Pursuing Cubs’ relievers could significantly transform Blue Jays’ bullpen

The Toronto Blue Jays can’t win the World Series at the trade deadline, however, if the correct moves are made, they could position themselves for a deep playoff run in October. So, what moves need to happen?

Well, there are some obvious flaws with Toronto’s roster. Offensively, they probably need to acquire a proven left-handed hitter to make their lineup a little more balanced. But that’s not the main weakness of this group. Everyone knows they can score boatloads of runs even with a right-handed-heavy offence.
Pitching is where this team must improve the most, especially in the bullpen. There’s only one problem with that, though, so too does almost every other contending team. Quality relievers are always in high demand during this time of the year. And with the expanded playoff format, there won’t be as many sellers at this year’s trade deadline and in future ones, too.
Having said that, there are a handful of franchises who’ve already been virtually eliminated from post-season contention, particularly those near the bottom of the standings in the National League. As for which ones stand out the most in terms of pitching depth, the Chicago Cubs could serve as an intriguing tra …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 92: Trading a catcher, checking in on former Blue Jays in Oakland, and more!

The Blue Jays dropped their five-game series with the Rays and now they’re off to the West Coast to play Oakland and Seattle.

In this episode of BJN Radio, we took a look back at the Rays series, which started off with a great Yusei Kikuchi performance and finished with depth arms throwing batting practice.
We then dove into a couple of rumours, as the Blue Jays are reportedly one of the teams in the mix for Kansas City’s Andrew Benintendi while the Tigers are reportedly interested in Danny Jansen.
Finally, we looked ahead to the series in Oakland against the A’s, who are in last place in baseball, and we took a look at how the players who were traded for Matt Chapman back in March are doing.
You can listen to the episode here…
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays’ lack of quality pitching depth was on display against the Rays this weekend

A five-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. Nobody ever said it was going to be a fun time!

Things actually got off to a nice start, as the Blue Jays won on Thursday behind an excellent start from Yusei Kikuchi and thanks to an offensive explosion on Canada Day on Friday. But then a whole bunch of bad luck and terrible pitching derailed things the rest of the weekend.

This series pic.twitter.com/IIaAELJbsS
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) July 3, 2022

Saturday’s doubleheader got off to an ugly start when Kevin Gausman had to leave the game after the second inning because he got drilled in the foot by a line drive comebacker. Credit to Casey Lawrence, who worked his way through five-and-two-thirds innings in relief, but he isn’t going to win a one-on-one with Shane McClanahan.
Thomas Hatch, who was probably slotted in around eighth or ninth in terms of the starting pitcher depth chart in spring training, came up to start the second game and got drilled. Hatch allowed 10 runs over four-and-two-thirds innings of pitching that made it seem like the guy who posted a 2.73 ERA over 17 appearances back in 2020 was somebody completely different.
Having to navigate a stretch of five games in four days just goes to show how deleted Toronto’s pitching staff is right now. It really isn’t ideal having to toss out a guy who has a 5.12 ERA in Triple-A to start a big league game against a division ri …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Jays won’t be able to Catch the Yankees for the Division Lead, but not all hope is lost

Despite the huge comeback, the series told us a lot about where the Jays stand.

First and foremost, I don’t think there’s a shot in hell that the team catches the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers are already 11 games ahead and it’s only June 20th. It sucks to say, but it’s all but impossible.
How large is the gap?:
Heading into the season, I thought New York was definitely a playoff team, but not as good as the Jays. However, I’ve been proven wrong. You can say “their schedule is easy”, but the Yankees are currently 20-8 against .500 teams. The Jays are 17-20.
If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, the Yankees are winning the games they need to, the Jays are not.
Let’s take you back to June 8th, where the Jays played the Kansas City Royals. After overcoming a quick 3-0 hole, the Jays proceeded to lose the game 8-4. Then they proceeded to lose the game the following Saturday to the Tigers. Then they dropped two to the lowly Orioles.
If a team is sub .500 against teams that have a winning record, you cannot drop this many games to bad teams.
Sadly, the Yankees are just a better built team. While the two teams’ offenses are comparable (the Yankees have scored 340 runs, the Jays have scored 301), they do not compare in terms of pitching.
While Toronto’s starter ERA of 3.64 ranks the 7th best in the MLB, the Yankees starters almost giv …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 85: The Trash Birds, an ode to Hyun Jin Ryu, Shohei Ohtani speculation, and more!

That’s absolutely not how you’d like for a series with the Baltimore Orioles to go.

We had this week circled on the calendar for quite some time as the Trash Birds came to town for the first time this season but the Orioles put up a good fight and wound up taking two of four. Next up, we have the New York Yankees, who are on pace to win 121 games this season. Fun stuff!
On this episode of BJN Radio, we talked about Hyun Jin Ryu’s career as a Blue Jay possibly being over, who the team could look to acquire before the trade deadline, and whether a Shohei Ohtani trade is possible.
You can listen to the episode here…
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

With the 78th overall pick, the Blue Jays could select…

In the fourth edition of this series, we’ll look at who the Jays could pick with their 78th overall.

The Jays received this pick due to Robbie Ray signing with the Seattle Mariners, as they extended a qualifying offer to Ray.
After winning the 2021 AL Cy Young award, Ray has struggled with the Mariners to say the least. In 77.2 innings pitched, he has posted an ERA of 4.52 (up from 2.84), a FIP of 4.59 (up from 3.69), a BB/9 of 3.24 (up from 2.42) and a K/9 of 9.39 (down from 11.54).
The Blue Jays went out and signed Kevin Gausman, who has produced better numbers, without forfeiting a pick. This is just a masterclass of front officing from Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro.
Let’s look at who they could draft with the compensation pick next month:
Sal Stewart:
Starting off with a high school third baseman, we have 18-year-old Sal Stewart.
Committed to Vanderbilt, the young third baseman has a fantastic bat and is considered one of the best pure high school hitters, according to MLB Pipeline.

Sal Stewart (2022 FL) using the whole field today as he follows up a deep PS bomb with a oppo 2B here. Advanced hitter with a heavy barrel; Soph World MVP last week. #AnchorDown commit. pic.twitter.com/nNWN8KJDbZ
— Vinnie Cervino (@vcervinoPG) October 4, 2019

He’s a right handed batter with plenty of raw power, but scouts believe that as he continues to age, the hit tool will come around as well.
His arm and fielding work perfectly at third base, but some wonder if he’ll be able to stick there moving forward, as the 6’3, 215 pound Stewart is a rather slow runner, which may lead to range issues at third base.
Here a …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: Vladdy vs. Ohtani, Cavan Biggio joins the Taxi Squad, and more!

We’ve got ourselves a star-studded series coming up this weekend.

The Blue Jays are in Anaheim to face the Angels and the series will get kicked off on Friday with Shohei Ohtani, last year’s American League MVP, taking the mound against last year’s AL MVP runner-up, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Also, if you’re looking to watch the Friday game on TV like normal, you won’t be able to, as it’s being streamed exclusively on Apple TV as part of their Friday Night Baseball package.
Ohtani is having a bit of a down year with the bat compared to what he did last year, but the team is being led by Mike Trout, who’s back to being Mike Trout after an injury-riddled 2021 season. The best hitter on the team, oddly enough, isn’t Ohtani or Trout, it’s *checks notes* … Taylor Ward?
Through 30 games this year, Ward has slashed an absurd .270/.481/.713 line, as his slugging percentage is higher than the OPS of .693 he had in 159 games coming into this season.
The Angels are among the best teams offensively, as they rank fifth in baseball in runs per game, but the thing that’s different about this team than in previous years is the fact they’ve been getting good pitching, as they rank just ahead of the Blue Jays with a 3.45 team ER …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: Vladdy vs. Ohtani (on Apple TV), Cavan Biggio joins the Taxi Squad, and more!

We’ve got ourselves a star-studded series coming up this weekend.

The Blue Jays are in Anaheim to face the Angels and the series will get kicked off on Friday with Shohei Ohtani, last year’s American League MVP, taking the mound against last year’s AL MVP runner-up, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. If you’re looking to watch the game on TV like normal, you won’t be able to, as it’s being streamed exclusively on Apple TV as part of their Friday Night Baseball package.
Ohtani is having a bit of a down year with the bat compared to what he did last year, but the team is being led by Mike Trout, who’s back to being Mike Trout after an injury-riddled 2021 season. The best hitter on the team, oddly enough, isn’t Ohtani or Trout, it’s *checks notes* … Taylor Ward?
Through 30 games this year, Ward has slashed an absurd .270/.481/.713 line, as his slugging percentage is higher than the OPS of .693 he had in 159 games coming into this season.
The Angels are among the best teams offensively, as they rank fifth in baseball in runs per game, but the thing that’s different about this team than in previous years is the fact they’ve been getting good pitching, as they rank just ahead of the Blue Jays with a 3.45 team …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 78: The 2016 team comparison, Joey Votto’s successful finale in Toronto, and more!

It was another series win that left a sour aftertaste.

As they did with Seattle, the Blue Jays took the first two games against a weak opponent and then came up short with a chance to pull off a sweep.
In the post-Reds series episode of BJN Radio, we gave praise to Hyun Hin Ryu for another good start, questioned whether it was right for Charlie Montoyo to not give Alek Manoah the ninth inning, and looked at Bo Bichette’s low-key hot streak in the month of May. We also talked about the handful of guys who aren’t hitting and wondered how long such cold streaks can possibly continue.
We also talked about Joey Votto playing likely his last game in Toronto, barring a trade, and talked about whether we root for Canadian players when they go up against the Blue Jays.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: Robbie Ray isn’t scheduled to start for the Mariners as they head to Toronto

Another series loss, this time to the Rays in Tampa, has the Blue Jays at 18-17 for the season.

When you take a step back and look at the big picture, it isn’t all too surprising the Blue Jays have a mediocre record in mid-May given the schedule they’ve had early on. That said, I also wouldn’t blame anybody for being uninspired by this group right now, especially based on how they’ve played against the Yankees and Rays, the teams they’re competing with for the American League East.
Next up, the Blue Jays will face a handful of teams they might be competing with for wild-card spots down the road. They’ll face the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins later in May and will kick things off by hosting the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners are also off to a disappointing start this year. After bullshitting their way to a 90-72 record due largely to an absurd record in one-run games, but after signing the reigning AL Cy Young winner in the off-season, the Mariners came into 2022 with legitimate playoff aspirations.
So far not as good as Seattle is 16-19 on the season.
Like the Blue Jays, Seattle started off quite well but they’ve gone cold since the start of May. They held an 11-6 record after sweeping the R …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation