Report: Toronto Blue Jays offered Brett Gardner a one-year, $6-million contract

In an effort to try and round out their batting order, the Toronto Blue Jays reportedly offered lefty Brett Gardner a one-year, $6-million deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports.

Gardner, 38, has spent his entire 14-year career with the New York Yankees and the offer from the Jays came after the lockout ended, Rosenthal reported citing unnamed sources.
He appeared in 140 games last year for the Yankees slashing .222/.327/.367 while smashing 10 home runs and 39 RBI’s.
If Brett Gardner is going to play again, it likely will only be for the Yankees, the team that drafted him in the third round out of the College of Charleston in 2005. And now that the Yankees seemingly have moved on from the free-agent outfielder, it appears his 14-year career might be over.
Gardner, 38, turned down a one-year, $6 million offer from the Blue Jays after the conclusion of the lockout, sources said. More recently, the Braves gauged his interest after learning outfielder Eddie Rosario would miss eight-to-12 weeks while recovering from a laser procedure to correct blurred vision and swelling in his right eye. Gardner declined to pursue the opportunity.
If this is it for Gardner, he will retire with 1,470 hits, 274 stolen bases and 139 home runs. He appeared in 140 or more games 10 times, including what might have been his final season in 2021. A World Series champion in 2009, All-Star in 2015 and Gold Glove winner in 2016, he also tied for the American League lead with 49 stol …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

1 stud and 1 dud from disheartening Raptors loss to Hawks

1 stud and 1 dud from disheartening Raptors loss to Hawks

The Toronto Raptors needed a complete team effort if they wanted to put their gnarly loss to the Hornets in the past and defeat Trae Young’s Atlanta Hawks. With Fred VanVleet hampered by injury, stars like Pascal Siakam and role players like Precious Achiuwa needed to step up. Just when it looked like the Raptors were […]
1 stud and 1 dud from disheartening Raptors loss to Hawks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

It’s taken both Michael Bunting and Ondřej Kaše to replace Zach Hyman’s for the Leafs

In a coupon-clipping-level effort to save cash, the Maple Leafs made the very difficult decision last season to let their hard-working, offensively capable but defensively responsible, plug in anywhere and have success,  forward, Zach Hyman, go to unrestricted free agency.
He was a key part of their top-6 forward group, playing either alongside Auston Matthews or John Tavares for the majority of his career in Toronto.
It wasn’t 100% certain that Hyman would leave, and Leafs management were in conversation with his agents to the eleventh hour, but they ultimately couldn’t beat the offer from Ken Holland and the Oilers for an average of $5.5M per year for 7 years, with a no-move clause in the first 5 years.
The challenge of replacing Hyman, once they were sure he was leaving, was not an easy one. However, one name seemed almost perfect for the job: Michael Bunting. The Leafs signed Bunting to a 2-year contract worth $950k per season, after his successful first season in the league with Arizona.
Starting simply, Bunting has easily been able to replicate Hyman’s production in a similar role, and even exceed it. So far this season, Bunting is averaging 2.12 primary points (goals and first assists) per 60 minutes of ice time, while last year …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Abandoning the salary cap for a luxury tax would benefit the NHL more than just the Leafs

The NHL’s salary cap was introduced in 2005 in an effort to bring more parity to the league, which would theoretically make the NHL more exciting for fans to watch as every team had a chance to be competitive. At least that’s the story we were told, the truth is the salary cap exists only to save billionaires money and prevent athletes from getting paid what they’re worth.
In fact, over the past decade the NHL has actually had the least parity among the big four North American sports with only six unique champions compared to seven in the NBA and eight in each of the NFL and MLB.
Whatever the reasoning, it’s time that we admit that the salary cap experiment has failed, at least in its current iteration. With NHL free agency season set to start today, fans should be excited to see if their team is able to make a major signing, the kind that can vault a contender into a Stanley Cup favourite, however that unfortunately won’t be the case. Even with stars like Dougie Hamilton and Philipp Grubauer available, the vast majority of teams are unable to sign any of these …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Raptors seek Game 2 bounce back against Bucks: Preview, start time, and more

It’ll take a team effort, as the Raptors prepare for another chance to steal home court from the Bucks in Game 2. It’s true, the Raptors missed a dynamite shot at stealing home court in Wednesday’s Game 1 loss to the Bucks. Plenty went their way in the first half: Milwaukee missed open shots, the Raptors drilled theirs, and Kawhi Leonard looked dominant.
Unfortunately, all things faded — save for Kyle Lowry, who made seven threes and was fantastic — as the Bucks won the fourth quarter 32-17 and hung on to win 108-100. Did the Raptors miss their best opportunity to win a needed road game? Maybe, maybe not. At the least, we saw a team that was able to dictate pace in the first half, make life difficult for Giannis Antetokounmpo on defence, and silence a raucous Milwaukee crowd that was befitting an Eastern Conference Final.
My knee jerk reaction was to say that the Raptors squandered the best Kyle Lowry they’re going to get in Game 1. That may not be true, though — just as Brook Lopez scoring 29 points might be an outlier, Kyle Lowry scoring 30 is never out of the realm of possibility. Those are both wells …

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Author: John Gaudes / Raptors HQ

Game 1 Analysis: Kyle Lowry did his part, and the team let him down

In Game 1 against the Bucks, a heroic effort from Kyle Lowry was wasted by, well, pretty much everyone else on the Raptors. Unfortunately, Game 1 didn’t quite go to plan for the Raptors. For their opening contest in Milwaukee, it was close right up until the end; but with Toronto leading going into the fourth quarter, the end result is quite disappointing.
Unlike the 76ers series, there are not as many obvious key matchups to watch here for the Raptors. Until something along those lines develops over multiple games, we’ll stick with taking a quick look at some dominating factors in the game — in this case, a loss for the Raptors.
One Man Show
Kyle Lowry was awesome in this game. He posted 30 points (on 18 used possessions), mostly on the strength of not being able to miss at all. Throw in eight rebounds and that’s a heck of a night for the point guard.
But on a night where Lowry was carrying the scoring load, he wasn’t able to distribute much (only two assists to his four turnovers), which was likely the game plan for Milwaukee. Lowry punished them for that as much — and more than — as …

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Author: Daniel Hackett / Raptors HQ

Five thoughts on last night’s Game 1: Bucks 108, Raptors 100

The Raptors gave an A1 effort, but their tired legs caught up to them, and the Bucks shook off the rust just in time to take the W. Last night’s opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks was an interesting case study in the old “rest vs momentum” debate. The Raptors looked crisp early, were executing their game plan on offense and were locked in on defense, while the Bucks were cold, slow getting into their actions and were getting beaten on the glass.
But as the game went on, it all flipped: The Raptors (not named Kyle Lowry) slowed down and started missing everything, the Bucks started pulling in all the rebounds and hitting their shots… and ultimately, ran off a game-sealing 10-0 run in the final three minutes as the Raptors ran out of steam.
And now the Raptors are in a 1-0 hole.

Kyle Lowry is my Favourite Son
I was on the radio in Chicago yesterday, where I loudly proclaimed my love for all things Kyle Lowry to the Windy City, and boy did he do me proud last night. There are far too many awesome Lowry moments …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ

Five thoughts on last night’s Game 6: 76ers 112, Raptors 101

After a frustrating road effort, we’ll see the Raptors back home on Sunday… for Game 7. I guess we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But was it wrong to hope that it would be? I really, really didn’t want this series to go seven games.
But, Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons were magnificent, Joel Embiid had a Kyle Lowry-esque impact without scoring much, Toronto couldn’t keep anyone off the glass and couldn’t hit a shot, and well… that’s how you end up with another lopsided loss in a series that’s had its share of them.
The Raptors Did Not Come to Play
There were a ton of plays last night that you could point to, on both ends, to demonstrate how poorly prepared the Raptors were for this game or with how little urgency they played. But I’d like to point to one play with about 8.5 minutes to go in the game.
Philadelphia is up 22. It’s desperation time for Toronto: That time where you have to make one last push before packing it in for garbage time.
Toronto has possession. Serge Ibaka has a mismatch on Jimmy Butler on the …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ