The Blue Jays should do everything in their power to acquire Shohei Ohtani

You read the title correctly, the Blue Jays should do everything in their power to acquire Shohei Ohtani.

With Ohtani, you are essentially getting two players. He’ll help you with putting up offensive numbers, but is also a damn good pitcher. However, we’ll start with where this rumour/speculation came from.
Where the rumour began:
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Los Angeles Angels have a tough decision with the 27-year-old megastar. It’s noted that the better version of Babe Ruth wants to play for a winner.
Not just that, but it looks like Ohtani will want a record breaking annual average when he hits free agency in 2024. Max Scherzer currently has the highest AAV of $43.3, so Rosenthal speculates Ohtani’s contract could end up being over $45 million a year. 
Mike Trout is making $35,450,000 until the end of the 2030 season while Anthony Rendon is making $38,000,000 million for the next four seasons starting next season. Adding another high AAV contract when the team will likely fail to miss the playoffs could be disastrous for the owner as he’ll be paying $120 million for three players.
In my opinion, the Rendon contract is very questionable, as he’s had a sharp decline since leaving the Washington Nationals in 2019. This isn’t the first bad deal given out by the owner, as they overpaid heavily for Josh Hamilton, Albert Puljuos and Justin Upton, the last two they are still paying.
Rosenthal notes that these contracts may cause hesitancy when it comes time to sign Ohtani. He’s shown problems in the past, as he misse …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Exploring what the Maple Leafs defence core should look like next season

What the Maple Leafs defence should look like is always up for debate — every year.
Last season, it seemed like there were arguments almost daily about who should and shouldn’t be in Toronto’s lineup on the back-end. The players discussed then were Justin Holl, Travis Dermott, Timothy Liljegren, and Rasmus Sandin.
As the year went on, it became quite clear who the Maple Leafs’ best defenceman of that group was and his name is Sandin. Unfortunately, he was injured prior to the playoffs and didn’t get to play, but it’s evident that the 22-year-old is an every day player.
Liljegren was also another name that improved a great amount as the season went on. He might’ve been one of the Maple Leafs’ most-improved players of the last year.
Toronto, like it always seems though, has a logjam on their hands at defence. There’s only three spots on the right side with what seems like could be four defencemen in line for it.
It could work out to three if the Maple Leafs could find a way to move Jake Muzzin in the second last year of his contract. However I don’t see that happening.
What does a successful summer for the Leafs look like?
With a no-trade clause until next season, it seems like an unrealistic possibility that the 33-year-old gets moved. Although his cap hit is $5.625 million for the next two seasons, Muzzin is incredibly …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

If the Jays were to make a trade for a Starting Pitcher, Miami is a great partner

The Jays should call the Miami Marlins immediately if Hyun-Jin Ryu is out for the season.

Why? Well, once you look at their starting pitching, you can see why. While this article will focus on trades with one specific partner, this is not a “Meet the Sellers” article. 
We’ll be looking at a few Miami Marlins starters who I believe the Jays should be looking at to fill the Hyun-Jin Ryu void if he won’t pitch for a while. 
This is the second part of an article I wrote earlier, titled “Looking at the internal depth of starting pitching, and why the Blue Jays may need to make a trade.”
Sandy Alcantara:
Starting with the most unlikely, dare I say impossible, player that the Jays could acquire, Sandy Alcantra. He’s a 26-year-old righty who has posted a 1.61 ERA and 2.96 FIP in 83.2 innings pitched.

Sandy Alcántara, 100mph Sinker with 19 inches of run.
[And somehow balled.] pic.twitter.com/lgpFZ6Wx6g
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 9, 2022

His ERA is third amongst qualified pitchers and he’s on an incredibly team friendly contract until 2025, when it reaches 17 million for the next two seasons.
The thing is, $17 million until 2026 will likely still be an underpayment, as Alcantara will only be 29 when he starts to make $17 million.
A trade for Alcantara would at the very least, involve Alek Manoah, as well as devastate the entire farm system. As much as he’d improve the team in a vacuum, the cost of obtaining him would be far too high.
I sort of just wanted to highlight how good Alcantara is.
Pablo Lopez:
Another player who’d cost an arm and a leg is Pablo Lopez. This season, he’s posting an ERA of 2.18 and FIP of 3.07 in 66 innings pitched. That includes a K/9 of 9.14 and a BB/9 of 2.32.
In fact, the Jays were reportedly in on Pablo Lopez after the 2021 season, according to Jon Morosi.

The #BlueJays have checked with the #Marlins on their starting pitchers; Pablo López and Elieser Hernández are Miami’s most available arms. Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk is likely to be part of talks due to the emergence of J …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

It still might be too soon for the Maple Leafs to move on from Justin Holl

Can and should the Maple Leafs move on from Justin Holl this summer?
Nobody can see into the future, not even GM Kyle Dubas. But when they signed the now 30-year-old defenceman, it wasn’t clear where both Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren would be in their development.
Usually when a trade article like this is made, it’s usually because of a players bad play during the season. However, Holl had a fairly good regular season and playoffs.
Throughout the year, he found himself in and out of the lineup, rotating with Liljegren and Travis Dermott on the third pairing. It seemed like Rasmus Sandin had locked up a full-time spot, until he suffered an injury prior to the NHL trade deadline.
Once it became clear that Sandin wouldn’t return for a while, and with Dermott being traded to Vancouver, a free spot on the defence opened up. That opening was beside veteran defenceman Mark Giordano.
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe continued to go back and forth between the two of Holl and Liljegren before ultimately giving the role to the 30-year-old after Game 2 against the Lightning.
Holl stayed in for the remainder of the playoffs, but wasn’t an important piece, only playing 84 minutes over the five games. He was valued for his good pe …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Good, Better, Best: Raptors free agent shooting guard targets

Good, Better, Best: Raptors free agent shooting guard targets

The Toronto Raptors should consider 2021-22 as a massive success, as they managed to somehow win 48 games despite some fairly noticeable holes on the roster. The lack of quality shooting guard depth was the most significant flaw Nick Nurse and this team’s collection of stars had to overcome. Even with Fred VanVleet and Gary […]
Good, Better, Best: Raptors free agent shooting guard targets – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Jaylen Brown declines to confirm status for Raptors playoff series

Jaylen Brown declines to confirm status for Raptors playoff series

As the Toronto Raptors prepare for what should be a very intense first-round playoff series, they have the unexpected advantage of a vaccine mandate that would make it impossible for unvaccinated players to suit up in Scotiabank Arena. This could come into play if they take on Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics. The existing […]
Jaylen Brown declines to confirm status for Raptors playoff series – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Why Greg Moore is the right head coach for this Marlies team

The Marlies are a development team now and I believe everyone should understand that.
When Kyle Dubas was hired as the Maple Leafs GM, he left his Assistant GM role with a different plan in mind — to make the Toronto Marlies a team solely focused on producing NHL caliber players.
That meant the departures of many veterans last summer.
More changes happened at that time, as Dubas promoted Laurence Gilman to Senior Vice-President and Governor. At the same moment, he brought in Ryan Hardy to manage both the Marlies and Newfoundland Growlers.
Hardy is someone that Marlies head coach Greg Moore worked alongside with the Chicago Steel of the USHL a few years back. These two are very good at developing prospects, especially when they’re working together.
“We’re here to develop players for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” said Hardy of the Marlies back in October. “I’m sure there’ll be some ups and downs as we get acclimated here and putting younger players, first-year pro, in some new spots.”
Throughout this season and last, there’s been a lot of criticism over Moore, specifically, as a coach. Whether it be lineup decisions or on-ice choices, a lot of Marlies fans aren’t happy.
Looking back at some moments, there was one instance where Moore left Nick Robertson off a 6- …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors mock draft has Toronto adding another Nebraska guard

Raptors mock draft has Toronto adding another Nebraska guard

Even as the squad makes preparations for what should be a very competitive fight to the finish in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, the Toronto Raptors mock draft prognosticators are hard at work trying to figure out who Masai Ujiri will add to this roster. The point guard position has been put in the spotlight […]
Raptors mock draft has Toronto adding another Nebraska guard – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

What should the Raptors rotation look like going forward in 2022?

What should the Raptors rotation look like going forward in 2022?

Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors should be extremely thankful that they have been able to leap out to a 21-19 record. Considering that VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are putting together All-Star campaigns even though they have the worst bench in the league. The Raptors have been dealt a few curveballs this season. Due to […]
What should the Raptors rotation look like going forward in 2022? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Ilya Mikheyev’s next contract shouldn’t be much of a worry for the Maple Leafs because it probably won’t be with Toronto

We should just be able to enjoy nice things, and at this exact moment, Ilya Mikheyev is a nice thing for Leafs. His return from injury has seen him pick up 4 goals (5 points) in 5 games. He’s playing 16 minutes a night, and he’s still one of the fastest players in the game. Yes, it sure is good to have Ilya Mikheyev, right now. And yes, as I wrote this yesterday I knew that Mikheyev would be good for a big night in Vegas.
Niceties out of the way, we are also talking about a pending unrestricted free agent, and when it comes to players like that, inevitably we need to discuss how much it costs to keep them. I’m not really sure that is the case with Mikheyev though, as there really isn’t a path to keeping him beyond this season.
While Jonas Siegel of The Athletic explored at great length the cost of keeping Mikheyev, and the value you brings to the team, the realities of the Mikheyev situation can really be boiled down to a much more simplistic argument. The Leafs will have cheap forward options available, and they have too many other priority players to sign.
Too many other priority players to sign
Assuming the salary cap still gets its bump up to $82.5M from $81.5M this season, that leaves Toronto with around $7.25M to spend over th …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation