A new home on the horizon for the Blue Jays?

Christmas has come early for Toronto Blue Jays fans.
Most awoke this morning to the startling news of Andrew Willis of The Globe and Mail reporting the Blue Jays are planning to scrap the Rogers Centre and build a brand new ballpark for the team.
This is something many, many people have dreamed about for years, but considering the ideal location of the current stadium and the hundreds of million of dollars sunk into the Rogers Centre already, starting from scratch didn’t seem feasible.
Now it is, apparently! If this plan does in fact come to fruition, there are tonnes of working parts to figure out, but in the short term, this is incredibly promising for the Blue Jays. Many have been pining for a new ballpark for a long time, and now their prayers have been answered.
Keep in mind that Rogers Centre is the seventh-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball and one of the last stadiums built in the multi-use era. During its unveiling in 1989, the SkyDome aimed to be everything to everyone; from baseball fans, to football fans, to concerts and yes, even Star Trek screenings.
Now that the Argos have moved out and the Blue …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

The Rays are looking for catchers and the Blue Jays have a lot of them

On Friday, the Blue Jays added five players to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft, two of which were catchers, Gabe Moreno and Riley Adams.

With Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, and Alejandro Kirk already there, that gives the team five catchers on the 40-man roster, which is more than you’d generally like to have.
Elsewhere, according to Jim Bowden, the Tampa Bay Rays have apparently told other teams that their off-season priority is to add “catching, catching, and catching.”
The Rays, as we know, are loaded with all kinds of quality pitchers. The Blue Jays, as we know, need to add some pitchers this off-season.

I’m not really a math person, but this all adds up! It could make all kinds of sense for the Blue Jays to send a catcher over to Tampa Bay in exchange for a pitcher, solving the problem of the massive catching logjam on the 40-man while simultaneously filling another area of need.
Of course, if the Rays want to make a big upgrade behind the plate, they could go ahead and sign J.T. Realmuto, arguably the top free agent on the open market. But, thankfully, the Rays are cheap …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

J.A. Happ Round Three?

We all want the Blue Jays to make some pitching additions this off-season. Perhaps adding somebody from the New York Yankees? Maybe a left-handed starter?

Apparently, according to Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays have expressed interest in doing exactly that, though it isn’t the Yankee lefty you’re probably hoping for.
Nope, not James Paxton to satisfy your need for CanCon. The Blue Jays have shown interest in old friend J.A. Happ.

Sources: #BlueJays interested in free agent LHP J.A. Happ, who had two prior tenures with the club: 2012-2014 and 2016-2018. Happ, 38, ranked fourth in ERA+ this year among free-agent pitchers who threw at least 40 IP. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2020

Ben Nicholson-Smith and Arden Zwelling mentioned the possibility of the Jays circling back to Happ as a veteran pitching addition last week, so it isn’t all too big of a surprise to see his name mentioned here. Also, it seems the Jays are checking in with literally everyone so this might not mean anything.
Anyways, J.A. Happ, Round Three? Why not, I guess?
This obviously wouldn’t be the top-of-the-rotation upgrade we’re all hoping for, but Happ is still a fairly …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

High-impact players not named Francisco Lindor that the Blue Jays could acquire

We know the Blue Jays are looking to add a “super high impact player” this off-season and we know Cleveland is going to trade star shortstop Francisco Lindor. On paper, it’s a perfect match. Lindor is an impact player on both sides of the ball, the Blue Jays front office knows him very well from their time in Cleveland and Rogers has the money to give Lindor the massive contract extension he’s looking for. 

As great as it would be to get Lindor, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. You need other options in case something falls through. So here are other high-impact players the Blue Jays could target this off-season.
Free Agents  
Trevor Bauer
The National League Cy Young award winner is coming off of a remarkable season in which he had a 1.73 ERA and 2.5 WAR in 73.0 innings. He struck out 36% of batters he faced and walked just 6.1%. He’s a high strikeout arm having posted double-digit strikeouts per nine in each of the last four seasons. He’s also been durable having made at least 25 starts and throwing 150.0 innings every season from 2014-19.
As with Lindor, there is the obvious Cleveland connection. …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are apparently interested in Jake Odorizzi

I know, I know, another The Blue Jays are apparently interested in _______ update.

It’s getting exhausting to hear, but this one, in particular, is a little bit interesting.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Blue Jays are one of four teams who have expressed interest in signing free agent pitcher Jake Odorizzi. The other three teams are the San Fransisco Giants and the New York Mets (who we’ll see involved in every single rumour this off-season) and the Minnesota Twins, who are interested in re-signing him.
Odorizzi’s name is one we heard a bunch last winter. Apparently, the Blue Jays made him a multi-year deal offer but he opted to take the qualifying offer from the Twins and give free agency another chance without being bogged down by draft pick compensation.
How did that plan go? Not well!
Odorizzi’s 2020 season was an injury-riddled disaster. He suffered a back strain, a blister on his throwing hand, and a chest contusion after being struck by a line drive and ultimately ended up throwing just 13 2/3 inning.
Thankfully for Odorizzi, one of those are mostly just freak injuries and aren’t ones that are really going to scare a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Ross Atkins says the Blue Jays were “close on another deal” this week

The Blue Jays kicked off their off-season last weekend by inking Robbie Ray to a one-year deal.

According to general manager Ross Atkins, the team was also close to executing another deal shortly after that signing.

#BlueJays have been busy early. Signed Robbie Ray & per GM Ross Atkins “have actually been close on another deal.” Asked whether it was a trade or free agent, Atkins declined to say.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 12, 2020

As Ben Nicholson-Smith notes, Atkins declined to mention whether this was a trade or a free agent. Let’s put on our detective hats and try to figure out who it might have been.
Given how the market is moving along like a glacier, it’s pretty unlikely that the Blue Jays and somebody else were close to pulling the trigger on a trade, so we can pretty safely assume that it was a free agent the team was closing in on.
Eight players have agreed to contracts so far this off-season. There’s Ray, who signed with the Jays, Kendall Graveman, Josh Harrison, and Mike Tomlin, who are also sticking around with their teams, Jose Peraza and Mallex Smith, who inked minor-league deals, and Marcus Stroman …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Robbie Ray: “Don’t be concerned about where we play, just be concerned about the guys in the clubhouse”

Robbie Ray was given $8,000,000 by the Blue Jays to be a pitcher, but he’s also doing a little PR work on the side.

The newly-signed Ray held a media availability over Zoom on Monday in which he talked about his decision to stick around in Toronto (Buffalo? Somewhere???). Ray noted that he fit in very well with the club right off the hop and that he liked the idea of a one-year deal because he could rebuild his value and test free agency again next winter. Pretty standard stuff.
The most interesting part of the interview, though, was Ray’s response to what he would tell other free agents when it comes to the uncertainty around where the Blue Jays would play next season. To that, Ray suggested not to worry about it and to instead worry about the group the Blue Jays have in their clubhouse and on their staff.
“Don’t be concerned about where we play, just be concerned about the guys in the clubhouse, the staff that we have,” Ray said. “The coaching staff, the training staff, they’re all top-notch. This team is really good.”
This is definitely a nice thing to hear. We’ …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are apparently interested in George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr.

I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of ‘The Blue Jays have shown interest in _________’ this winter.

Most recently, the said-to-be-very-aggressive Blue Jays have reportedly shown interest in the two top centre fielders on the free-agent market, George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr. Jon Heyman talked about it on MLB Network’s Big Time Baseball on Monday and Tim Kelly of WEEI (a Boston radio station) pointed it out.
Anyways, this type of report is no surprise because, through the first couple weeks of the off-season, all we’ve heard is that the Blue Jays have been aggressive and that they’re poised for a big splash. Both of these free agents are names who makes all kinds of sense for the team to add because of the glaring hole at centre field.
As of right now, Randal Grichuk is the team’s centre fielder. He had a decent offensive season in 2020, slashing a .273/.312/.481 line (112 wRC+) with 12 home runs across 231 plate appearances. His defensive metrics suggest that he was poor in centre field but, personally, I figure the eye-test says otherwise. Grichuk, bat and glove considered, is a fine centre fielder, but he isn’t great.


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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have re-signed Robbie Ray

The Blue Jays have made their first signing of the off-season.

According to Jeff Passan, the team has re-signed lefty pitcher Robbie Ray to a one-year deal worth $8,000,000.

First free agent deal of the offseason is done. Left-hander Robbie Ray and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a one-year, $8 million deal, a source familiar with the contract tells ESPN. Good start to the hot stove for Toronto, which will use Ray as a starter, and for Ray.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 7, 2020

Ray, of course, was acquired by the Blue Jays ahead of the trade deadline from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Travis Bergen.
His 2020 season had been a complete disaster but Ray’s performance improved after joining the Blue Jays. In 31 innings with the Diamondbacks, Ray had a 7.84 ERA but he improved to a respectable 4.79 ERA over 20 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays. He also had an impressive three-inning showing in relief against Tampa Bay in Game 1 of the wild-card round.
It wasn’t that long ago that Ray was an ace starter in Arizona. Back in 2017, he posted a 2.89 ERA and had the most strikeouts per nine in baseball at 12.1. He finished seventh in Cy Young voting …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Turning Drew Hutchison into Teoscar Hernandez is Ross Atkins’ biggest win so far

Among the many bright spots on the 2020 Blue Jays, Tesocar Hernandez’s breakout season was arguably the biggest.

Heading into the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, you would have likely expected somebody like Vlad Jr. or Bo Bichette or Nate Pearson to be the team’s young breakout star. Instead, it was Hernandez.
On Thursday, Hernandez’s excellent season was rewarded as he was given an American League Silver Slugger Award. Hernandez joined Eloy Jimenez and Mike Trout as the AL’s Silver Sluggers for the outfield.
The award is really no surprise at all as Hernandez was one of the best hitters in the league this season. He smashed 16 homers, drove in 34 runs, and slashed a .289/.340/.579 line. Had Hernandez not gotten injured late in the season, he could have feasibly found himself in the discussion for AL Most Valuable Player.
Though it was only a 60-game sprint of a season and results sort of have to be taken with a grain of salt, it looks like Hernandez has become a key part of the Blue Jays’ future. Over his past 162 games (136 of which have come since making a major adjustment during a stint with Triple-A Buffalo), Hernandez has a .833 OPS with 42 home …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation