Blue Jays sign 18 international free agents

On January 17th, the Toronto Blue Jays announced 18 (soon to be 21) new signings through international free agency. Their names are listed below…

Jonathan Bautista (Outfielder)
Kendry Chirinos (Third Baseman)
Aneudis Escanio (Shortstop)
Jose Fernandez (Shortstop)
Eninems Flores (Right Handed Pitcher)
Raudy Gomez (Right Handed Pitcher)
Ivan Gonzalez (Right Handed Pitcher)
Jorge Guerra (Right Handed Pitcher)
Jean Joseph (Center Fielder)
Ali Lucena (Outfielder)
Carlos Meza (Right Handed Pitcher)
Luis Meza (Catcher) 
Albert Millan (Catcher)
Fernando Perez (Right Handed Pitcher)
Omar Romero (Shortstop)
Railin Tejada (Outfielder)
Luis Torres (Left Handed Pitcher)
Carlos Vasquez (Catcher)
Recently, I wrote an article on Luis Meza, but despite the Blue Jays post announcing that there are 18 signings – there are actually more. According to Sportrac, the Jays have also signed catcher Frauk de la Cruz and shortstop Darlin de Leon.
According to reporter Francys Romero, the Blue Jays have also signed 16-year-old catcher Maikel Minoso. If that last name Minoso sounds familiar, that is because Maikel has relations to hall of famer Minnie Minoso.

Cuban C Maikel Miñoso (16) officially signs with the Toronto Blue Jays. He trained at Y.P. Academy and is a family of “Minnie” Miñoso.Bonus deal: $ 20,000.
— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) January 17, 2022

They are surely going to be more IFA signings in the future, so stay tuned!
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Six re-sign forward Natalie Marcuzzi for the remainder of Season 7

Today, the PHF’s Toronto Six announced that one of their forwards from Season 6, the NWHL bubble season, Natalie Marcuzzi:

Guess who’s back, back again
The Toronto Six are proud to announce the signing of forward Natalie Marcuzzi for the remainder of Season 7!
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) January 12, 2022

With 9 games remaining in the schedule, plus the 2 games (so far) that were postponed that may or may not get rescheduled, Marcuzzi joins an already deep and exciting forward group for Toronto.
Here’s what Natalie had to say about her re-upping, from Toronto’s announcement of the signing:
“I’m certainly super excited. I think Toronto and the Six both have a close spot in my heart, and we’re definitely a team that I think can compete, and is ready to win a championship. I’m excited to join the group. Obviously a great group of women, slightly different, but definitely a good core from last year, and also a phenomenal group of coaches all the way up to the ownership. I’m so happy to be back with the organization, playing and joining their mission to win that Isobel Cup.”
As the Six sit atop the PHF standings, adding Marcuzzi only strengthens their push for an Isobel Cup that felt within reach in their inaugural season last year, but ultimately fell out of their grasp.
“The most exciting thing about being back here [with the Six at Canlan Sports – York] is literally having the privilege of being back on the ice every week,” she said. “I think that really does mean a lot, just to be able to play everyday. I think the second most exciting thing that’s perhaps a result of being on the ice everyday is winning the Isobel Cup, so I’m really excited to have that opportunity and hopefully to succeed.”
Primarily playing in a 3rd line role last season, along with Breanne Wilson-Bennett and Mackenzie MacNeil, both who did not return for Season 7, Marcuzzi was able to get 2 points across the regular season and playoffs in 7 games played. Marcuzzi was one of the players who, as Season 6 went on into the playoffs, was unable to continue competing for reasons that are not known publicly. We also don’t know why Marcuzzi was only signed now, part-way through the season.
It’s possible that, with a full-time job RBC, her non-hockey career had to take precedence over hockey. That’s one of the unique wrinkles about the PHF, almost all of these women playing professional hockey …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Five Marlies players test positive for COVID-19, three games postponed

The AHL and Toronto Marlies have announced that their next three games will be postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.

News: Toronto Marlies games postponed through December 21st. Games affected include:
December 18 at Grand RapidsDecember 19 at Grand RapidsDecember 21 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Details >>
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) December 17, 2021

“Following subsequent testing, five players have tested positive for COVID-19.” Said the Marlies in a media release. “All players and staff are double vaccinated and are being closely monitored for symptoms while being tested daily. The team is following all protocols and its medical staff is working closely with Toronto Public Health to monitor the situation.”
Two games this weekend in Grand Rapids, as well as one next Tuesday in Toronto, have been postponed. There have been no make-up dates announced as of yet.
The Marlies have no scheduled games now until Boxing Day, where they play at Scotiabank Arena. At this point, expect that matchup to be up in the air too.
This comes after games throughout both the NHL and AHL have been postponed. Earlier today, reports came of the Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, and Calgary Flames all being shut down …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Steven Matz reportedly turned down a multi-year offer from the Blue Jays

The Blue Jays announced that they extended qualifying offers to both Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray on Sunday, which comes as no surprise given the seasons that they just had.

Toronto’s other free agent, Steven Matz, was a more difficult case.
Matz was acquired by the Blue Jays last winter after he put up a horrendous season (a 9.68 ERA over nine outings) with the New York Mets. Though he had a few rough patches, Matz was largely solid for the Blue Jays, putting up a 3.82 ERA over 29 starts.
Still, despite the solid season, the Blue Jays ultimately decided not to give Matz a qualifying offer, which would guarantee him an $18,400,000 salary in 2022 if he chose to accept it. While they didn’t want Matz on an expensive one-year deal, the Blue Jays did offer the lefty a multi-year deal, which he declined, according to Jon Heyman.
Matz will now be able to test the free-agent market without having a compensatory draft pick attached to him.

Jays recently made a multiyear offer to Steven Matz. He did not accept it so free agency awaits. Jays ultimately decided not to give Matz the $18.4M qualifying offer.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2021

Matz …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray received qualifying offers from the Blue Jays and Steven Matz didn’t


The Blue Jays announced on Sunday that both Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien have received qualifying offers. They can accept and return to Toronto on one-year deals worth $18.,400,000 or they can decline and hit the open market as free agents. Hmmmmm. I wonder what’ll happen here.
Robbie Ray had an excellent season, posting a 2.84 ERA and a FIP of 3.69 (xFIP of 3.36, due to his high HR/FB%). He finished with a K/9 of 11.54 and a BB/9 of 2.47. He’ll likely win the Cy Young. This came as no shock.
Assuming the CBA stays the same, if Ray signs elsewhere, the Jays would be entitled to a compensation pick.
Marcus Semien, another player coming off an excellent season, also received a qualifying offer. This comes as even less of a shock as he had one of the best seasons for a middle infielder. The likely Gold Glove winner and MVP vote-getter posted a slashline of .265/.334/.873 with 45 home runs, the most ever for a second baseman.
If both sign elsewhere, the Blue jays will receive two compensatory draft picks. 
Another note… Steven Matz did not receive a qualifying offer, so he’ll be able to move into free agency without …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs recall defenseman Kristiāns Rubīns from the Marlies

The Maple Leafs announced on Thursday morning that 23-year-old defenseman Kristiāns Rubīns has been recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. Through six games with the Marlies so far this season, he has registered a goal and two assists to match his totals in 22 games last season. Rubīns was recently selected as one of the first three players to the Latvian squad for the upcoming Olympics.

The Maple Leafs have recalled defenceman Kristiāns Rubīns from the Toronto Marlies (AHL)
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) November 4, 2021

Rubīns joins a Maple Leafs defensive unit that is in a state of flux. Justin Holl has been a healthy scratch for the last two games after forming a reliable shutdown pairing alongside Jake Muzzin in the last couple of seasons, TJ Brodie has taken his place alongside Muzzin, and Timothy Liljegren is beginning to show that he can be relied upon as a regular member of the top-six.
With all the movement on Toronto’s back end, Travis Dermott has been given a chance to play a larger role on a pairing with the recently extended Morgan Rielly but he was banged up in Tuesday’s victory over the …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The TLN Three Stars: We pretty well saw that coming, didn’t we?

After the Penguins announced that most of their players were missing, it seemed inevitable that our beloved Maple Leafs would lose this game. But to lose in such spectacular, disastrous fashion, I don’t think even the most pessimistic Leafs fan could have called that.
To lose by 6 goals was depressing, to say the least. It was a completely disheartening performance.
What a disaster.
3rd star: Michael Bunting I guess?
He looked alright on a play or two I think. There wasn’t really much to praise in this game, especially with the penalites late on into the game, but his grittiness and passion at least made him watchable in this tire fire.
2nd star: Do I have to? Maybe TJ Brodie?
He broke up a 2-on-1 that was pretty impressive. I think he played well overall. Not many others did.
1st star: Jason Spezza
Where would we be without Jason Spezza? The man who for whatever reason has tied his boat to this team, an impossibly heavy anchor, we should be eternally grateful. Scoring that goal in the 1st period was the only real bright spot in this game.
40th star: Kasperi Kapanen
Somehow, despite all of the madness …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Leafs make additional cuts as tougher roster decisions loom

The Leafs announced five fresh cuts after Tuesday night’s 6-2 preseason win over the Montreal Canadiens. The moves, coming on the heels of the announcement that Josh Ho-Sang had signed an AHL deal with the Toronto Marlies, push the Leafs closer to what their opening night roster will look like.

The following players have been assigned to the Toronto Marlies (AHL): F Semyon Der-ArguchintsevD Mac HollowellG Erik KällgrenD Kristiāns Rubīns
Nikita Gusev has been released from his PTO.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 6, 2021

None of these moves are all that surprising, and likely would have happened earlier today if the Leafs did not need warm bodies in their lineup for tonight’s preseason game. In other words, they were formalities.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev in particular had a strong Traverse City prospect tournament and NHL camp with his customary playmaking and stickhandling abilities on full display. But what was interesting to see was the incorporation of a shooting element that had been deemed missing from his game. Here’s SDA scoring tonight on a sweet bar-down wrister:

SDA scoring under pressure
*chefs kisses*
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 6, 2021

While neither Kristians Rubins nor Mac Hollowell …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs place Michael Hutchinson on waivers

It was announced on Tuesday that the Leafs have placed goaltender Michael Hutchinson on waivers. He is expected to be assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL if he goes unclaimed by another NHL team. The decision to waive Hutchinson sooner rather than later should provide the Leafs with time to explore other options ahead of the regular season if he does indeed get snatched up by another team.

Hutchinson (TOR) on waivers today
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 5, 2021

Hutchinson returned to the Leafs on a two-year deal last offseason after his first stint with the Leafs ended unceremoniously with a trade to Colorado. He enjoyed a bounceback season in 2020-21 while filling in for the injured Frederik Andersen and Jack Campell, recording a 2.42 GAA and a .919 SV% across eight games for the Leafs.
Given the injury histories of Campbell and offseason acquisition Petr Mrazek, as well as the lack of goaltenders with NHL experience below him on the depth chart, the Leafs are surely hoping to retain Hutchinson’s services as their third goaltender. If he clears, he is expected to share the Marlies’ crease with Erik Kallgren and Joseph Woll as he remains on standby for the big …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leo Rautins replaced by Alvin Williams on Raptors broadcasts

Leo Rautins replaced by Alvin Williams on Raptors broadcasts

The Toronto Raptors on Thursday announced their 2021-22 broadcast schedule, which includes Sportsnet and TSN each carrying 41 games. However, the biggest news around the 82-game broadcast schedule was not about the when or where, but the who, as familiar face Leo Rautins won’t be back on TV. While Rautins could be a bit of […]
Leo Rautins replaced by Alvin Williams on Raptors broadcasts – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Brian Swane / Raptors HQ