Anthony Alford has been designated for assignment

Here’s something that wasn’t expected.

After beating the Phillies in the first half of Thursday’s doubleheader, the Blue Jays have designated Anthony Alford for assignment ahead of the second game. The move, of course, opens up room on Toronto’s active roster for Trent Thornton, who’s starting the nightcap, to be activated from the 10-day Injured List.
Once one of Toronto’s top prospects, Alford simply wasn’t ever able to figure things out at the plate. This season, in limited action, he’s managed three hits (one homer) over 16 plate appearances, striking out seven times and not taking a single walk.
It seems the organization figured that, at 26 years old, Alford just wasn’t going to pull it together. But, the somewhat strange thing here is that he never really got an extended look at the Major League level, even in 2019 when the team was fully in rebuild mode.
Since making his debut in 2017, Alford has only had 75 plate appearances in the big-leagues. Of course, he didn’t exactly command more opportunities, as he slashed a .155/.200/.245 line over that time.
Given the fact teams have …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: The Leafs scare me more than the Blue Jackets

So last week I went all in on the Leafs beating the Blue Jackets in their upcoming qualifying series. And I still am. While the Blue Jackets have the advantage defensively, I think a lot of that relies on an extremely effective system put in place by John Tortorella to make up for the losses of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, something that could take some time to get used to after nearly five months off.
And while the Leafs have a habit of not being able to perform in the playoffs, we haven’t seen how they’ll perform in a playoff situation under Sheldon Keefe, although they did have good performances against Florida and Tampa Bay right before the season was paused.
There are even some analytical models that have them as the heavy favourites in the series (although there are also plenty that have it as insanely close but the Leafs coming out on top):

2020 NHL qualifying round preview: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets
On paper this shouldn’t be close. But we saw what the Blue Jackets did last year and they pose a similar stylistic problem to a skilled Leafs team.https://t.co/ …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes: Mid-season standings update, Justin Holl’s new contract, Ilya Mikheyev, and more

The Leafs ended the 2010s on a positive note, beating the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-1 on New Year’s Eve. Sheldon Keefe’s team will head into the 2020s sitting in second place in the Atlantic Division with the surging Tampa Bay Lightning right behind them.

After three months of play, the Atlantic is finally looking normal. The Boston Bruins sit at the top of the pack with a healthy lead in the standings while the Leafs and Lightning, the two other teams who were expected to form the division’s Big Three, are in second and third respectively. While the Panthers, and, to a lesser extent, the Sabres and Habs, are in the mix, it seems like the second half of the season will be a fight between Toronto and Tampa for home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
Tampa is three points back but they have three games in hand on the Leafs. The teams will also play each other three more times before the end of the season. Despite a slower-than-expected start, the Lightning are looking more like last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners as of late, as they’re …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation