The Jays are apparently close to signing Don Mattingly, could be as soon as Wednesday morning

Long-time big league manager Don Mattingly is “very close” to signing with the Toronto Blue Jays

Per Joel Sherman, the 61-year-old legend Mattingly signing with the Jays could be announced as soon as Wednesday morning!

The announcement of Mattingly’s hiring is now expected as early as Wednesday morning.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 30, 2022

News continued to pour in, but Mattingly noted on Jon Heyman and Sherman’s podcast that he’s in talks with a mystery team (the Jays per this NYPost article.) 

Don Mattingly was on The Show podcast @nypostsports with @Joelsherman1 & @JonHeyman today.
Mattingly says there is a team he is talking to that is very interesting to him.
Who is the mystery team that may end up hiring the Yankees legend and ex-Marlins manager?
— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownRadio) November 29, 2022

Let’s look at what the veteran manager could offer.
The 61-year-old spent the last seven seasons managing the eternally rebuilding Miami Marlins, amassing a 443-587 record, which isn’t that bad when you factor in the team considers itself a small market.
Miami only had a winning record once in the seven years, coming in the plague season. However, early in his tenure (when they had good players), they sat around .500. Mattingly also spent five seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where they went 446-363 in that span. Overall, he has an 889-950 record for a 48.3 win percentage.
However, the Jays re-sign John Schneider earlier in the off-season, so this begs the question, what role would he fill as a bench coach? As far as my research goes, there are no vacancies for the coaching staff, so I’m not too sure. Prior to becoming a manager, Mattingly’s job was that of a hitting coach.
Now, there are also questions about his leadership style, which is why I don’t see a fit. Unlike Charlie Montoyo and even Jon Schneider, Mattingly has never really allowed his players to be expressive. The most recent example of this came early in the 2022 season, when he sat Miami Marlins star Jazz Chisholm the day after hitting a home run.
As you may know, the Bahamian-born Chisholm is a rather expressive player, which is great for the game. However, Mattingly spent his 14-year career with the New York Yankees, even becoming their captain. So that begs the question if his hardass policies would affect the Jays, who enjoy having fun. Perhaps his policies would take a back seat as a bench coach? Perhaps it’s to help mentor John Schneider as he moves into his first full-season? What will happen to the home run jacket?
So many questions, but first he has to be announced. Expect updates to this article once he officially signs!
As always, y …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Mike Clevinger’s contract with the White Sox further indicates an expensive free-agent market this winter

After a lull in the baseball world over the past week, we got a pair of signings on Sunday and Monday, as Jose Abreu inked a multi-year contract with the Houston Astros and Mike Clevinger inked a show-me deal with the Chicago White Sox.

This flurry of moves sees the White Sox move on from Abreu, who slashed a .292/.354/.506 line with the team over the course of nine seasons, and add a reclamation project to their starting rotation. Clevinger was moved in a big trade from Cleveland to the San Diego Padres during the 2020 season. He made just four starts with the team and underwent Tommy John surgery and then missed the entirety of the 2021 season.
In his first year back from Tommy John, Clevinger posted a 4.33 ERA over the course of 114 1/3 innings. His fastball velocity hovered around 93.5 miles per hour, a noticeable drop from where it was during his successful seasons in Cleveland. As a result, his strikeout rate dipped to 18.8% in 2022 compared to 27.5% in 2020 and 22.6% in 2019.
Now, why does any of this matter? Because Clevinger’s contract, which has $12 million guaranteed, further indicates just how expensive this winter’s free-agent market is going to be…

$12M is more than I e …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Digging into eight proposed trades involving Blue Jays catchers!

It’s the time of year when we all make hypothetical trade suggestions. It doesn’t help that this off-season has felt incredibly slow. Grab a snack and get curled up, this article is going to be a long one.

A few days ago, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic wrote an article pitching eight trades involving Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk. She spoke with the other team’s beat writers of The Athletic to compile these trades, while former general manager Jim Bowden gave his assessment.
As a somewhat rational Jay fan, I also wanted to take a look at these trades and give my opinion. The fact of the matter is that some of these trades actually make sense, and I want to dig into those ones in particular.
We’ll start by looking at Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk by the numbers and attempt to gauge their value.
Danny Jansen:
The 2022 season was a career year for the 27-year-old catcher, at least with the bat. He slashed .260/.339/.516 in 248 plate appearances and had a 10.1 K% and 17.7 BB% during that time.
Where he really impressed though, was the fact that he hit a career-high 15 homers in such a short span, which was good enough for a 140 wRC+ and 2.6 fWAR.

FREE TIP: To shift Danny Jansen, place your outfielders BEHIND the wall
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 27, 2022

Defensively, he just hasn’t been the same as his 2019, whe …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have some interesting homegrown talent who could help the bullpen in 2023 and beyond

The Blue Jays bullpen has become incredibly deep over the past few seasons.

Remember the 17 pitchers on the Blue Jays staff/taxi squad to start the 2021 season? If not, it featured pitchers such as Tanner Roark, T.J. Zeuch, Ryan Borucki, Tyler Chatwood, Rafael Dolis, Julian Merryweather, Joel Payamps, and Trent Thornton (who may start 2023 in Buffalo). The Jays also had Tommy Milone, A.J Cole, and Travis Bergen on the now-defunct Taxi Squad. Here’s an article for Blue Jays Nation’s Cam Lewis if you want to see how far the team has come.
Of course, the 2021 opening day roster still featured Tim Mayza, David Phelps, and Jordan Romano. However, they were the only three mainstays in the bullpen out of the fourteen names I listed.
The state of the present-day bullpen:
Fast-forward to the present day, and the Jays have added Anthony Bass (1.54 ERA, 3 FIP in 2022), Yimi García (3.10 ERA, 3.47 FIP), Adam Cimber (2.80 ERA, 3.47 FIP), Erik Swanson (1.68 ERA, 1.85 FIP) as mainstays. 
This doesn’t even mention adding Trevor Richards, who had a good 2021 and a pretty good second half to 2022, or Zach Pop, who may not be on the 2023 roster because he has options.
The bullpen is incredibly deep with players that have produced great results. Yes, they did trade Rowdy Tellez, Joe Panik, Jordan Groshans, and Tesocar Hernández to acquire many of these relievers, but as a whole, these were all pretty good trades.
One of the few aspects the front office has failed at in the eyes of some is that they haven’t developed any homegrown relievers. While that may be true for the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Blue Jays have been linked to Masataka Yoshida, while Kevin Kiermaier and Joey Gallo could also be fits

What do Kevin Kiermaier, Joey Gallo, and Masataka Yoshida have in common? Well, they all play in the outfield, and all bat left-handed!

While I hope the Jays still remain in the hunt for Brandon Nimmo, it doesn’t hurt to look at some possible names that could fill in as a fourth outfielder.  With how the Jays utilize the Designated Hitter spot, these fourth outfielders would likely get an opportunity to play.
Masataka Yoshida:
Per The Athletics’ Will Sammon, the Jays are one of the teams linked to the Japanese outfielder by various sites overseas.
The 29-year-old lefty slashed .335/.447/.561 with 21 homers in 508 plate appearances with the Orix Buffaloes. He was also an on-base machine, with a walk rate of 15.7% and an incredibly low strikeout rate of 8.1%.

運命の首位攻防第3R#吉田正尚 勢いそのままに先制2ランホームラン!
— ベースボールLIVE (@baseballlive_JP) September 19, 2022

In his 3189 plate appearances in the NPB, he has 133 home runs, so there is definitely some raw power there as well. The main question is his defense, which has been described as below average.
While his corner outfield profile could certainly help the Jays in 2023, his defense is suspect, and overseas statistics don’t always translate well in Major League Baseball. It also would keep George Springer in centre field, which may not be ideal if the Jays hop to keep him healthy.
Kevin Kiermaier:
Did Kiermaier steal Alejandro Kirk’s gameplan sheet? He sure did. Does that mean the Jays shouldn’t sign him if he accepts the fourth outfielder role? Absolutely not.
The 32-year-old slashed .228/.281/369 with seven homers in  221 plate appearances. The former gold glove winner has a tendency to strike out, as he had a career-high 27.6 K% the past season, with a career K% of 22%. In total, he finished with a wRC+ of 90, slightly below his career average of 97.

— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2022

While it’s arguable that his offense is an upgrade over Raimel Tapia’s, his defense in centre field certainly is. He had a 2 Defensive Runs Saved and a 1 Outs Above Average, which was slightly above average in his 482.1 innings.
While his numbers took a hit in 2022, he did have a 13 DRS in 2021, as well as an 11 OAA in 894.2 innings in centre field. As for his career defensive numbers,  he has an insane 134 D …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Moving Bo Bichette to centre field may be so crazy, that it actually works

Look, the likelihood of this happening is essentially zero, but I think it’s an interesting discussion that has some merit.

In the early part of the 2022 season, I wrote about how the Blue Jays should move shortstop Bo Bichette to second base, as his defense at short was well below average. I felt comfortable with that opinion, as it would have just been a swap with everyday second baseman Santiago Espinal.
This article is a little bit different. Unlike the previous article and more like an onion, this article will have more layers as we’re in the off-season. Let’s get into the pros and cons of why this idea may be so damn crazy that it’ll work.
Starting the caveat:
We’ll get into why it looks good on paper in the next few sections, but this section will feature the biggest obstacle in why this likely won’t happen.
Imagine you’re Bo Bichette, and you’ve been touted as the long-term shortstop of the Toronto Blue Jays. Four years into your young career, the Jays are looking to move you off the position and into the outfield (in this case, centre field.)
I don’t imagine he’d be very happy with the situation, and I don’t even know if the Jays would consider this as they’ve spent four years developing Bichette at short. While it may make sense on paper, the human element, as well as the team’s interests are likely in a different direction. That doesn’t mean it isn’t an inter …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah calls Gerrit Cole biggest cheater in MLB history

How hungry is Alek Manoah? The Toronto Blue Jays pitcher isn’t a fan of cricket tea, but he does enjoy giving it to the New York Yankees, especially Gerrit Cole, whenever possible.
Manoah appeared on the latest episode of Sportsnet’s “How Hungry are You?” with NBA star Serge Ibaka and was asked a series of questions by the former Toronto Raptor. And Mafuzzy Chef certainly didn’t hold back.
The 24-year-old first detailed the elements of baseball to Ibaka, explaining why a starting pitcher usually requires four days of rest between starts. But then the tea really started to spill – so to speak – when the Blue Jays hurler was asked, “Who’s the biggest cheater in baseball history?” Needing little time to respond, Manoah answered with Cole, who was heavily scrutinized for his previous use of foreign substances.

Alek Manoah says Gerrit Cole is the biggest cheater in baseball history
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) November 21, 2022

Before Major League Baseball began policing “sticky stuff” midway through the 2021 season, Cole was allegedly one of many pitchers using the illegal substance known as spider tack, which provides improved grip, allowing those same hurlers to increase the spin rates on their pitches.
Manoah also explained the confrontation involving Cole at Yankee Stadium from this past season, where the $324-million pitcher started yelling at his counterpart after Aaron Judge was hit by an inside fastball. Things never escalated any further between the two All-Stars, although that was because Cole didn’t cross the first-base foul line.
The 11th overall selection from 2019 made 31 starts i …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Armchair GM: Blue Jays Need a Lefty Bat, Cards Need A Catcher

Introducing a new series! This is Armchair GM, a weekly to bi-weekly segment in which I take a look at some of the rumours swirling around the Blue Jays world, and the baseball world at large. I’ll identify a team need, then flesh those rumours out into fully fledged trade ideas that I think make some sense for both sides.
Early Wednesday morning, the Blue Jays announced that they’d dealt Teoscar Hernandez to the Mariners for a couple of pitchers, Erik Swanson and Adam Macko. One of the biggest talking points throughout the entire season was that the Jays needed a left handed hitter, and they just opened a spot in the outfield for one. Of course, the Jays have shown early interest in free agents such as Brandon Nimmo, but it’s possible that their best bet is just through trades. Another common talking point of late is that the Cardinals may be a good fit, as they have a surplus of outfielders but lack a catcher now that Yadier Molina has called it a career.

The #BlueJays have enviable catching depth. They don’t have to make a trade, but they’re exploring the possibility
So who will have interest? From the least likely suitors (Orioles) to the truly intriguing fits (Cardinals), let’s predict who will call
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 9, 2022

There’s a reason h …

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Author: Tate Kispech / Blue Jays Nation

The Dodgers are reportedly making a run at Aaron Judge, the Yankees have apparently offered him a $337 million deal

With the Los Angeles Dodgers opting to non-tender Cody Bellinger, rumours are now swirling that they’ll try to sign the top name in free agency to fill the void in their outfield.

According to Jon Heyman of The New York Post, the Dodgers “will make a run” at Aaron Judge this winter…

Word going around now is Dodgers will make a run at Aaron Judge. Logical with $100M now off the books with Bellinger, Kimbrel, Anderson, Heaney, Price and 2 Turners off the roster. Needs include SS, 3B, SPs, RP and now OF.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 19, 2022

The Dodgers have handed out massive contracts in the past couple of years. They traded for Mookie Betts in February of 2020 and re-signed him in July of that year to a $13-year contract worth $365 million and they inked Freddie Freeman in free agency last winter to a six-year contract worth $162 million.
Are they willing to spend the cash necessary to bring yet another star player out west? And how much would that cost them? According to Ramon D. Carmona, a news producer from the Dominican Republic (he was quote-tweeted by Hector Gomez, a reasonably reliable source), the Yankees have offered Judge a contract worth $337 million…

According to @carmonatv, the #Yankees offered a $337 million contract to Aaron Judge.
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) November 19, 2022

Right before the start of the season, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman came out and said that Judge had declined the team’s seven-ye …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Blue Jays don’t tender three players, looking at other team’s non-tenders, and more!

On Friday evening, the Jays announced that three players would not be offered a contract, while every other arbitration-eligible player was tendered.

Non-tending Bradley Zimmer and Raimel Tapia were expected, as they had been designated for assignment off the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 deadline. However, non-tendering Vinny Capra came as a shock in all honesty.
While Capra has very little major league experience, he slashed .283/.378/.403 with five homers in 222 plate appearances with the Buffalo Bisons. He also had as many walks (29) as strikeouts and finished 2022 with a 114 wRC+.

Vinny Capra freezes the left fielder with this nuke.#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) September 8, 2022

While the Jays will need to make cuts to the 40-man roster before signing players, I figured there were more obvious subtractions from the 40-man. No doubt Capra will bounce back quickly (he’s heading to Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League), and I reckon we’ll see him in the majors at some point.
There are 11 Blue Jays who’ll be receiving contracts from the team, they are listed below, along with their projections according to MLB Trade Rumors.:
RP Adam Cimber, $3.2 million
RP Trevor Richards, $1.5 million
RP Tim Mayza, $1.9 million
RP Trent Thornton, $1.1 million
RP Jordan Romano, $4.4 million
RP Erik Swanson, $1.4 million
C Danny Jansen, $3.7 million
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., $14.8 million
UTL Cavan Biggio, $2.6 million
SS Bo Bichette, $6.1 million
2B Santiago Espinal, $2.1 million
The two names that may be surprising are Trent Thornton and Trevor Richards. Let’s start with Richards.
Trevor Richards:
The 29-year-old had a 5.34 ERA and 4.07 FIP in 64 innings pitched in 2022. While he struggled with a high walk rate (12.5 BB%) like he never has in his career, his 29.2 K% was one of the highest on the Blue Jays with more than 15 innings pitched. Surprisingly, only Jeremy Beasley had a higher K% (29.7%) than Richards with for pitchers with 15+ …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation