually made sense to trade one for starting pitching help or an outfielder. However, the Jays already have filled the need for a middle-of-the-rotation start by acquiring Chris Bassitt in free agency.
The only gaping hole that remains on the 2023 Blue Jays roster is a left-handed batting outfielder, but that can also be filled with an a …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 124: Kevin Kiermaier! Chris Bassitt!

It turns out that the off-season doesn’t end when the Winter Meetings are over!

The Blue Jays have had a busy week, as they inked Kevin Kiermaier and Chris Bassitt to improve their outfield defence and starting rotation.
We talked about how the Blue Jays look now with their new additions and what they still need to do in order to come into the 2023 season with a better team than the one they had down the stretch in 2022. We also looked at some other moves that happened around the league, including Ross Stripling earning a two-year deal with the San Francisco Giants.
You can listen to the episode here… 

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays offseason target off the board – Brandon Nimmo signs 8-year deal with the Mets

So far this offseason, the Blue Jays have had a slow start out of the gate. While they made headlines earlier this year with the Teoscar Hernández trade, the front office stayed quiet during the Winter Meetings and another potential free agent target is now off the board as well.
According to Jeff Passan at ESPN, centre fielder Brandon Nimmo has re-signed with the New York Mets on an 8-year, $162 million dollar contract. After AL MVP Aaron Judge, Nimmo was one of the top outfielders on the free agent market this winter and had been tied to the Blue Jays for most of the offseason as one of their main targets.
Nimmo checked off a lot of boxes the Blue Jays were looking for.
A lefty-batter who can play centre field, adding Nimmo would have been a slam dunk to a right-handed heavy lineup that would have likely moved George Springer to right field, hopefully addressing injury concerns over the long term. Last season, the Wyoming product slashed .274/.367/.433 with seven triples, 16 home runs, and a .800 OPS while working as the Mets’ leadoff batter. He earned a career-high 5.1 bWAR and amassed a -3 bDRS in centre field with a 90th percentile Outs Above Average, adding four assists while not committing an error through 151 games.
Another Blue Jays offseason target is off the board as centre f …

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Author: Tyson Shushkewich / Blue Jays Nation

Chris Boucher proved he is Raptors’ Sixth Man in Spurs blowout

Chris Boucher proved he is Raptors’ Sixth Man in Spurs blowout

The Toronto Raptors went into the offseason well aware of the fact that Chris Boucher was one of the few bench players from the prior year’s squad that can be counted on to pile up points in tense situations. That was the motivation behind getting a deal done so quickly. Boucher signed a three-year, $35 […]
Chris Boucher proved he is Raptors’ Sixth Man in Spurs blowout – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Newest Fred VanVleet contract update sounds good for Raptors

Newest Fred VanVleet contract update sounds good for Raptors

In the early stages of the offseason, it seemed like Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet was a lock to be extended. A four-year deal that would get into nine figures would make the highest-paid undrafted player in NBA history even more wealthy following an All-Star season. VanVleet is close to free agency once again, […]
Newest Fred VanVleet contract update sounds good for Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

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

3 reasons not to panic if Raptors don’t acquire Kevin Durant

3 reasons not to panic if Raptors don’t acquire Kevin Durant

The Toronto Raptors made waves early in the offseason thanks to their pursuit of Kevin Durant. Even though such a trade would be borderline unprecedented across NBA history, the Raptors are still hanging around the KD sweepstakes thanks to a stockpile of assets they have accumulated. In addition to a heap of draft picks, the […]
3 reasons not to panic if Raptors don’t acquire Kevin Durant – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Ondrej Kaše will cost too much to return to the Leafs, most likely

As the Leafs get ready for the offseason, it’s well established that the top priority is goaltending. There’s also an abundance of quality defenders on the team, so a signing on the back end would be for more depth, which won’t be at the front of Kyle Dubas and company’s plans. However, on the forward side, there’s a lot of potentially moving parts, and one of those parts is Ondrej Kase.
Last season, Kaše joined the Leafs from unrestricted free agency on a 1-year deal when he was 25 years old. By the rules of the NHL CBA, when Kaše’s deal with the Leafs expires this offseason, he remains a “restricted” free agent, which means if any other team wants Kaše they have to sign an “offer sheet”. The Leafs have an opportunity to match the offer, and if they choose not to, the signing team must send the Leafs compensation. In order to maintain the “restricted” free agent status, the Leafs must give him a “qualifying offer”. This offer is dependent on how much the player made last season. For Kaše, it’d be the same as he made last season, $1.25M per year. The season before, the Boston Bruins chose not to offer Kaše a qualifying offer, which would have been worth $2.6M per year. They felt his market value sank below that number due to missing a season wit …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation