The Vancouver Canadians could still remain a Blue Jays affiliate

Earlier this off-season, word came out that the Vancouver Canadians, one of the Blue Jays’ short-season rookie ball affiliates, would be becoming a minor-league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

Shortly after, though, Mark Shapiro said that the report about the Canadians and Blue Jays parting ways wasn’t factual.
“Major League Baseball has been overwhelmed with the amount of variables they’ve had to deal with this year and the timing on a minor league plan for next year,” Shapiro said. “Although we’ve got some loose insight, but we haven’t gotten a firm answer on what that’s going to look like. I think an understanding that it’s going to be a reduced number of teams, that short-season baseball is certainly not going to be the same.
What we do know is that a big part of MLB’s slashing of the minor leagues has to do with getting rid of short-season ball and increasing focus on having newly-drafted players go to instructional camps.
Over at Ballpark Digest, there’s a huge list that’s keeping track of which teams and leagues are getting chopped and which affiliates are moving around to accommodate these changes. It has …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A new home on the horizon for the Blue Jays?

Christmas has come early for Toronto Blue Jays fans.
Most awoke this morning to the startling news of Andrew Willis of The Globe and Mail reporting the Blue Jays are planning to scrap the Rogers Centre and build a brand new ballpark for the team.
This is something many, many people have dreamed about for years, but considering the ideal location of the current stadium and the hundreds of million of dollars sunk into the Rogers Centre already, starting from scratch didn’t seem feasible.
Now it is, apparently! If this plan does in fact come to fruition, there are tonnes of working parts to figure out, but in the short term, this is incredibly promising for the Blue Jays. Many have been pining for a new ballpark for a long time, and now their prayers have been answered.
Keep in mind that Rogers Centre is the seventh-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball and one of the last stadiums built in the multi-use era. During its unveiling in 1989, the SkyDome aimed to be everything to everyone; from baseball fans, to football fans, to concerts and yes, even Star Trek screenings.
Now that the Argos have moved out and the Blue …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

Sportsnet is parting ways with Mike Wilner

Here’s something completely out of left field.

According to a statement put out by Sportsnet PR on Twitter, Mike Wilner will no longer be calling Blue Jays games.

Thanks for the memories, @wilnerness590! Statement from @Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/UiDlfo6Z5y
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 27, 2020

And here’s a statement from Wilner himself…

1/2…… pic.twitter.com/Sp0wGZHTaS
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) November 27, 2020

Wilner had been working with Sportsnet for two decades and finally became the primary play-by-play voice for Blue Jays games after the retirement of Jerry Howarth in 2018. He also hosted Jays Talk for years, the after-game radio program where fans could call in and rant about what just happened.
The tone of Wilner’s statement makes it pretty clear that this wasn’t a voluntary decision. It seems very likely that Sportsnet decided to move on.
Why that might be? I really have no idea.
Wilner really came into his own in the play-by-play booth and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him and Ben Wagner call games. I also quite enjoyed Wilner on Jays Talk just consistently dismantle the completely insane things that callers would rant about, though he obviously rubbed plenty of fans the wrong …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Daily Duce: You can add Justin Turner, Michael Brantley, Ha-Seong Kim, and J.T. Realmuto to your Blue Jays off-season interest list

Daily??!?!?!

We’re nearing December and nothing has happened. At this point, we can pretty safely assume that nothing will happen until the Digital Winter Meetings, which are scheduled for Dec. 7-10.
Until then? Speculation! Checking in! Showing interest!
Over at The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal put out a news and notes post that featured a few interesting Blue Jays-related nuggets.
First, he confirmed that the mystery free agent from a few weeks back (the one that Ross Atkins mentioned as somebody the Blue Jays were close to a deal with) was, as expected, Kevin Gausman. According to Rosenthal, the Jays offered Gausman a three-year deal in the $40 million range, which he declined in favour of the Giants’ one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer.
Gausman, the former fourth-overall pick of the Baltimore Orioles, had a nice rebound season in 2020 pitching for San Francisco. Over 12 appearances, he posted a 3.62 ERA (his best since 2016) and had excellent peripheral numbers (a career-high 11.9 strikeouts-per-nine).
A three-year, $40 million offer for Gausman is reminiscent of the deal that the team gave J.A. Happ a few years ago. Happ had some ugly seasons but managed to put it all together when he got traded to the Pirates mid-way through …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Rays are looking for catchers and the Blue Jays have a lot of them

On Friday, the Blue Jays added five players to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft, two of which were catchers, Gabe Moreno and Riley Adams.

With Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, and Alejandro Kirk already there, that gives the team five catchers on the 40-man roster, which is more than you’d generally like to have.
Elsewhere, according to Jim Bowden, the Tampa Bay Rays have apparently told other teams that their off-season priority is to add “catching, catching, and catching.”
The Rays, as we know, are loaded with all kinds of quality pitchers. The Blue Jays, as we know, need to add some pitchers this off-season.

I’m not really a math person, but this all adds up! It could make all kinds of sense for the Blue Jays to send a catcher over to Tampa Bay in exchange for a pitcher, solving the problem of the massive catching logjam on the 40-man while simultaneously filling another area of need.
Of course, if the Rays want to make a big upgrade behind the plate, they could go ahead and sign J.T. Realmuto, arguably the top free agent on the open market. But, thankfully, the Rays are cheap …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

J.A. Happ Round Three?

We all want the Blue Jays to make some pitching additions this off-season. Perhaps adding somebody from the New York Yankees? Maybe a left-handed starter?

Apparently, according to Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays have expressed interest in doing exactly that, though it isn’t the Yankee lefty you’re probably hoping for.
Nope, not James Paxton to satisfy your need for CanCon. The Blue Jays have shown interest in old friend J.A. Happ.

Sources: #BlueJays interested in free agent LHP J.A. Happ, who had two prior tenures with the club: 2012-2014 and 2016-2018. Happ, 38, ranked fourth in ERA+ this year among free-agent pitchers who threw at least 40 IP. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2020

Ben Nicholson-Smith and Arden Zwelling mentioned the possibility of the Jays circling back to Happ as a veteran pitching addition last week, so it isn’t all too big of a surprise to see his name mentioned here. Also, it seems the Jays are checking in with literally everyone so this might not mean anything.
Anyways, J.A. Happ, Round Three? Why not, I guess?
This obviously wouldn’t be the top-of-the-rotation upgrade we’re all hoping for, but Happ is still a fairly …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays add Gabriel Moreno, Riley Adams, Josh Palacios, Otto Lopez, and Ty Tice to 40-man roster

Friday was the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft in early-December.

The Blue Jays had 35 players on their 40-man roster, and they used all five open spots to add prospects in order to protect them from being exposed in the Rule 5 Draft…

#BlueJays add five players to their 40-man:• Riley Adams, C• Gabriel Moreno, C• Josh Palacios, OF• Otto Lopez, IF• Ty Tice, RHP
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 20, 2020

I wrote yesterday that Gabriel Moreno was an automatic because he’s one of the organization’s most highly-regarded prospects and Riley Adams also seemed like a very likely add because he’s near MLB-ready. But I also figured that the Blue Jays would only add three players, opting to leave a couple of 40-man roster spots open for free agents.
Instead, they added outfielder Josh Palacios, who was on the team’s 40-man playoff pool this year, young infielder Otto Lopez, who could have ended up in a similar situation to that of Elvis Luciano we had a couple of years ago, and Ty Tice, a reliever who has put up very good numbers in the upper minors.
My logic for the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

High-impact players not named Francisco Lindor that the Blue Jays could acquire

We know the Blue Jays are looking to add a “super high impact player” this off-season and we know Cleveland is going to trade star shortstop Francisco Lindor. On paper, it’s a perfect match. Lindor is an impact player on both sides of the ball, the Blue Jays front office knows him very well from their time in Cleveland and Rogers has the money to give Lindor the massive contract extension he’s looking for. 

As great as it would be to get Lindor, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. You need other options in case something falls through. So here are other high-impact players the Blue Jays could target this off-season.
Free Agents  
Trevor Bauer
The National League Cy Young award winner is coming off of a remarkable season in which he had a 1.73 ERA and 2.5 WAR in 73.0 innings. He struck out 36% of batters he faced and walked just 6.1%. He’s a high strikeout arm having posted double-digit strikeouts per nine in each of the last four seasons. He’s also been durable having made at least 25 starts and throwing 150.0 innings every season from 2014-19.
As with Lindor, there is the obvious Cleveland connection. …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Daily Duce: FanGraphs’ ZiPS projections, Scott Boras on the Blue Jays off-season, and more!

Daily?!?!?!

A few weeks ago, FanGraphs released its Steamer projections, which featured a whole bunch of numbers to get optimistic about when it comes to the Blue Jays. Earlier this week, FanGraphs dropped more numbers, as Dan Szymborsk’s ZiPS projections came out.
Here’s what ZiPS is saying about the 2021 Blue Jays…

For those who don’t know, ZiPS uses statistics from the past four seasons (with more recent seasons being weighted heavier) coupled with things like ageing trends and injuries in order to project what a player’s statistics are going to look like. ZiPS, like Steamer, isn’t an exact science, but it’s widely regarded as one of the most accurate predictors in the industry.
Anyways! ZiPS, much like Steamer, is excited about the 2021 Blue Jays.
It’s projecting that the team will have 11 (!!!) players produce an OPS+ of 100 or greater. ZiPS is really into both Teoscar Hernandez (121 OPS+) and Rowdy Tellez’s (119 OPS+) breakout showings from 2020 but it isn’t as excited about Vlad Jr. as Steamer was. Still, the 124 OPS+ ZiPS projects for Vlad would be a welcomed showing. ZiPS is also probably the only place you’ll find Derek Fisher optimism. It says …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Taking a look at the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster decisions

It’s going to be a Transaction Friday.

Tomorrow (Nov. 20) is the deadline for Major League Baseball teams to add players to their 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place in early-December.
The Blue Jays aren’t really facing a difficult roster crunch this year but there will be some interesting decisions ahead. There are a few decent prospects who might not be that far from being big-league ready who could be snagged but the team is also planning to make a handful of additions in free agency this winter.
Remember, a thing to consider with the Rule 5 Draft is that you’d rather leave a prospect off the 40-man and test your luck with having them selected by another team than you would designating them for assignment later in the off-season to make room for a free agent.
For example, a couple of years ago, the Jays lost Travis Bergen and Jordan Romano in the Rule 5 Draft but ended up getting both players back because the teams that selected them didn’t want to keep them on the active roster all season. Had the Jays added them to the 40-man and DFA’d them at …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation