Blue Jays, Position by Position: The starting pitching conundrum and how the Jays may have to fill two spots

As we learned this season, pitching is crucial

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the Jays had a solid pitching core in 2022, both with starters and the bullpen. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t concerns heading into the 2023 season, especially with a few spots in the rotation.
Let’s look at who’s penciled in, which pitchers are depth pieces, and which prospects could impact the Jays in the 2023 season.
Side note: I’m not including Hyun-Jin Ryu in this article. There’s an outside chance he’ll be able to pitch in the back end of the season, but I find it super unlikely. Would be nice to get the 2020 form of Ryu though.
Penciled in starters for the 2023 season:
There are three starters that are already penciled into the rotation. I think it’s likely another one will come via trade, while they’ll sign a fifth starter. Here’s the rotation as it stands:
Starter 1: Alek Manoah
Starter 2: Kevin Gausman
Starter 3: N/A
Starter 4: Jose Berrios
Starter 5: N/A
Swingman/Longman: Yusei Kikuchi/Mitch White/Casey Lawerence
So as you can see, the #3 spot in the rotation will have to be filled (likely via trade), while the #5 spot could be filled via signing, or by way of Yusei Kikuchi or Mitch White.
2022 starters, a flashback:
Thankfully enough, starting pitching wasn’t really a problem for the 2022 Blue Jays. They had two aces, a pitcher who pitched well two-thirds of the time, and a hero that stepped up when the team needed him most. Granted, they also lost a lot of games because of a lack of a fifth starter, but it wouldn’t have changed muc …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Can a stronger post-pandemic NHL open a wider window for the Leafs?

The thing most people don’t want to talk about when it comes to the Leafs is just how much the shifting of the league due to the pandemic absolutely wreaked havoc on their plans to contend. It doesn’t make for an interesting story to just throw up our hands and say “The flat cap is the problem”, but like, it sort of is. The nuked revenue due to the near-shutdown of the league since 2020 did damage to a lot of cap teams, but none quite like the Leafs. 
Management in Toronto thought they had a strong long term plan worked out when they signed Matthews and Marner to monster second deals on top of the Tavares money in the same calendar year of 2019. They did so banking on new television deals, more expansion money, and a forecasted salary cap number that should be in the range of 92-95 million right now. With everything that’s happened since, it sits at 82.5 million. Catastrophic for a team that wanted to get the most of a 5-6 year window before another re-up was needed. 
I guess the question now becomes, with what seems to be the most normal season to get going since the pandemic started about to start, can the league, and with it the Leafs, get back on track with their long term …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

Malachi Flynn is ready for a role in the Raptors’ 2022 rotation

Malachi Flynn is ready for a role in the Raptors’ 2022 rotation

After dropping 54 points at the Ball Don’t Stop Pro-Am game, the buzz surrounding Toronto Raptors point guard Malachi Flynn may be rounding into something of substance. While it’s still only an amateur showcase designed for pros to generate highlights, this is the second time this summer Flynn has blown up. So what? Flynn can […]
Malachi Flynn is ready for a role in the Raptors’ 2022 rotation – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Maple Leafs won’t do absolutely anything to dump Petr Mrazek’s contract

MONTREAL — The Toronto Maple Leafs don’t have a lot salary cap space and have a goaltending problem.
Not only do they have to figure out who their No. 1 goaltender will be for next season as incumbent starter Jack Campbell appears destined to free agent market on July 13, but backup goaltender Petr Mrazek remains under contract for the next two seasons at $3.8 million average annual value.
After an abysmal season in which he posted an .888 save percentage, clearing his contract would have been an easy fix to their salary cap constraints. They placed the Czech goaltender on waivers back in March in an attempt to make space but there were no takers.
It became clear at the time that if the Leafs wanted to unload Mrazek’s contract, that they would have to include a sweetener in some form of deal.
Having had to do that in the past (unloading forward Patrick Marleau’s contract for a first-round pick) the Leafs appear reluctant to do that. In fact, they are still of the mind that a tandem situation works best for their goaltending situation and that can include Mrazek next season.
“I’ve been very happy with Petr and how he’s been in the offseason so far,” Maple Leafs GM Kyle Duba …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation