Seven former Blue Jays are on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot

With this off-season trudging along at a glacial pace, we finally have something baseball-related to talk and argue about. The 2021 Hall of Fame ballot!

Here’s a look at the ballot, courtesy of the indispensable Hall of Fame vote tracker Ryan Thibodaux…

There are seven former Blue Jays on the ballot, three of whom are new additions this season. The new guys are Mark Buehrle, LaTroy Hawkins, and A.J. Burnett, while the returnees are Roger Clemens, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, and Jeff Kent.
Obviously, none of these players would be wearing Blue Jays caps if they were to get inshrined in Cooperstown but it’s an interesting discussion regardless.
I imagine that Clemens will eventually get in as the world sort of gets over being weirdly mad about the steroid era. Rocket Roger got 61 percent of votes last year, just 14 percent shy of making the cut. This is his ninth year on the ballot so it either happens this year or in 2022 or he’ll have to get in via the Veterans Committee.
Vizquel is another one who’s going to get eventually mostly due to his longevity and the fact he won 11 gold gloves. Kent has been passed …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays patch holes with a trade deadline reminiscent of moves made in 2016

Chugging along with a playoff berth well within sight, the Blue Jays were one of the most active teams ahead of this year’s trade deadline.

They approached Monday’s deadline with two fairly glaring needs — starting pitching depth and a veteran middle infielder — and both holes got patched up. The team added Daniel Vogelbach and Taijuan Walker in two separate deals with the Seattle Mariners and then they added Robbie Ray, Ross Stripling, and Jonathan Villar.
A key to this year’s deadline was also not selling the farm in order to make these improvements. When it was all said and done, Ross Atkins noted that he was walking the tightrope of improving the team for this year’s run while also not mortgaging too much of the future.
“We had two main goals,” Atkins said on a Zoom call with reporters Monday evening. “One eye on now and one eye on the future and making sure we balance that. And we feel like we balance the future by not parting ways with our upper-echelon prospects and we balance the present by bolstering our major-league roster.
“There were other …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs change up the lines for their last scrimmage

The Leafs, along with the other 11 Eastern Conference teams, will soon be heading into the bubble with the play-in round near. For their final scrimmage before the move, they made some adjustments to their scrimmage lines.

Team White:Nylander-Matthews-HymanEngvall-Kerfoot-KapanenAgostino-Brooks-Malgin
44-8323-9448-32
31
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) July 23, 2020

Given that Team Matthews was extremely stacked for the first few scrimmage games, it makes sense why the lines were balanced out for the last tune-up. Even still, there are a few lines here that look intriguing.
It’s not the first time they have been paired at camp, but the Nylander-Matthews-Hyman line gets back together. The three have shown chemistry over the last few seasons so it makes sense why Sheldon Keefe went back with this trio.
John Tavares and Mitch Marner are reunited, with Ilya Mikheyev joining them to make a solid line. Tavares and Marner meshed well together during the 2018-19 campaign and Mikheyev was having a fine rookie season before an injury sidelined him for months.
Pierre Engvall returns to the projected third-line alongside Alexander Kerfoot and Kasperi Kapanen. Meanwhile, Nick Robertson now slots in with Jason Spezza and Kyle Clifford. While Robertson has made great improvements …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

A deeper look at the Blue Jays’ 60-man roster and which prospects might actually make their way into a game

The Blue Jays, along with all of the other teams, announced their 60-man roster yesterday.

This roster represents the pool of players who can be selected to be on the team’s 30-man active roster at the start of the season, who can be called up to the active roster during the season, who can be carried around on the team’s three-player taxi quad, which prospects can participate in the organization’s off-site minor-league training camp (in Buffalo, for the Jays), and who can be traded at any point before the Aug. 31 deadline.
Levi Weaver, a reporter covering the Texas Rangers, received clarification on the logistics of roster movement this season from Rangers general manager, Jon Daniels.
A non-40-man roster player can only be removed from the 60-man roster if they’re released. A 40-man-roster player can be removed from the 60-man roster, but they would be subject to waivers first. There’s a special Injured List for players who have COVID-19 in which case that player wouldn’t count against the 60-man roster while they’re sick.
But, when that player returns, anybody added to the 60-man roster …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

MLB’s newest plan involves realigning the league to three divisions of 10 teams

According to USA Today, MLB is chugging along with a plan that would get the season rolling in June, see teams playing in their home ballparks, and involve a realignment to three divisions with 10 teams. OK!

The three new divisions would basically become from shoving the two leagues together into three 10-team divisions. The only change is that the Pirates, a Central Division team, end up in the East and the Braves, an East Division team, end up in the Central.
EAST

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins

WEST

Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners

CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers

This plan would also reportedly kill the American and National Leagues for the year, so teams would, presumably, just play the other nine teams that are close to them geographically. The odd thing would be how the playoffs would go down. You have an odd …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Don’t expect anything major, but the Blue Jays probably aren’t done yet

We’re trudging along through the worst month of the off-season with roughly a month until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. The soap opera known as the Houston Astros can’t keep entertaining us for the next month, I don’t think, so, can we expect any more exciting transactions between now and mid-February?

Let us know, Ross.
“We’re extremely open to something of significant impact,” Atkins said as the organization introduced free agent Shun Yamaguchi on Wednesday. “But that’s more than likely only going to occur via trade, but the likelihood of that occurring is still very hard to say. Executing trades of significant impact is very difficult to do.
“That opening could be anywhere, but centre field is where everyone’s pointing for understandable reasons.
“We feel very good about where we are as an organization. This off-season’s just a snapshot in our progression towards becoming a championship team. We’ve accomplished our goals for the off-season, but it’s just never-ending.”
This is pretty standard Atkins-speak and it should be what we’ve come to expect …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs are reportedly interested in Ilya Mikheyev

The playoffs are truckin’ along but apparently Kyle Dubas is still putting in work…

Hearing #TMLtalk is among the few remaining teams closing in on Ilya Mikheyev, 24yo speedy versatile RW. No agreement in place yet
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) April 23, 2019
 

Accurate. Leafs have been chasing this guy for awhile. As @IgorEronko has previously reported, Vegas in the mix and I believe, Chicago as well. Majority of NHL teams have shown interest. Decision this weekend. https://t.co/RwqAOwWogl
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 23, 2019
So that’s a thing, and it looks promising for the Leafs, especially since Toronto has a much more favourable reputation when it comes to bringing over KHLers than Vegas does, and is in a much more competitive position than the Blackhawks are.
We know Dubas has made a couple of trips to Russia to both check in on Leafs draftees like Yegor Korshkov and to scout players like Mikheyev, and in what will be a cap crunched season next year, Mikheyev could be a nice and affordable replacement for which ever player draws the short straw and gets sent packing this summer.
Vitals

DoB
10/10/1994
Pos
RW
Ht
6’2
Wt
194 lb
Shoots
L
via eliteprospects.comMikheyev has played four …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation