Roster moves galore, as Jay Jackson gets his release, Nate Pearson optioned to Triple-A, and more!

Well, the Blue Jays’ bullpen depth just got a bit weaker.

On Saturday afternoon, it was announced by Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith that reliever Jay Jackson was granted his release, as he would not be added to the roster.

Jay Jackson, who impressed in #BlueJays camp with a 95-96 m.p.h. fastball & hard slider, is now a free agent per source.
The Jays had until noon ET today to add him to the roster. They declined to do so, which meant granting Jackson his release instead.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) March 25, 2023

The 35-year-old righty pitched 9.1 innings with the Blue Jays and didn’t allow a single run. Moreover, he had 14 strikeouts facing just 37 batters for a 37.8 K%.

Here’s his second strikeout of the game on an 85.7 mph slider.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 20, 2023

It’s easy to say that a team will add Jackson to their 26-man roster, as he has major league experience and pitched well this sring.
Blue Jays roster cuts:
If Mitch White is to hit the injured list to start the season, it had appeared that spot would either go to Zach Pop or Nate Pearson. Well today, we got our answer as Pearson was optioned to the minor leagues.
That doesn’t mean Pearson won’t play a role with the 2023 Blue Jays. The 26-year-old flame-throwing right-handed pitcher struck out 13 batters in 8.1 innings pitched, and has a 3.24 ERA. This came after pure dominance in the Dominican Winter League over the winter. Pearson’s talent has never been in question, but if he can stay healthy, that’d be a huge boost for the Jays.

In this outing, Nate Pearson showed why he’s more than just a flame throwing pitcher.
Yes, he hit 101 mph to get his only strikeout, but look at the knuckle curve (second clip), or even his two sliders for whiffs.
If he can stay healthy, he’ll be fantastic.#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 2, 2023

Nate Pearson wasn’t the only pitcher optioned, as Zach Thompson, Trent Thornton, and Thomas Hatch were …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs depth had interesting looks in first set of preseason games

The Maple Leafs’ depth is the biggest question mark heading into this year’s regular season, but it seems like that question might be getting sooner rather than later.
There are a number of players vying for a spot in Toronto’s lineup — one being on John Tavares’ wing and another few spots within the bottom six. These few games are a big test for those wanting a role in those positions, to see who might fit where.
Denis Malgin, Adam Gaudette, Zach Aston-Reese, and Alex Steeves — they all stole the show on the first day of preseason games. Nick Robertson and Kyle Clifford, however, did not.
As training camp goes on, the play is only going to ramp up even more. So it’s best to get off on a good foot, especially when you’re trying to secure a lineup spot on the Maple Leafs.
Malgin — on a line with William Nylander and Pontus Holmberg — looked very good in Toronto’s first game of the day against Ottawa. The 25-year-old seemed to have a lot of chemistry with the two and even got on the scoresheet scoring what was the game-winning goal.

Denis Malgin
What a pass from Nylander
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) September 24, 2022

Malgin even got some praise from Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe after the game.
“I think he was good in the first few days. I thought he was excellent here today (Friday) …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs have signed Adam Gaudette to a $750k deal

The Leafs continue their depth signings by bringing in former Senator, Canuck, and Blackhawk Adam Gaudette.

We’ve signed forward Adam Gaudette to a one-year contract. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 13, 2022

The Leafs press release:

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed forward Adam Gaudette to a one-year contract worth $750,000

Gaudette, 25, has collected 70 points (27 goals, 43 assists) in 218 regular season games with the Vancouver Canucks (2017-18 to 2020-21), Chicago Blackhawks (2020-21 to 2021-22) and Ottawa Senators (2021-22). The Braintree, Massachusetts native split last season between the Chicago and Ottawa, recording 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 58 regular season games.
Gaudette was originally selected by Vancouver in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
So that $750k cap hit is about as ideal and low risk as you can get. Like Aube-Kubel he’ll be competing with some Marlies for a fourth line role, but unlike Aube-Kubel his contract will leave him as a risk for being claimed off of waivers. That can be a perk to a player that wants to stay in the league.
Gaudette is also only 25 and sticks with the Leafs plan to stay on the younger side and so far they’ve exclusively focused on players who haven’t received qualifying offers as RFAs. This served the Leafs well last year and it’s nice to see them tapping into it again.

The numbers don’t really like Gaudette much. He hits though, and plays a typical fourth line game and can play some center. This is likely the Leafs looking for someone to push the Marlies in competition or believe they can help Gaudette get back to the potential that was once seen in him during his time in Vancouver.
With the new Leafs in the lineup they have about $3.5M to spend still, although there is plenty of flexibility in the offseason overage, Robe …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation