The challenge with spending on free agent pitching

Free agent spending on pitchers is highly irresponsible.

Every offseason, teams who hope to contend will offer mid-level contracts to starting pitchers. These teams rightly buy into the notion that you can never have enough starting pitching. However, they’re going about it the wrong way.
As this tweet from Chris Black (absolute must-follow on Twitter if you don’t already) suggests, teams are incredibly hard pressed to sign a pitcher to a good contract when they do it in free agency…

By my count, 9 starters signed for between $10-16m avg this off-season, here’s how they’re doing.
Alternate text: Be wary of treading into this part of the free agent market.
Also shoutout to the rubes who were hating on me for saying passing on Matz was a good move. pic.twitter.com/dSThnFJds0
— Chris Black (@DownToBlack) June 30, 2022

NOTE: This post was written before Kikuchi’s start on Thursday. 
In this offseason ALONE, teams spent a grand total of about $317 million on pitchers who got mid-level AAVs this offseason, and they’ve gotten a 5.11 ERA return on that investment.
By comparison, all rookie arms have posted a combined 5.15 ERA in games they’ve started thus far this season. Think about that for a second. 82 rookies have started at least one game this season, the vast majority of which are making the league minimum of $700K. Assuming all of them are making league minimum (which isn’t true, plenty are on minor league contracts, but for argument’s sake), that means that the rookies are getting paid a combined $57M in 2022. So, rookies are making about 5.5 times less than the above pitchers, while posting equivalent results. Who are these rookies?
One is Connor Overton, who spent a majority of his 2021 in the Blue Jays organization, and has put up a solid 1.82 …

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Author: Tate Kispech / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: The shorthanded Rays roll into Toronto for a five-game set with the Blue Jays

As a result of the lockout pushing the start of the season back and Major League Baseball not wanting to go deeper into October and November, teams will be playing some scheduled double-headers in order to squeeze all 162 games into the calendar.

For the Blue Jays, this results in two different five-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. This one will feature a double-header on Saturday and then there’ll be another five-game set in mid-September with a double-header also on Saturday. Thankfully, both of these are being played in Toronto, as it would be unethical to make somebody play five games in four days at The Trop.
Anyways, the Rays roll into town hobbling through injuries, as catcher Mike Zunino, infielder Brandon Lowe, and centre fielder Kevin Kiermaier are on the 10-day Injured List while pitchers Tyler Glasnow, Pete Paribanks, Drew Rasmussen, J.P. Feyereisen, Nick Anderson, Andrew Kitteridge, and JT Chargois are all on the shelf.
The Rays will also be leaving a pair of arms, Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson, in Tampa because they aren’t vaccinated…

Relievers Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson will not be joining #Rays in Toronto for 5-game series due to the vaccination requirement. Will be placed on restricted list (no pay, service time), can be replaced on active roster. Several options under consideration at AAA Durham
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 29, 2022

Raley is a big loss to Tampa’s …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 91: Gearing up for a long weekend with the Tampa Bay Rays!

The Blue Jays nearly pulled off a sweep of the Boston Red Sox this week but some bullpen struggles resulted in a loss in the finale.

Pitching will be important this weekend as the Blue Jays are set to host the Tampa Bay Rays for five games. Tampa is a game-and-a-half behind Toronto in the standings and are rolling into town limping through multiple injuries.
On this episode of BJN Radio, we talked about the good and the bad from the Boston series and then looked ahead to the five-gamer with the Rays.
You can listen to the episode here… 
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

As you Could’ve Guessed, the Blue Jays are one of the Teams in on Andrew Benintendi

According to Jon Morosi, the Jays are one of the teams looking at the Kansas City Royals’ Andrew Benintendi.

This season, the left fielder is slashing .305/.370/.393 with three homers. He has a low K% of 13.8%, but will also take a walk as his BB% sits at 9.5%. He also has a 120 wRC+ and an fWAR of 1.4, well above replacement level.

The #BlueJays and #Royals are potential trade partners ahead of the Aug. 2 @MLB Trade Deadline. Toronto is among the teams with interest in Andrew Benintendi, and KC has appealing bullpen arms as well. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 29, 2022

Defensively, he’s an average defender, as he has a 2 Defensive Runs Saved and 1 Outs Above Average. However, in 2021, he posted a DRS of 7 (the best since his first full two seasons) and an Outs Above Average of 0, his third best season by that metric.
Defensively, he’s a slight upgrade over Loudres Gurriel Jr, and if the Jays were to trade for Benintendi, I could see the two of them platoon.
In fact, I find the two players rather comparable, as Gurriel is slashing .283/.336/.408 with four homers and a wRC+ of 111.
The reason why he’ll be a hot commodity come August 2nd is because Benintendi is in the final year of his contract. The soon to be 28-year-old makes $8,500,000 this season, before hitting the open market after the 2022 season.
Trading for a player with an expiring contract is a double edge sword. On one hand, depending on the prospects they give up, this trade could really hurt in a few years. On the other hand, Benintendi is a significant upgrade over Ramiel Tapia, and is arguably better than Gurriel Jr. 
Along with other additions, trading for Benintendi may be what solidifies the Jays as a contender.
Speaking of other additions, it’s been evident that the Jays need some bullpen help. Thankfully, Morosi notes that the Royals have some bullpen arms that could be of use. Chief among them is Scott Barlow, but you can read about him in Kansas’ addition of Meet the Sellers.
Other bullpen options include Dylan Coleman, Taylor Clarke, and Josh Staumont, all of which would c …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Former Blue Jay Russell Martin will be honoured on Canada Day

You won’t want to miss what’s happening at the Rogers Centre on Canada Day.
For the first time since 2019, the Toronto Blue Jays are scheduled to play in Canada on the country’s birthday, which hasn’t been possible over the last few seasons due to COVID-19 border restrictions. One of the ways the team plans to celebrate this occasion is by honouring one of their former players, Russell Martin.
After announcing his retirement last month, Martin is slated to throw out the first pitch prior to Friday’s contest versus the Tampa Bay Rays. This will undoubtedly take place in front of an energized, packed crowd at home.

#Bluejays announce that Canada Day plans will include honouring former catcher, Canadian Russell Martin, who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday.
— Rob Longley (@longleysunsport) June 29, 2022

The 39-year-old signed with the Blue Jays in 2014, agreeing to a five-year, $82-million contract. It was the largest free-agent signing in franchise history at the time. Now, it ranks third behind George Springer’s (six years, $125 million) and Kevin Gausman’s (five years, $110 million) deals.
Martin spent four seasons in Toronto from 2015-18, slashing .225/.336/.399 with 66 home runs and 211 RBIs. He was a part of the club’s playoff runs in 2015 and ’16, which resulted in consecutive ALCS appearances.
Overall, the four-time All-Star played 1,693 career games between four different franchises – including the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and Blue Jays. The 2007 NL Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award winner recorded 1,416 career hits, 191 home runs, 771 RBIs and a .248/.349/.397 slash line.
Defensively, M …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Trade Deadline Primer: Looking for teams that can give the Blue Jays pitching depth and make them more left-handed

Last year around this time the Blue Jays’ trade deadline needs were shaping up to a left-handed bat, relief pitching help, and arguably another starting pitcher.

Funny enough, those are the same things the team could stand to add as this year’s trade deadline approaches. But what teams could represent an opportunity for Blue Jays to address two, or maybe all three, needs in one fell swoop? Well, that is what we are going to investigate here. Hopefully, these names could coalesce in a package that provides the kind of impact more in line with the Adam Cimber-Corey Dickerson trade than the Rowdy Tellez deal.
For example, former Blue Jays assistant general manager, and current general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ben Cherington probably still has a good handle on the Blue Jays prospect pipeline. But the Pirates also have players that could fill all three of the Blue Jays’ needs, making them a good match for each other at the deadline. To start, David Bednar is a monster out the bullpen, using a blistering fastball to put up elite strikeout rates. When hitters do make contact against him they tend to do damage, but he profiles as the kind of force the Blue Jays could stand to add to lock up games la …

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Author: Noah Vande / Blue Jays Nation

Two-run ninth inning gives Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 comeback win

Well, that was eventful, now wasn’t it?

In terms of important series’ in the season, this one for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Boston Red Sox is about as important as they come.
And on Tuesday night, it took a full nine innings and every dang hit for the Toronto Blue Jays to come from behind after blowing a 4-1 lead to win. The comeback was in thanks to Jordan Romano shutting the door in the top of the ninth, Alejandro Kirk doing the thing, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walking it off.

H I M #WALKOFF pic.twitter.com/ST4MZzPble
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 29, 2022

While the win was ever-so-sweet, it also highlighted the ongoing issues the Jays have had with their bullpen this season. Trent Thornton and Tim Mayza, who combined for 1.1 IP, allowed three earned runs after the Jays took a 4-1 lead.
The Jays got a good start out of Ross Stripling who went 5.0 innings allowing two earn runs while fanning three batters but uh… things didn’t go too great from there. Toronto put Adam Cimber into the game who went one inning allowing just one hit, which was a good sign.
Charlie Montoyo went with Trent Thornton to open the eighth and uh, it didn’t go great. He walked Franchy Cordero, then forced Christian Arroyo into a ground out taking the former off the field. The lineup flipped back to the top and Red Sox lead-off man Rob Refsnyder juiced a 425-footer over the wall.
After 0.2 IP, Tim Mayza came into the game allowing a single to Rafael Devers, before striking out J.D. Martinez. But in the top of the eighth, he allowed an RBI single against Christian Vazquez extending Boston’s lead to 5-4. Matt Gage came in and closed out the inning setting up a tense ninth.
Jordan Romano did his thing in the top of the inning, and in th …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Two-run ninth inning gives Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 comeback win

Well, that was eventful, now wasn’t it?

In terms of important series’ in the season, this one for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Boston Red Sox is about as important as they come.
And on Tuesday night, it took a full nine innings and every dang hit for the Toronto Blue Jays to come from behind after blowing a 4-1 lead to win. The comeback was in thanks to Jordan Romano shutting the door in the top of the ninth, Alejandro Kirk doing the thing, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walking it off.

H I M #WALKOFF pic.twitter.com/ST4MZzPble
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 29, 2022

While the win was ever-so-sweet, it also highlighted the ongoing issues the Jays have had with their bullpen this season. Trent Thornton and Tim Mayza, who combined for 1.1 IP, allowed three earned runs after the Jays took a 4-1 lead.
The Jays got a good start out of Ross Stripling who went 5.0 innings allowing two earn runs while fanning three batters but uh… things didn’t go too great from there. Toronto put Adam Cimber into the game who went one inning allowing just one hit, which was a good sign.
Charlie Montoyo went with Trent Thornton to open the eighth and uh, it didn’t go great. He walked Franchy Cordero, then forced Christian Arroyo into a ground out taking the former off the field. The lineup flipped back to the top and Red Sox lead-off man Rob Refsnyder juiced a 425-footer over the wall.
After 0.2 IP, Tim Mayza came into the game allowing a single to Rafael Devers, before striking out J.D. Martinez. But in the top of the eighth, he allowed an RBI single against Christian Vazquez extending Boston’s lead to 5-4. Matt Gage came in and closed out the inning setting up a tense ninth.
Jordan Romano did his thing in the top of the inning, and in th …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Nate Pearson will be shut down for three-four weeks due to lat strain

Nate Pearson simply just can’t stay healthy.
The Toronto Blue Jays pitcher has encountered another tough injury break as he’s being shut down for three-four weeks while he recovers from a right lat strain. He’ll be re-evaluated afterwards to determine if he can resume baseball activities.

Nate Pearson (right lat strain) is being shut down 3-4 weeks and will be re-evaluated then to resume playing catch, Blue Jays say.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) June 28, 2022

 
Pearson, 25, has dealt with several injuries throughout his young professional career. The right-hander was sidelined during spring training after contracting mono, which delayed the start of his 2022 season.
His latest injury occurred while participating in his rehab assignment at triple-A Buffalo. Pearson departed the game on June 19 after facing just one batter. He’ll now be sidelined through at least mid-July if not beyond then.
Last season, the 6’6″ hurler posted a 4.20 ERA and a 3.50 xERA through 15.0 innings in 12 appearances. He struck out 20 batters and walked 12.
On a roster-related note, reliever Sergio Romo has joined the team in Toronto and is expected to undergo a physical Tuesday night. If all goes well, his contract will likely become official on Wednesday.

Sergio Romo will go through his physical tonight with the #BlueJays.
The signing is expected to become official tomorrow.
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) June 28, 2022

The Blue Jays currently sit third in the American League East Division with a 41-32 record, positioning them with the second wild-card seed. The other two p …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Injuries, inconsistencies are severly testing Blue Jays’ bullpen as trade deadline nears

Like most clubs, the Toronto Blue Jays have relied heavily on their bullpen throughout the first half of the 2022 season and while that’s resulted in several one-run victories, it’s also led to a very taxing workload, particularly as of late.

When your starting rotation pitches deep into games, more often than not, your bullpen will be well-rested when called upon to record the last few outs. That was the case for the Blue Jays early on, especially when starters Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah took the mound. And Yusei Kikuchi for a brief time, too.
Lately, however, Toronto’s starting rotation has largely struggled to cover many innings as José Berríos and others have failed to provide length. Currently, their starters are tied for the 11th-fewest innings pitched (125.1) among all 30 teams in June, according to FanGraphs. Not to mention, they also rank 17th in ERA (4.45) and OPP AVG (.259). That’s less than ideal.
Add in the season-ending injury to Hyun Jin Ryu, forcing Ross Stripling out of his multi-inning role and back into the rotation before he could be fully stretched out, and this results in an unsustainable workload for the bullpen. And the cracks are starting to show.
This month, the Blue Jays’ bullpen has been one of the most overworked units in the majors, as they’ve faced the fourth-most batters (427) and have logged the fifth-most innings pitched (98.1). As you can imagine, covering all these innings hasn’t been a recipe for success. In total, they’ve posted the second-worst OPP AVG (.274), the fifth-highest ERA (4.94) and the ninth-lowest left-on-base percentage (68.7 per cent).


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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation