Page 6ix Wednesday, January 20th: Inaugural Week

We’re a week into the hockey season, folks, and what a week it has been! It’s been exciting, it’s been nerve-wracking, it’s been strange, but it’s been hockey! There’s lots to look at this week, especially with our Leafs boys and their families. Let’s dive in.
Leafs Lads (and Ladies)
New dad Zach Hyman is having himself a season, with 10 SOG in the most recent Leafs game alone. That new dad strength is really pushing him, eh? Check out these adorable Hymen men:

I’m fine. This is fine. Zach Hyman is a dad and I’m fine.
Narrator: she was not fine. pic.twitter.com/F0iFQbvbRN
— robo fem mer (@MerOutLoud) January 14, 2021

Zach is enjoying being a dad, and definitely credits his new arrival with some of his on-ice success:

New dad Hyman: “It’s hard to describe. It’s the best feeling in the world. I feel re-energized playing for not just myself, my family, but I have a little one now, so it’s awesome. It’s always the best going home and seeing him after a game.” #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) January 19, 2021

Meanwhile, captain John Tavares is also dominating …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Michael Brantley to a three-year contract

Keep the good times rolling!

After the Blue Jays inked George Springer last night, there was plenty of speculation that Michael Brantley, his former teammate in Houston and close friend, would join him.
According to Hazel Mae, the Blue Jays and Brantley have agreed to a three-year contract…

Michael Brantley in agreement on a 3 year deal with #BlueJays per source.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) January 20, 2021

As I’ve mentioned before, Brantley is a name that Mark Shapiro and Co. are very familiar with. He was one of the players that Cleveland got back from Milwaukee in the CC Sabathia deal back in 2008 and he went on to play 10 seasons with the club.
Brantley has spent his last two seasons as a member of the Houston Astros, where he played a combination of left field, right field, and designated hitter. He slashed a .309/.370/.497 line over 824 plate appearances in Houston with 27 homers and a 94-to-68 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Soooooo… wow! Adding Springer and Brantley to the lineup is one hell of a swing for the Blue Jays. They’ve now added an elite centre fielder and one of the best veteran contact hitters, a lefty to boot, to a lineup that was already in …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Oilers vs Maple Leafs 01/20/21 – Odds and NHL Betting Trends

by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Toronto Maple Leafs have long had the better of the Edmonton Oilers, who are struggling to replicate the strengths that made them road warriors last season. The Maple Leafs are -150 home favourites against the +130 underdog Oilers with a 6.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Toronto is 8-2 in the last 10 matchups with Edmonton since the 2015-16 season, with a 5-5 split on the over/under at sports betting sites. The Maple Leafs are also 8-4 in their last 12 games as a home favourite with the total going UNDER nine times, and they are also 12-4 in their last 16 home games against clubs from the Pacific Division, where Edmonton plays during a standard 82-game schedule.
Oilers vs Maple Leafs | OddsShark Matchup Report
The total also went UNDER in 10 of those matchups. Edmonton is 13-7 in its last 20 games as an away underdog with the UNDER hitting 12 times, but Thursday’s matchup is their first away game since March 2020. The teams also have a rematch on Friday.
The Oilers are 1-3-0 despite having played their first four games at home. Connor McDavid has a team-high 61.1 shots-for …

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Author: Nation World HQ / The Leafs Nation

How much better does George Springer make the Blue Jays?

The Blue Jays have done it. They landed the big fish in free agency, signing George Springer to a 6yr $150M deal, the largest contract given out in franchise history. Springer is one of the best hitters in the league and plays solid defence in centre field. This is a massive addition for the franchise.
Before we go any further, it’s best to address the elephant in the room. Springer coming from the Houston Astros was a part of their cheating scandal of 2017. He had a great season in ‘17, but has had even better offensive seasons in 2019 and 2020 when the cheating stopped. This article from Jake Mailhot on Fangraphs, breaks down the banging scheme and how it helped each Astro hitter. On Springer this is what Mailhot found:
“George Springer was unable to take advantage of the trash can system when the game was on the line or when the game was all but decided, but he really thrived in medium leverage situations.”
This suggests that Springer’s overall production wasn’t affected as much as some of the other Astro hitters. He obviously cheated and participated in the sign stealing, this isn’t a justification. It’s just …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors are wasting Chris Boucher’s excellent start

Toronto Raptors are wasting Chris Boucher’s excellent start

Toronto Raptors big-man Chris Boucher is playing his way into Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved conversations, yet the team hasn’t been able to take advantage of it. When the season started, many thought that Aaron Baynes would be a solid replacement for Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. We all knew that he would […]
Toronto Raptors are wasting Chris Boucher’s excellent start – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Stephen Nixon / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays are also in on Michael Brantley

The Blue Jays have signed George Springer (fuck yes they have) and it looks like they aren’t done there.

According to Jon Heyman, Springer has been talking his former teammate Michael Brantley into joining him with the Blue Jays. I won’t believe it until Brendon Kuhn reports on it, of course.

George Springer has been selling the Jays and Michael Brantley on working out a deal so his friend and Astros teammate can join him (possibly) north of the border. @Ken_Rosenthal mentioned the tandem talk
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 20, 2021

But, yeah, this is something that we saw Ken Rosenthal mention recently, as I talked about earlier on Tuesday…
Free agents George Springer and Michael Brantley are close friends. They are represented by the same agency, Excel Sports Management. Imagine if the Blue Jays signed both in the kind of package deal more common in the NBA than Major League Baseball. Springer and Brantley would not only elevate the Jays’ offense but also provide leadership for the team’s young position players, transforming the franchise.
Brantley is a guy that Mark Shapiro and Co. are familiar with given he was part of the return in the deal that …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It’s happening! George Springer has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays

Uhhhhhhhh, it looks like it finally happened?

Were you expecting something along the lines of “BREAKING: Tulo traded to #BlueJays” from Ken Rosenthal to pop up randomly on your feed? Well, it was just as out-of-left-field as that, but, this time, the report is coming from our very own good friend, Brendon Kuhn…

Source: #BlueJays and George Springer in agreement, pending physical
— Brendon Kuhn (@_bkuh_) January 20, 2021

According to a source from within the Blue Jays organization, the team has signed George Springer. Wow, it feels really nice to finally type that. You better be right, Brendon!
UPDATE: 

Sources: #BlueJays now are the frontrunners to sign George Springer. @_bkuh_ and @RadioVendetta each have reported tonight that the Jays and Springer have a deal in place pending a physical exam. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 20, 2021

Jon Morosi is reporting that the Blue Jays are the “frontrunners” but it isn’t official yet. Stay tuned…

Mets’ once-aggressive pursuit of Springer downshifted significantly after Lindor trade, as previously reported. https://t.co/2MDMZO4uNo
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) January 20, 2021

Andy Martino notes that the Mets cooled on Springer after acquiring Francisco Lindor.

One source estimates Blue Jays stand 70 percent chance of getting Springer, based …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Apparently the Blue Jays have reached a deal with George Springer

Uhhhhhhhh, it looks like it finally happened?

Were you expecting something along the lines of “BREAKING: Tulo traded to #BlueJays” from Ken Rosenthal to pop up randomly on your feed? Well, it was just as out-of-left-field as that, but, this time, the report is coming from our very own good friend, Brendon Kuhn…

Source: #BlueJays and George Springer in agreement, pending physical
— Brendon Kuhn (@_bkuh_) January 20, 2021

According to a source from within the Blue Jays organization, the team has signed George Springer. Wow, it feels really nice to finally type that. You better be right, Brendon!
UPDATE: 

Sources: #BlueJays now are the frontrunners to sign George Springer. @_bkuh_ and @RadioVendetta each have reported tonight that the Jays and Springer have a deal in place pending a physical exam. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 20, 2021

Jon Morosi is reporting that the Blue Jays are the “frontrunners” but it isn’t official yet. Stay tuned…

Mets’ once-aggressive pursuit of Springer downshifted significantly after Lindor trade, as previously reported. https://t.co/2MDMZO4uNo
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) January 20, 2021

Andy Martino notes that the Mets cooled on Springer after acquiring Francisco Lindor.

One source estimates Blue Jays stand 70 percent chance of getting Springer, based …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Apparently the Blue Jays and George Springer have a deal

Uhhhhhhhh, it looks like it finally happened?

Were you expecting something along the lines of “BREAKING: Tulo traded to #BlueJays” from Ken Rosenthal to pop up randomly on your feed? Well, it was just as out-of-left-field as that, but, this time, the report is coming from our very own good friend, Brendon Kuhn…

Source: #BlueJays and George Springer in agreement, pending physical
— Brendon Kuhn (@_bkuh_) January 20, 2021

According to a source from within the Blue Jays organization, the team has signed George Springer. Wow, it feels really nice to finally type that. You better be right, Brendon!

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays Strengthen Bullpen with Kirby Yates addition

The Blue Jays have agreed to a deal with Kirby Yates. At this time the details of the deal are not yet known, but this signing is a significant one for the Blue Jays as it addresses one of their bigger weaknesses, the back end of the bullpen.

The Blue Jays under Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have done well at cobbling together an effective bullpen year after year. Players like Joe Smith, Seung-hwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, Daniel Hudson, David Phelps, A.J. Cole, and Anthony Bass were brought in on the cheap and pitched very well for the team. With the volatility of relievers’ year over year, this is a real strength of the front office.
It’s a luxury to go after these types of bullpen arms knowing you have already have an elite closer as the Blue Jays once had in Ken Giles. It takes a lot of pressure off the entire bullpen knowing you have a stud like Giles down there to close games out. It eases expectations on the other pitchers and gives them a better chance to succeed.
With Giles a free agent (and out for the season with Tommy John) the Blue Jays …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation