Luis Castillo is someone worth going all-in on via trade

As the off-season begins, so does the rumour mill across the major leagues, which may suggest a potential blockbuster trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds could be on the horizon in the coming months.

Starting with the Reds, who finished third in the National League Central Division this past season, they’re facing financial restrictions this winter and will be looking to significantly reduce their payroll prior to the 2022 campaign. Wasting no time addressing this difficult situation, their franchise has already parted ways with expendable pieces such as Wade Miley and Tucker Barnhart, freeing up $17.75 million.
Unfortunately for their fanbase, this recent purge will likely extend beyond those two players and could ultimately include some of the club’s talented starting pitchers, most notably, Luis Castillo. While the 28-year-old has reportedly been made available in previous off-seasons, this might finally be the one where he’s dealt to a playoff contender.

Trade market news: #Reds RHP Luis Castillo, who had a 2.73 ERA from June 1 onward, already is drawing interest from teams across @MLB. The Reds are willing to engage in talks on the 28-year-old, who will be eligible for free agency after ‘23. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 8, 2021



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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

What to expect from the Toronto Marlies this season

The Toronto Marlies’ season begins this Saturday, and questions remain about their starting lineup.
The top-end of their lineup looks pretty set with players like Josh Ho-Sang, Nicholas Robertson, and Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, likely playing a lot of minutes.
However, there are also a few players who’ve arrived via the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last few days in Kurtis Gabriel, Kirill Semyonov, and Alex Biega. Each of those guys will likely challenge for a spot in the top-six too.
What’s most intriguing about this season is that it’s still mostly about development.
“It’s still development.” Marlies head coach, Greg Moore, said on Friday afternoon. “At this level, we still need to win games, we need to be competitive. Hopefully within our model and taking care of our processes each day and how we’re getting better and how we’re developing, the results will take care of themselves.“
A lot of the American Hockey League is about development, especially right now. Last season, the Leafs organization was able to have Robertson at that level. Without COVID-19, that wouldn’t be possible at the AHL level.
And now, during this season, post-COVID, we could see a line …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 sets of expectations for 3 young players in 2021

Toronto Raptors: 3 sets of expectations for 3 young players in 2021

A new era of Toronto Raptors basketball begins with a new generation of potential stars competing for roster spots and minutes. The Raptors’ latest roster edition will begin training camp ahead of the coming season in less than a week on September 28. The most obvious subtraction from the team will be the lack of […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 sets of expectations for 3 young players in 2021 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

A Who’s Who of 2021 NCAA Free Agency

Every year the NCAA season begins to wind down and the players who have earned some NHL attention begin to have their names bubble to the surface. Not every player that garners interest signs a contract and many never result in much more than quality AHL depth but the NCAA market always seems to be a hotly contested one. This season’s crop of college free agents may face some barriers because of the COVID-19 pandemic as teams are strapped for cash and have been hesitant to spend in some cases. This could give teams like the Leafs, Rangers, and Bruins a bit more of an advantage as they are not held to the same monetary restrictions as others.
The drop, in general, is fairly average in terms of talent and there may not be a Tyler Bozak but you could get a Zach Whitecloud or a Zach Aston-Reese from this group. Bottom of the roster players need to be contributors and they need to be on good, cheap deals. NCAA free agents are a good way to give yourself extra options to fill those roles with cheap talent. If they don’t work out, the only asset that has …

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Author: Tony Ferrari / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Free agency rumors surrounding Serge Ibaka

Toronto Raptors: Free agency rumors surrounding Serge Ibaka

Free agency begins in a couple of days for the Toronto Raptors and the NBA. The Raptors have some high profile free-agent decisions to make, and Serge Ibaka is one of them while rumors abound about his status. The Toronto Raptors 2020 off-season choices may be the most consequential decisions the franchise has made in […]
Toronto Raptors: Free agency rumors surrounding Serge Ibaka – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

On Pitching Prospect Depth

As the dust begins to settle from the house-clearing trade deadline deals, it fell of course to Ross Atkins to explain, justify, defend, and expand upon his rational for the deals he made. The most prominent theme, apart from how much the team apparently loves the potential of CF Derek Fisher, is their obsession with building out pitching prospect depth and how these moves fit into that. For all the criticism from the peanut gallery, it’s a fair concern.  The most salient feature of pitching prospects as a group is an incredibly high attrition rate.  Consider these highly regarded pitcher prospects heading into the 2011 season:
Drew Hutchinson, Nestor Molina, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Chad Jenkins, Asher Wojceichowski, Sean Nolin – all ranked as top 30 prospects that spring.  Want to roll with a five man rotation from that crew in any year over the last 3-4 seasons?
So it is both true that you need a LOT of guys with MLB potential and that on any list, most if not all of them will fail to live up to anything close to their ceiling. The goal then is to have enough that even if 3/4 fail …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs re-sign Michael Hutchinson to one-year deal

Before the frenzy of free agency begins on Monday, the Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed one of their acquisitions last season. Retaining the services of goaltender Michael Hutchinson for another season.

#Leafs have extended G Michael Hutchinson to a 1 Year / 1-way contract at $700,000. Hutchinson was set to become a UFA on July 1.https://t.co/arvzbjzFEr pic.twitter.com/qQuTU9vZTr
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 28, 2019

Per Cap Friendly, the Leafs have re-signed the 29-year-old netminder for one more year, on a one-way NHL contract at the price of $700,000 — the newly-established minimum.
Acquired mid-season from the Florida Panthers while the Leafs were facing a goaltending crisis at the price of just a fifth-round pick, he quickly established at least some sense of goalie depth.
While he only played a total of five games in the NHL with the Leafs — posting a .914 save percentage — Hutchinson mainly played with the Marlies. A total of 23 appearances in the regular season, he was able to keep. .910 save percentage, while also play in two playoff games.
With this signing, the Leafs have appeared to lock-up their backup position, meaning that Garret Sparks is most likely on his way out. There have been rumours spreading that Dubas and …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation

Richard Ureña optioned to make room on the 25-man roster for Clay Buchholz

Th Clay Buchholz era begins tomorrow. In order to make room to officially add the veteran starter to the roster, the Blue Jays have reportedly optioned infielder Richard Ureña to Triple-A Buffalo.

#BlueJays optioning INF Richard Urena to AAA to make room for Clay Buchholz tomorrow.
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) April 13, 2019

This is a little odd given the fact Ureña was actually hitting. He has a .350/.381/.500 slash line over 23 plate appearances in seven games playing second, third, and short. I mean, it’s a ridiculously small sample size, but Ureña has been doing well at the plate thus far.
The logic here is likely Ureña will benefit more from playing every day in Buffalo while the Jays give newly-acquired Alan Hansen a serious look as the team’s utility infielder. With Hansen on the roster, it was harder to find reps for Ureña.
If Hansen sucks ass and Ureña continues to hit in Triple-A, I’m sure the latter will come back up eventually.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation