News and Notes: Blue Jays don’t tender three players, looking at other team’s non-tenders, and more!

On Friday evening, the Jays announced that three players would not be offered a contract, while every other arbitration-eligible player was tendered.

Non-tending Bradley Zimmer and Raimel Tapia were expected, as they had been designated for assignment off the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 deadline. However, non-tendering Vinny Capra came as a shock in all honesty.
While Capra has very little major league experience, he slashed .283/.378/.403 with five homers in 222 plate appearances with the Buffalo Bisons. He also had as many walks (29) as strikeouts and finished 2022 with a 114 wRC+.

Vinny Capra freezes the left fielder with this nuke.#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) September 8, 2022

While the Jays will need to make cuts to the 40-man roster before signing players, I figured there were more obvious subtractions from the 40-man. No doubt Capra will bounce back quickly (he’s heading to Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League), and I reckon we’ll see him in the majors at some point.
There are 11 Blue Jays who’ll be receiving contracts from the team, they are listed below, along with their projections according to MLB Trade Rumors.:
RP Adam Cimber, $3.2 million
RP Trevor Richards, $1.5 million
RP Tim Mayza, $1.9 million
RP Trent Thornton, $1.1 million
RP Jordan Romano, $4.4 million
RP Erik Swanson, $1.4 million
C Danny Jansen, $3.7 million
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., $14.8 million
UTL Cavan Biggio, $2.6 million
SS Bo Bichette, $6.1 million
2B Santiago Espinal, $2.1 million
The two names that may be surprising are Trent Thornton and Trevor Richards. Let’s start with Richards.
Trevor Richards:
The 29-year-old had a 5.34 ERA and 4.07 FIP in 64 innings pitched in 2022. While he struggled with a high walk rate (12.5 BB%) like he never has in his career, his 29.2 K% was one of the highest on the Blue Jays with more than 15 innings pitched. Surprisingly, only Jeremy Beasley had a higher K% (29.7%) than Richards with for pitchers with 15+ …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Alek Manoah finished third in American League Cy Young voting

The American Cy Young award winner has been announced, and unfortunately, Alek Manoah didn’t win.

The 24-year-old Manoah had a fantastic season, registering a 2.24 ERA and 3.35 FIP in 196.2 innings pitched. While his K% dropped from 27.7% in 2021 to 22.9% in 2022, the Big Puma undoubtedly established himself as the Blue Jays ace.
For the next two seasons, the righty will make the league minimum, before his first year of arbitration after the 2024 season. Unless he is signed to a long-term deal beforehand (which is very possible), Manoah will become a free agent after the 2027 season.
Despite the excellent season, Manoah finished third in Cy Young voting, finishing with 13 votes for third place and seven votes for second. He also had 10 votes for fourth place but barely finished ahead of Shohei Ohtani.

I was a BBWAA voter for the AL Cy Young Award. My ballot:
1. Justin Verlander (HOU)2. Dylan Cease (CWS)3. Alek Manoah (TOR)4. Shohei Ohtani (LAA)5. Kevin Gausman (TOR)
Full results:
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) November 17, 2022

Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease finished in second place, while the Houston Astros’ Justin Verland finished in first.
Verlander won unanimously, taking all 30 first-place votes. Without any bias, it was well deserved as he had a 1.75 ERA and 2.49 FIP in 175 innings pitched with the eventual World Series winners. He also had a pretty impressive 27.8 K% and a 4.4 BB%, which is even more impressive considering that Verlander will turn 40 years old in February.
Per Astros beat reporter Brian McTaggart, the veteran pitcher is looking for a contract similar to Max Scherzer’s 3-year, $130 million deal. Scherzer, who is similar in age, signed that deal which carried an annual average of $43,333,333 with a player option for the 2024 season.
While …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Alejandro Kirk is the American League’s Silver Slugger at catcher

Alejandro Kirk has won his first piece of silverware.

It was announced Thursday evening that the 24-year-old catcher has won his first silver slugger at the catcher position. Kirk slashed .285/.372/.415 on the season with 14 homers. Kirk was also one of only six players this season who had a walk percentage (11.6%) higher than a strikeout percentage (10.7%).
As one of only five qualified catchers, Kirk’s 129 wRC+ led the position, beating the likes of J.T Realmuto, Will Smith, Sean Murphy, and MJ Melendez. 
The Blue Jay catcher beat out the likes of Sean Murphy (122 wRC+), Cal Raleigh (121 wRC+), Adley Rutschman (133 wRC+), Salvador Perez (108 wRC+), and Martín Maldonado (70 wRC+, seriously, why was he nominated?).
Had Rutschman had more plate appearances, it’s not impossible to believe he could have won the award. Regardless, Kirk is your 2022 Silver Slugger award winner for American League catchers.
He also should have been nominated for the Gold Glove for the position, but Trevino was always going to win that. Anyway, please don’t suggest that the team should Kirk, because as you can see, he may be literally the best catcher in the game right now.
Which other Jays were nominated, but failed to win?:
Three Jays infielders were nominated but didn’t win. Shortstop Bo Bichette (129 wRC+) lost out to Xander Bogaerts (134 wRC+). Third baseman Matt Chapman (117 wRC+) lost out to José Ramírez (139 wRC+), while first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (132 w …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays make a trade for Foster Griffin, a former 1st round pick and make other roster moves

A litany of roster moves were announced early Saturday morning, including a trade!

The Jays traded 20-year-old minor league pitcher Jonatan Bernal to the Kansas City Royals for 26-year-old pitcher Foster Griffin.
Pitching mainly for the Omaha Royals, Griffin has posted a 1.93 ERA and a 2.86 FIP in 28 innings pitched with the AAA ball club. His K/9 sits at 10.29 while his BB/9 is a rather impressive 1.93.
There’s very little Baseball Savant data on the 26-year-old lefty, but I can tell you what he throws and what his average velocity is. He throws a cutter at 89.3 mph, a four seamer at about 94 mph, a changeup at 85.1 mph and a curveball at 79.9 mph.
His velocity actually ticked up from 2020, where he his cutter for 86.2 mph and four seamer for 91.8 mph.
This season is his first season pitching out of the pen. However, Griffin’s pitch mix is an unusual one for a reliever. It’s to be seen if the Jays attempt to stretch him out again, as they only have two starting pitchers in Buffalo (Casey Lawrenece, Thomas Hatch). Below is a thread where he struck out the side, dating back to June 9th.

@Foster_Griffin strikeout thread from June 9th.#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) July 16 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs sign Calle Järnkrok to four-year, $2.1 million AAV contract

The Maple Leafs announced on Friday that the club has signed forward Calle Järnkrok to a four-year contract, carrying an annual cap hit of $2.1 million dollars. Järnkrok split last season between Seattle and Calgary, registering 12 goals and 18 assists in 66 games before adding another four points in 12 postseason contests for the Flames.

We’ve signed forward Calle Järnkrok to a four-year contract.#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 15, 2022

A native of Sweden, the soon-to-be 31-year-old Järnkrok has suited up in 574 regular season NHL games over nine seasons between Nashville, Seattle, and Calgary, tallying 106 goals to go along with 135 assists for his career. He is known more as a versatile player who can play down the middle or on the wing while providing solid defensive value.

Calle Jarnkrok, signed 4x$2.1M by TOR, is a versatile defensive third line forward who can score goals and draw penalties but otherwise possesses a very limited offensive skill-set. Takes very few penalties. #LeafsForever
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 15, 2022

Järnkrok isn’t a huge offense driver but has shown the ability to finish scoring chances, netting 15 or more goals four times in his career. He blends good speed with a quality release to be an effective secondary scoring option who can fill various roles up and down the lineup. While his greatest contributions will come on the defensive side of the puck, Järnkrok should inject a bit more scoring touch to the Leafs’ bottom-six forward group.

Well how do yah do, Calle
— NHL (@NHL) November 22, 2021

At first glance, Järnkrok looks like a great fit to replace some of what Ondřej Kaše provided to the club last season while playing alongside David Kämpf and shouldering difficult minutes against other teams’ best players. Järnkrok doesn’t carry the same kind of injury history as Kaše and as a result, provides a bit more certainty for the Leafs as they continue to build out their lineup.
With a four-year term, Järnkrok is locked in longer than any player on the Leafs’ roster aside from Morgan Rielly, whose eight-year extension kicks in this coming season.
Alex Kerfoot has just one year remaining on his current contract, and if the club decides to shop him around in an effort to clear additional salary cap spac …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Get to know every invite to Maple Leafs development camp

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally announced their development camp roster earlier today, and as per usual, there are a bunch of very intriguing invites.
Undrafted free agency is an excellent way to supplement your prospect pool when you don’t have many draft picks. While the Leafs did draft five times this year and they are close to the 50 contract limit, there are numerous prospects that would be worthwhile bets to be signed to an entry-level contract while they are eligible to do so.
Firstly, the invites have been separated into two groups: those in the CHL and those on the path to the NCAA.
Players in the CHL can sign as undrafted free agents, regardless of their age (as long as they have been eligible for an NHL draft), until the start of the new CHL season. This is how the Leafs signed Braeden Kressler last year, or how Philadelphia landed Philippe Myers and Egor Zamula in the past.
NCAA players, on the hand, don’t have it quite as easy. If they sign an NHL contract, they forego their NCAA eligibility. While we have seen …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation