1 stud and 1 dud from Raptors win against shorthanded Bucks

1 stud and 1 dud from Raptors win against shorthanded Bucks

Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors didn’t win a home game during the entire month of November, and it didn’t look like the squad was getting ready up to win one against the mighty Milwaukee Bucks. Gary Trent Jr. may have returned, but can Pascal Siakam and the rest of the squad really take down […]
1 stud and 1 dud from Raptors win against shorthanded Bucks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

1 stud and 1 dud from frustrating Raptors loss against Celtics

1 stud and 1 dud from frustrating Raptors loss against Celtics

Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors didn’t have the deepest roster in the world coming into their tussle with the Boston Celtics, and they went into this game with some of their stars injured, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. were dealing with hip and calf injuries, respectively. Naturally, this threw the rotation out of […]
1 stud and 1 dud from frustrating Raptors loss against Celtics – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Kyle Clifford excited to be back home, and ready for new opportunity with Leafs

Kyle Clifford excited to be back home, and ready for new opportunity with Leafs

“I didn’t want to leave, and I know they didn’t want me to leave either.”
Kyle Clifford left the Leafs in 2020 during Free Agency to sign with the St. Louis Blues. Toronto was his home, and after a tough bout against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he left home.
During his tenure in St. Louis, Clifford had his ups and downs. The 30-year-old played 50 of 56 games last season, scoring four goals and adding three assists. He was even in the Blues’ lineup during the playoffs last year.
The start of this season, though, was a bit bumpier.
Clifford played two games, and then on November 2nd, was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols list. Little did he know that those two games would be his last in St. Louis.
“I’m just getting back into it. It’s been a while since I skated, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there.” Clifford said to the media on Friday. “The last three weeks, I probably skated, like, twice, three times.“
Being from Ayr, Ontario, Clifford calls Toronto home. But for him, what is it like to be back?
“It’s an unbelieveable city.” Clifford said. “It’ …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Justin Verlander has re-signed with the Houston Astros

Justin Verlander didn’t accept the qualifying offer, but he’s sticking around in Houston.

Ben Verlander, Justin’s brother, posted on Twitter on Wednesday night that the two-time Cy Young winner is re-signing with the Astros.

IT’S OFFICIAL@JustinVerlander is signing with Houston Astros!!
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) November 17, 2021

According to Ken Rosenthal, the deal is worth $25,000,000 in 2022 with a player option for a second year worth the same amount of money. That’s obviously a lot more than the $18,400,000 that Verlander would have made if he accepted Houston’s qualifying offer.
The Blue Jays were reportedly among the teams who were in the mix for Verlander early this winter, which came as no surprise given the team attended his throwing session in Florida earlier this month.
Verlander, who turns 39 years old in February, has pitched only six innings over the past two seasons. He finished second in Cy Young voting in 2018, won the award in 2019, started opening day for the Astros in 2020, got injured, missed the rest of the season, had Tommy John, and wound up missing all of 2021 as well.
The thing that made Verlander an attractive option was the fact he wouldn’t command a long-term …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #4 John Tavares

To say last year didn’t end how John Tavares wanted it to is probably the biggest understatement I could make. After captaining the Leafs to a division title, there was a lot of hope heading into the post season, and while the Leafs didn’t make it out of the first round, a freak accident meant Tavares didn’t make it out of the first period of Game One, and while disappointing, the only thought that comes to mind about Tavares is that it could have been so much worse and the fact that he’s back at 100% to start the 2021-22 season is one of the reasons for hope this year.
Like the next three Leafs on our list, Tavares was exclusively ranked at the top of the Leafs list. Some three rankings, some four rankings, a couple of fives from our contributors that value defense and goaltender, but for me Tavares is the 2nd best Leaf (I’ll leave you to guess who’s #1.) My ranking, like I’d hope most of our contributors rankings was based in person preference, and for me I’ll take a center over a winger any day, and I think round …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Ranking Draymond Green over Pascal Siakam is indefensible

Raptors: Ranking Draymond Green over Pascal Siakam is indefensible

The Toronto Raptors didn’t have the most robust 2020-21 season, and Pascal Siakam can certainly hold up his hand and serve as an example of someone negatively impacted by playing in Tampa. His shooting averages took a slight downward turn, and he struggled to stay healthy. Even with that, Siakam managed to average 21.2 points […]
Raptors: Ranking Draymond Green over Pascal Siakam is indefensible – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

BJN Radio – Ep. 49: There’s no room left for error

This weekend didn’t go as planned.

The Blue Jays managed a split against the Minnesota Twins while the Yankees rolled into Boston and pulled off a sweep. Toronto is now a game behind Boston for the second wild-card spot while the Yankees are a game up on the Red Sox for the top seed.
We talked about the series, going through the downs, such as Lourdes Gurriel’s injury and the team’s lack of clutch hitting, and then the ups, like Alek Manoah’s huge start on Sunday and George Springer busting out of his slump upon his return to the outfield.
We also looked ahead to the final week of the season, which will feature a must-win series between the Blue Jays and Yankees in Toronto. This is the first time the Yankees will be in Toronto in two years and the Blue Jays are opening capacity to 30,000 fans. There’s a perfect opportunity for a storybook ending here.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Best trade in team history with New York Knicks

Toronto Raptors: Best trade in team history with New York Knicks

The Toronto Raptors didn’t have a ton of postseason success in the pre-Masai Ujiri era, and that meant that they were often joined in the basement of the Atlantic Division by the New York Knicks, who have spent plenty of time wallowing in James Dolan-created muck. While the two have never had the most vitriolic […]
Toronto Raptors: Best trade in team history with New York Knicks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Grading all major 2021 offseason acquisitions

Toronto Raptors: Grading all major 2021 offseason acquisitions

Though the Toronto Raptors didn’t acquire any one guy bigger than an over-the-hill Goran Dragic this summer, the quantity of new guys who’ll be joining the team this year is noticeable. The Raptors have close to twenty guys currently on the extended roster, but only ten of them have played a game with the team, […]
Toronto Raptors: Grading all major 2021 offseason acquisitions – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

The Brad Hand era is over

Well, that didn’t last long.
On August 31st, Brad Hand, who was acquired a month earlier, was DFA’ed to make room for Danny Jansen. He pitched 7.2 innings with the team, and posted a 8.22 ERA. His FIP was slightly better at 8.21. He allowed as many home runs as walks (3 a piece) and allowed a total of 7 earned.
The cost for Brad Hand was catcher Riley Adams. Since joining the Nationals, he has a slash line of .341/.442/1.010. While this is not likely sustainable, it looks as if the Jays missed on this trade.
Adams was fifth on the catching pecking order, following Reese McGuire, Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno. Adams would have likely been outrighted unless he was traded.
This looks to be a bad trade, but it’s nice to see the front office at least try to fix their bullpen problem. I just wish they traded for the other high leverage reliever on the Nationals, Daniel Hudson.

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation