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

Raptors injury report: Luka Doncic, Mavericks could feast on beat-up roster

Raptors injury report: Luka Doncic, Mavericks could feast on beat-up roster

The Toronto Raptors were not only unable to take down Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks during their tango a few weeks ago in Texas despite a Scottie Barnes triple-double, but they suffered a few injuries that have completely killed whatever momentum they had going. Losing Pascal Siakam has been destabilizing for this squad. In […]
Raptors injury report: Luka Doncic, Mavericks could feast on beat-up roster – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Dalano Banton gives beat-up Raptors life in victory vs. Pistons

Dalano Banton gives beat-up Raptors life in victory vs. Pistons

Dalano Banton and the Toronto Raptors were faced with a serious lack of depth that they needed to overcome against old coach Dwane Casey and the Detroit Pistons. With Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Gary Trent Jr. all inactive, names like Banton and Malachi Flynn needed to star. Banton was forced into the starting lineup […]
Dalano Banton gives beat-up Raptors life in victory vs. Pistons – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

2 bench stars emerge in tough Toronto Raptors loss vs. Pacers

2 bench stars emerge in tough Toronto Raptors loss vs. Pacers

The Toronto Raptors were not going to send their best lineup out on the floor against the Indiana Pacers. Names like Otto Porter Jr. and Thad Young had to move into the starting lineup due to Pascal Siakam’s groin injury, Precious Achiuwa’s ankle ailment, and Fred VanVleet coming down with a sickness. After struggling to […]
2 bench stars emerge in tough Toronto Raptors loss vs. Pacers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Otto Porter Jr. needs to be more aggressive to lead Raptors bench

Otto Porter Jr. needs to be more aggressive to lead Raptors bench

The Toronto Raptors were getting some standout performances from their bench early in the season, but their effectiveness has since waned. Even a solid veteran like Otto Porter Jr. making his return can’t get Toronto any higher than 26th in bench points per game. Largely, Porter has been a success. The former Golden State Warriors […]
Otto Porter Jr. needs to be more aggressive to lead Raptors bench – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

End of season comparison: Yusei Kikuchi to Steven Matz, a tale of change and qualifying offers

We’ve run through all the good comparisons, and now we’re left with Yusei Kikuchi and Steven Matz. Yay.

So yeah, getting this out of the way quickly, neither of these guys had a good season… sort of. It took a change mid-season to help them perform better.
Unlike the other three articles in the series, there are no prospects in this article. However, there should have been, but we’ll get to that. Here’s the background.
Background:
The Blue Jays traded three prospects, Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz, and Josh Winckowski for Steven Matz on January 28th, 2021. The lefty had a solid season in 2021 with the Blue Jays and cashed in during the 2021-22 off-season, signing a four-year, $44 million contract with the St.Louis Cardinals.
Yusei Kikuchi spent three seasons with the Mariners, positing “meh” statistics with the team, before signing a three-year deal with the Blue Jays worth $36 million.
Steven Matz’s 2021:
Looking at Matz’s 2021 first, he finished the season with a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 150.2 innings pitched. While his 22.3 K% was about average, he had a solid 6.6 BB% which meant he let runners get a free pass.
It was a fairly streaky season for the then 30-year-old lefty. At some point, he looked like it could be his best year, while he got lit up at other points. Overall, it was a solid season where he posted pretty good numbers for a guy who was penciled in as the fifth starter.
Unlike the other two free agents we’ve covered, Mat …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Thad Young’s speech at basketball camp will hype up Raptors fans

Thad Young’s speech at basketball camp will hype up Raptors fans

The Toronto Raptors were able to make some noise in the Eastern Conference last year thanks to a very unique collection of young stars that played their role expertly. Still, Masai Ujiri was willing to trade for Thad Young in order to get some experienced backbone. Young, who was acquired for the San Antonio Spurs […]
Thad Young’s speech at basketball camp will hype up Raptors fans – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Trades, Targets, and Toughness (Part 2 of our Leafs Reader Poll)

We’re back for day two of our look at your responses to the Reader Poll. Day one focused largely on contracts and opinions of Keefe and Dubas. Today we shift to that middle ground of trade bait and roster needs before closing this series out tomorrow with a look at the players and how successful they will be this year.

We’re starting off with one of my favourite questions and that is who could be moved in season. I’m sure it seems odd that I included two newly acquired goaltenders, but that comes down largely to the fact that if one or both are a bust, will the Leafs move on? Or at the deadline, will the Leafs want to move one in order to afford roster strengthening moves elsewhere? I feel I need to explain that one a bit, as the other candidates seem far more straightforward.
Not surprisingly Holl and Kerfoot are at the top as the present situation dictates that one of them looks to be out in order to afford Rasmus Sandin. Muzzin is a bit of wishful thinking, but he would likely be the best bet for the Leafs to move if it wasn’t for his full no trade clause at the moment. I guess it’s always a safe bet that the Leafs are looking to trade their first, and we’ll see below if you think that’s a good idea.

I want to start by saying that I’ve come to terms with the fact that Nylander probably should be traded at some point between now and his free agency period. I’m not sure I want it this year. I can appreciate the appeal of a potential top-four right-shot defenseman, but am decidedly less enthu …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Alek Manoah dominates the Pirates as Toronto starts series with 4-0 win

For those who observe Alek Manoah Day, they were able to celebrate for good reason.

The Blue Jays took the first of a three-game series from the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 behind a dominant performance from The Big Man, Alek Manoah. Manoah threw seven and a third innings, allowing only five hits, no runs, one walk, and six strikeouts en route to his 13th win of the season and his 20th quality start. He pitched in front of his college baseball team, the West Virginia Mountaineers, as they made the quick trip up to PNC Park to watch their former teammate do his thing.
Johan Oviedo, who was acquired from the Cardinals at the trade deadline in the Jose Quintana trade, started for the Pirates tonight. Oviedo struck out the side in the first inning, all on his slider. The Blue Jays were able to generate five base runners between the second and third innings, but they did 2022 Blue Jays things with them and ~stranded them all~.
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, Oviedo was on a pitch count. Who knows if the Blue Jays would’ve had much success off of this guy had he not gotten to 75 pitches so soon.
Tyler Beede took over for Oviedo in the 4th, and he allowed a leadoff double t …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors miss on Donovan Mitchell as Cavaliers acquire star

Raptors miss on Donovan Mitchell as Cavaliers acquire star

The Toronto Raptors were one of a handful of teams who managed to extend some feels out there when it came to acquiring Utah Jazz standout Donovan Mitchell. Considering what a dominant scorer he could become in the right situation, it makes sense why Masai Ujiri was interested. Mitchell would have been a dominant player […]
Raptors miss on Donovan Mitchell as Cavaliers acquire star – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ