Looking at the Miami Marlins as a trade partner

Coming into the 2021 MLB season, one could easily say that the starting rotation for the Toronto Blue Jays was the weakest link. They had the bats and they had a good-looking bullpen until the injury bug hit the team. The team’s starting pitching, however, was a concern. 

However, at the end of the season, the team had the sixth-best ERA in the Major Leagues. Robbie Ray’s emergence as a Cy Young winner certainly helped, but the team called up Alek Manoah at the right time and made the trade for Jose Berrios. This along with the off-season acquisition of Steven Matz, a phenomenal back-end of the rotation pitcher, contributed to a successful 2021.
So what does the starting pitching staff look like next season? Hyun-Jin Ryu is looking to bounce back after a rough second half and will be paid 20 million in the next two seasons. Alek Manoah is still on his pre-arbitration contract. Lastly, Jose Berrios is in the final year of arbitration before hitting the free market.
That’s only three starting pitchers, so what will the Jays do to fill up those two final openings?
Starting pitching was good, bats were great:
According to Jon Morosi, …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Around the NHL: Winners and losers from the start of free agency

The start of free agency is easily one of the most exciting times on the hockey calendar, as teams take this opportunity to bring in some players to help improve their roster, giving up no assets except cap space. However, in a flat cap era, cap space is an extremely important asset, and wasting it can ruin your team for years, even worse than a bad trade or drafting a bust with a high pick.
With that, there are always winners and losers in free agency. Some teams make out really well bringing in good players on low or market value deals, and others get greedy, sign a ton of okay players to contracts that won’t age well, and then pay for it down the road (just look at all the assets teams have had to give up to get rid of bad contracts this offseason).
So, let’s take a look at some of the biggest winners (and losers) from the first couple of days of free agency.
Loser: Edmonton Oilers
Let’s start with maybe the most tragic one (only because I feel terrible for Connor McDavid), but after already weakening the roster by bringing in Duncan …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Is it time for Rasmus Sandin?

The Leafs just easily beat the Canucks 7-3 with their Thursday night lineup, actually their Thursday night lineup minus Travis Dermott, who was injured in the first. They are sitting at 8-2-1 through 11 games, and essentially the top team in the NHL, so why are we talking about messing around with their roster? The answer can most quickly be explained by the fact that we’re never satisfied Leafs fans and we’re always wanting more, but there is another piece, and that’s the fact that we have a shiny new(-ish) toy that we haven’t taken out of the box this season and we want to know how it plays.
Our own Nick Richard highlighted some of the issues with Sandin’s playing time situation in his Prospect Roundup:
Much has been made of Rasmus Sandin’s place on the depth chart and the fact that one of the Leafs’ top prospects hasn’t played a game in 11 months. In a somewhat curious decision, Sandin wasn’t among the handful of Leafs prospects that were loaned overseas as the organization sought to find ice time for their youngest players when the NHL season was still up …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rays down Blue Jays in wild weekend clash

In what was easily the season’s most exciting series thus far, the Blue Jays, despite mounting two incredible comebacks in games one and two, lost this weekend’s series to the first-place(!) Tampa Bay Rays.
Thanks to some great pitching and timely hitting, the boys in blue were able to take a single game, but floundered in the finale and were out-pitching and out-hit through most of the series.
Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from the first of many series against Tampa:
The Good
On the hill, Thomas Pannone (4.0 IP, 5 SO, 0 H, 0 BB) was outstanding, thanks chiefly to an immaculate inning in Sunday’s finale. Marcus Stroman (4.0 IP, 5 SO, 4 BB, E, 0 ER) was also decent while new Blue Jay Clay Buchholz (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 SO, 0 BB, 1.00 WHIP) was stellar in his debut. Encouragingly, the starting pitching remained, for the most part, solid.
Freddy Galvis (3-for-14, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) had himself yet another solid series while Alen Hanson (2-for-9, RBI, BB), Billy McKinney (3-for-9, HR, 2 2B), and Luke Maile (3-for-6, BB) showed signs of life at the dish.
The Bad
Many of the team’s most disappointing hitters, namely Brandon Drury (0-for-7, 6 SO) and …

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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation