Transactions: Breyvic Valera and Travis Bergen are back with the Blue Jays

We’ve got some transaction news as two familiar-ish faces are back in the mix.

First, as you would have noticed if you watched Sunday’s game against the Yankees, infielder Breyvic Valera is back with the Blue Jays after being reinstated from the Restricted List. Valera was unable to join the team last season as he wasn’t able to get out of Venezuela due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Valera is a really random name you might have completely forgotten about until today. He was claimed by the Blue Jays from the Yankees back in September of 2019, a dark period of time many of us have wiped from our memories, and he got into five games with the team that season.
His numbers in Triple-A that season (between the Giants and Yankees minor-league affiliates) were actually quite good. Valera slashed a .303/.389/.480 line over 107 games with a 50-to-44 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Of course, he’s also 29 years old with no success at the big-league level.
Anyway, Valera is apparently in the mix for a backup infield gig with Santiago Espinal and Joe Panik, who’s in Florida as a non-roster invitee. I figure Valera is a pretty likely candidate to be …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Grapefruit Notes: The Blue Jays are undefeated in 2021

Baseball! It’s back!

Hopefully you were able to catch the fever of YOUR Toronto Blue Jays on this lovely Sunday afternoon because they won’t be on television again for two weeks.
Baseball! It’s sort of back!
Things worth mentioning…

The Toronto Blue Jays are undefeated in 2021, while the New York Yankees remain winless. Does this make the Blue Jays World Series favourites? I mean, you certainly have to ask the question.
Anthony Kay got the start for the Blue Jays and looked very good. Remember, when it comes to Spring Training, when a guy is doing well, it means that they’re going to have a breakout season, but when they’re doing poorly, it doesn’t mean anything. Those are the rules. Anyway, Kay was excellent over two innings of work, but, unfortunately Charlie Montoyo didn’t allow him to go the distance to pitch a perfect game. The interesting thing with Kay on Sunday afternoon was the extra zip on his pitches. He was hitting as high as 97 miles-per-hour, which is well above the 96.3 mph fastball he averaged last year. All aboard the Anthony Kay for Cy Young train!

2 perfect innings for @TonyBuckets18?
What a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors Star of the Week: Interim head coach Sergio Scariolo

Raptors Star of the Week: Interim head coach Sergio Scariolo

It could be his years of experience, it could be his cooling calm, it could be his slick grey hair and bushy eyebrows, but when Sergio Scariolo took the head coaching reigns on Friday night, Toronto Raptors fans breathed a communal sigh of relief. With Nick Nurse and five other coaches out due to the health and […]
Raptors Star of the Week: Interim head coach Sergio Scariolo – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Marlies and Me: Toronto is 4-4-0-0 to finish off road trip

The Toronto Marlies had an interesting road trip to start the season. At some points they looked like the most dominant team on the ice, and at other points they looked like they could use a few practices. It’s obviously not ideal for Toronto because of the amount of games and how much practice time they’ve got, but right now in this time, that’s the circumstances they’ve had to play through.
And it’s not an excuse to say and even players on the Marlies have said that, though you do have to consider that to be part of the reason. Toronto played eight games in 12 days and with any of the days off that they had, it was used for rest.
Overall on this road trip, there were a lot of positives that can be taken away from it. The Marlies are such a young team this year with the likes of Nick Robertson, Adam Brooks, Joey Anderson and a few others. It’s going to take some time to not only get used to each other but to have a good idea of systems and special teams.
If I had to predict one aspect …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors-Bulls postponed due to COVID-19 contact tracing

Raptors-Bulls postponed due to COVID-19 contact tracing

The Toronto Raptors were scheduled to take on Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls tonight in what should’ve been a matchup of Eastern Conference playoff contenders. Unfortunately, the pandemic decided to interfere with this game. Toronto already expected to come in short-handed, as power forward Pascal Siakam, head coach Nick Nurse, and five other members […]
Raptors-Bulls postponed due to COVID-19 contact tracing – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Top KHL Free Agents in 2020-21

The 2nd best hockey league in the world just wrapped up their regular season, 60 Kontinental Hockey League games for teams in Russia, Finland, Belarus, Latvia, Kazakhstan, and China.
The usual suspects sit atop the league with CSKA Moskva and SKA St. Petersburg leading the West, Ak Bars Kazan and Avangard Omsk tops in the East. That’s not what concerns North American teams though, their focus is on poaching the talent that elevates teams to the top of the KHL. Artemi Panarin is the most impactful example, finishing in the top 20 in NHL scoring each season since signing with Chicago in 2015.
In the 5 years or so since Panarin came to North America there has been plenty of other skaters to sign out of the KHL. Not all of them met expectations, or even played a game in the NHL. Still, the opportunity to land an NHL contributor for under $1 million is a massive incentive to scout the KHL. If it takes three tries to land a player like Ilya Mikheyev, NHL clubs should be willing to take three swings.
Before the NHL season started I spent a lot of time watching KHL games and highlights, and narrowed down a list …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: This 3-team trade with Detroit and Orlando gets Toronto a point guard and center

Raptors: This 3-team trade with Detroit and Orlando gets Toronto a point guard and center

The Toronto Raptors might’ve had some success with their new small lineup as they try to cement themselves as contenders in the Eastern Conference, but that shouldn’t necessarily preclude them from making some moves in order to become a contender. While the Raptors have been liked to Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond incessantly over […]
Raptors: This 3-team trade with Detroit and Orlando gets Toronto a point guard and center – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leafs move six points ahead of Oilers after win – Rate That Leafs Game

This was a big game for the Toronto Maple Leafs and with the way they played, you could tell how important it really was.
Jack Campbell with a solid 30-save shutout, and from the supporting cast which was the entire Maple Leafs team, it was nice to see them rally. Along with the offense, Toronto’s defence was spectacular too. They didn’t allow a goal against by the Edmonton Oilers but more importantly, from one of either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl.
A big game that both the Maple Leafs, Campbell and Auston Matthews will be proud of. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Campbell and the Leafs shut out Oilers offense in 4-0 win

No Matthews, no problem. With their star centre out, there was concern about how the Leafs would match up against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and they apparently matched up well still, as they shut out the Oilers in a 4-0 win, thanks to a Jack Campbell 30 save shutout and two point performances from Mitch Marner and John Tavares.
The first period was scary to start, as it seemed like every time Connor McDavid was on the ice, he had a chance to score, but Jack Campbell and the team in front of him held strong. The Leafs would break the ice later in the first on the power play, when Mitch Marner did his thing and skated around with the puck for a while before setting up Nylander for an absolute snipe to make it 1-0.

WILLIAM NYLANDER
WHAT A SHOT! pic.twitter.com/SxicS6WaKC
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 28, 2021

They quickly added to their lead too, as Marner would cash in again with a goal off a solid rush up the ice from Tavares to make it 2-0, and would give Mitch his 10th goal of the season already.

MITCH MARNER
MAKING MAGIC! pic.twitter.com/yFil04psY6
— Omar (@ …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: 3 players who need to step up with Pascal Siakam out

Raptors: 3 players who need to step up with Pascal Siakam out

The Toronto Raptors have been overcoming long odds all season long, and the latest news surrounding star big man Pascal Siakam has only made proceedings in a crowded Eastern Conference even more difficult. Siakam, in addition to head coach Nick Nurse and five Raptors assistants, missed Toronto’s win against the Houston Rockets last night. While […]
Raptors: 3 players who need to step up with Pascal Siakam out – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ