Blue Jays’ payroll flexibity could be utilized as leverage at trade deadline

Nearing the midway point of the season, it’s almost time to start thinking about the upcoming trade deadline, which falls on Aug. 2 this year. For the Toronto Blue Jays, who’ll surely be looking to upgrade their roster, there are a few different options they could use as trade chips.
Of course, the most obvious route would be to utilize the organization’s talented farm system to help improve the big-league club. Not every prospect would be available, obviously, especially not Gabriel Moreno or Orelvis Martinez. Starter Ricky Tiedemann has now likely emerged into that category, as well.
Another resource the front office could turn to is the franchise’s payroll flexibility. Entering the 2022 season, Toronto featured a CBT payroll of approximately $190.2 million, ranking 11th-highest in the majors. But there still might be some additional room for spending if ownership agrees to increase the payroll slightly north of $200 million.
It’s unlikely the team’s finances would reach the first luxury tax threshold of $230 million. And they probably don’t need to spend that much, anyway. Still, management could potentially reduce its acquisition costs at the trade deadline if they acquire expiring high-priced contracts along with its primary targets.
One franchise that’s expected to sell off its assets this summer is the Colorado Rockies, who currently sit last in the NL West with a 30-37 record. While the Rockies ha …

Read More

Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Ross Stripling has done everything and more this season

For almost all 30 MLB franchises, every season usually consists of pleasant surprises and for the Toronto Blue Jays, pitcher Ross Stripling has been exactly that in 2022.
Stripling, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers during the shortened 2020 campaign, has played a crucial role on the Blue Jays’ roster thus far. The 32-year-old entered the season as a multi-inning reliever, however, his flexibility has allowed him to do far more than just that.
Out of the gate, the veteran righty made his first two appearances from out of the bullpen, although he quickly shifted to the starting rotation as the team wanted to provide its regulars an extra day of rest following a shortened spring. But his stay lasted far longer than originally expected. Once Hyun Jin Ryu landed on the injured list with forearm inflammation, Stripling was needed to remain as a starter.
With Ryu ultimately sidelined for a month, Stripling temporarily took over his spot in the rotation, making five starts during that span. In total, he compiled 21.0 innings and performed to a respectable 4.29 ERA, 2.95 FIP, .267 OPP AVG, 20.5 per cent strikeout rate and a 2.3 per cent walk rate.
Then, when Toronto activated Ryu off the IL on May 14, Stripling was …

Read More

Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs did make progress, but it was still not good enough

It has been almost a week since it happened and it sometimes doesn’t feel real that the same outcome occurred yet again.
The Leafs have now played in 10 games with a chance to close out a playoff series and have failed to do just that. They have also played in five consecutive winner-take-all games and have lost all of them, becoming the first team to do so in the history of the NHL/MLB/NBA. The odds of this occurring are so rare (0.0036%) that they were more likely to accidentally win a series than lose five straight in this manner.
Being 18 years from their last series win, we are left with questions as to what went wrong and why the best Leafs team on paper couldn’t finish the job. Compared to last year, the stars were not the reason why this series was lost. This is especially true in Game 7 as all of the core four pieces played excellent hockey and could only get one goal past Andrei Vasilevskiy (it should have been two but that’s a whole other story).
After the Leafs blew a 3-1 series lead to the Canadiens in an embarrassing fashion, I wrote about the need for the Leafs to make a big change because whatever it was that they were doing wasn’t going to cut it if they were to take the next step in their evolution. While we are sitting here waiting for the Leafs to win their first postseason series since 2004, there are both reasons to feel optimistic about their future and frustrated that nothing has changed. It’s a much better outcome than how things went a season prior which is what led us to this …

Read More

Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Scottie Barnes’ standout perimeter defense has boosted Raptors

Scottie Barnes’ standout perimeter defense has boosted Raptors

The Toronto Raptors were almost eliminated this weekend. Trailing a divisional rival in the Philadelphia 76ers 3-0, Toronto won town straight after the return of rookie sensation and Rookie of the Year winner Scottie Barnes. This win came without Fred VanVleet, who sat out due to an injury Barnes, returning after a two-game hiatus after Joel […]
Scottie Barnes’ standout perimeter defense has boosted Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Who do you want the Maple Leafs to face in the first round?

It’s almost time for the playoffs which means the fun of guessing who the Maple Leafs will play in the first round of the post-season.
As it currently stands with Florida taking the Atlantic Division into their own hands, Toronto will likely be put up against the Boston Bruins or the Tampa Bay Lightning. Fun, right?
The more the season goes on, the higher the chance it seems that the Maple Leafs will take on the defending Stanley Cup champions. However, there’s still a chance they can still face their (believed to be) kryptonite.
With all of that being said, we put the TLN writers to the test and asked: Who would you like the Leafs to face in the first round of the playoffs?
Ryan Hobart:
For me it’s definitely the Bruins. I know that the Lightning have been pretty quiet this season, even with Kucherov mostly healthy. It’s probably a lot harder to put yourself in top mental shape for the regular season coming off of two Cup wins. I think they’re going to turn the jets on when the playoffs start and they can go for that three …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Free agent departures: Zach Hyman sets career-high, Zach Bogosian returns from injury

The NHL regular season is almost coming to an end as the month of March just finished last night and we hockey fans get set to look forward to the month of April as some teams get set to play some important games down the stretch for their playoff positions, and even playoff hopes. With that said, it’s been another month on the schedule for some former Maple Leafs to play with their new teams, so let’s take a look at how they did.

1. Zach Hyman – EDM – 29 years old – LW/RW
March 2022 stats: 15 GP – 3 G – 7 A – 10 PTS – 20:11 TOI
2021-22 stats: 62 GP – 22 G – 23 A – 45 PTS – 19:33 TOI
Contract: 7 years x $5.5M 
When Zach Hyman left the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season, Leaf fans were sad, it’s no secret. However, the addition of Michael Bunting and the type of season he is currently having for Toronto, it’s something to cherish as fans, but let’s not take away the accomplishment from Hyman this season as he set a new career-high in both goals (22) and points (45) while being just two assists shy from tying his career-high in that department with 25.
It’s been an incredible y …

Read More

Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Armoni Brooks has earned 2022-23 contract with Raptors

Armoni Brooks has earned 2022-23 contract with Raptors

The Toronto Raptors found it almost impossible to fill their final roster spot due to the presence of Goran Dragic on the roster. When he was traded away for Thad Young, the Raptors freed up enough financial wiggle room to make a 10-day signing in the form of Armoni Brooks. After a solid first season […]
Armoni Brooks has earned 2022-23 contract with Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Maple Leafs sign Curtis Douglas to future two-year entry-level contract

The Maple Leafs waited almost 24 hours after the trade deadline to sign six-foot-eight forward Curtis Douglas to a contract.

We’ve signed forward Curtis Douglas to a future two-year, entry-level contract.#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 22, 2022

It’s believed that the word ‘future’ means that the deal will begin in the 2022-23 season with the contract having an AAV of $837,500.
The 22-year-old has 27 points in 49 games with the Marlies this season and has been one of their most important players. Douglas has learnt to use his size to his advantage a lot more, which in return helps him stand out much more. He has also improved his skating a lot since joining the organization, and that’s just another tool he’ll continue to use to get better.
This is a great deal for both the Maple Leafs, who’ll need some size and toughness in the lineup, and Douglas, who’s grown up cheering for this team since he was a child.

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors preparing for unusual first reunion with Kyle Lowry

Raptors preparing for unusual first reunion with Kyle Lowry

For the first time in almost a decade, Kyle Lowry will play a game against the Toronto Raptors. Following an offseason departure to the Miami Heat, Lowry will make his first appearance against his old squad when he welcomes Toronto to South Beach on a long road trip. Even though Lowry won’t return to Toronto […]
Raptors preparing for unusual first reunion with Kyle Lowry – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

TLN Three Stars: Curse You, Hockey Gods!

Ryan Dzingel scored his first goal in almost two months by shooting a puck wide, it bouncing off the glass and directly back onto his stick, and then scoring immediately on it. That should probably tell you everything you need to know about this game.
I figured that even when you factored luck into it, there was no way that the Leafs would lose this game with how good they were and how bad the Coyotes were. But, it was a trap game on a silver platter, and it’s what we got.
It felt like the Leafs were the Harlem Globetrotters with how much they were dominating play and all the moves they were putting on, and Auston Matthews even got a goal to give us hope, but the Washington Generals came out with the win this time, putting an end to the Leafs six game point streak. Hopefully Krusty the Clown bet on them again this time.
Three Stars
Stars 1-39: Karel Vejmelka
The Coyotes had no business being in this game, but they were because Vejmelka passed on to the spiritual world and became a god tonight for them. He stopped 45 of 46 shots and despite the fact that the Leafs had a 66.32% CF% and 67.78% xGF% at 5v5, they come out of this with a loss.
40th Star …

Read More

Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation