The Rays are looking for catchers and the Blue Jays have a lot of them

On Friday, the Blue Jays added five players to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft, two of which were catchers, Gabe Moreno and Riley Adams.

With Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, and Alejandro Kirk already there, that gives the team five catchers on the 40-man roster, which is more than you’d generally like to have.
Elsewhere, according to Jim Bowden, the Tampa Bay Rays have apparently told other teams that their off-season priority is to add “catching, catching, and catching.”
The Rays, as we know, are loaded with all kinds of quality pitchers. The Blue Jays, as we know, need to add some pitchers this off-season.

I’m not really a math person, but this all adds up! It could make all kinds of sense for the Blue Jays to send a catcher over to Tampa Bay in exchange for a pitcher, solving the problem of the massive catching logjam on the 40-man while simultaneously filling another area of need.
Of course, if the Rays want to make a big upgrade behind the plate, they could go ahead and sign J.T. Realmuto, arguably the top free agent on the open market. But, thankfully, the Rays are cheap …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays add Gabriel Moreno, Riley Adams, Josh Palacios, Otto Lopez, and Ty Tice to 40-man roster

Friday was the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft in early-December.

The Blue Jays had 35 players on their 40-man roster, and they used all five open spots to add prospects in order to protect them from being exposed in the Rule 5 Draft…

#BlueJays add five players to their 40-man:• Riley Adams, C• Gabriel Moreno, C• Josh Palacios, OF• Otto Lopez, IF• Ty Tice, RHP
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 20, 2020

I wrote yesterday that Gabriel Moreno was an automatic because he’s one of the organization’s most highly-regarded prospects and Riley Adams also seemed like a very likely add because he’s near MLB-ready. But I also figured that the Blue Jays would only add three players, opting to leave a couple of 40-man roster spots open for free agents.
Instead, they added outfielder Josh Palacios, who was on the team’s 40-man playoff pool this year, young infielder Otto Lopez, who could have ended up in a similar situation to that of Elvis Luciano we had a couple of years ago, and Ty Tice, a reliever who has put up very good numbers in the upper minors.
My logic for the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A non-contact OHL cannot be Plan B for Nick Robertson

A stir was created Friday night when the Canadian Press put an article out over the wire saying no bodychecking will be allowed in upcoming OHL season. The article confirmed these plans with current Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sports (and former Minister of Abandoning Autistic Children) Lisa MacLeod, who said that ‘removing purposeful physical contact from the game was a necessary step to preventing the spread of COVID-19.’ While many, including the Bobfather, were quick to point out that even contact-less hockey does not lend itself to avoiding close-quarters interaction, MacLeod was steadfast in her assertion that this was a necessary step in ensuring a safe return to play and that this was “not a negotiation”. (Update: Ontario Premier Doug Ford later tweeted that this was, indeed, an ongoing discussion and that the hope is the OHL could return with bodychecking, but who knows at this point considering the conflicting messages.)
Naturally, this made us think of “how does this impact the Leafs?”, which lead us to the question of what to do with Nicholas Robertson this year. A quick perusal of most Leafs fans’ mock rosters for the upcoming season has Nick Robertson making the team, but Chris …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays pick up Rafael Dolis’ option and decline Chase Anderson’s option

It’s Transaction Friday and we have ourselves probably the most predictable and least surprising move(s) of the off-season.

The Blue Jays announced on Friday that they would be picking up Rafael Dolis’ team option and that they would be declining Chase Anderson’s team option. Dolis will have a $1,500,000 salary in 2021 while Anderson will cost the team a $500,000 buyout. His salary would have been $9,500,000.

We’ve exercised our 2021 club option on RHP Rafael Dolis and declined our 2021 club option on RHP Chase Anderson.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 30, 2020

Bringing back Dolis at $1,500,000 is a no-brainer.
While he was a little jarring to watch at times with his slow pace and propensity to make counts go full, Dolis was a very effective arm in 2020. Across 24 appearances, Dolis posted a 1.50 ERA while striking out 11.6 batters per nine. The 5.3 walks per nine were a bit of a concern, though. Still, at $1,500,000, you can’t go wrong.
And, in the same vein, not bringing back Anderson at $9,500,000 was also a no-brainer.
Acquired last winter from the Milwaukee Brewers as a salary dump, Anderson was expected to be a swing-guy for the Blue Jays who could …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs sign Joey Anderson to three-year contract extension

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Friday that they have signed restricted free agent forward Joey Anderson to a three-year contract extension with an AAV of $750,000.

Making it official
Joey Anderson has signed a three-year contract extension. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 30, 2020

Anderson was acquired from the New Jersey Devils earlier this month in exchange for Andreas Johnsson. The Devils selected Anderson with the 73rd pick in the 2016 NHL draft and he played in 52 games for New Jersey prior to being traded, including 18 games last season in which he tallied four goals and two assists. He also recorded 15 goals and 19 assists in 44 games with Binghamton in the AHL last season.
The Minnesota native has represented the United States internationally on several occasions, and captained the US team to a bronze medal at the 2018 World Juniors where he picked up seven points in seven games.
(Statistics from

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs sign Travis Dermott to one-year contract extension

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Friday that they have signed restricted free agent defenceman Travis Dermott to a one-year contract extension worth $874,125. Dermott made his Leafs debut in the 2017-2018 season and has played in 157 regular season games over the last three seasons, registering nine goals and 31 assists.

— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 23, 2020

Dermott has put up very strong underlying defensive numbers through the early part of his career, and he will look to earn an opportunity to do that against tougher competition this coming season as he jostles for a lineup spot with the likes of Justin Holl, Mikko Lehtonen, Zach Bogosian, and Rasmus Sandin.
The salary for Dermott’s new contract is equivalent to what his qualifying offer was so this is a deal that will provide him with a chance to prove he is a valuable part of this team’s future. With Ilya Mikheyev and Dermott signing new contracts, the Leafs lone remaining restricted free agent is the newly acquired Joey Anderson.

Travis Dermott’s new contract (one year at $874,125) is equal to what his qualifying offer was. Good value for the Leafs. And a prove-it contract for Dermott, who …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Projecting the Leafs Opening Night Lineup for the 2020-21 Season

So the Leafs did the unthinkable on Friday night and were able to convince Joe Thornton to play for his hometown team on a league minimum contract. He is the eighth player acquired by the Leafs since free agent frenzy began last week, and that results in some interesting questions on what the lineup might look like when the 2020-21 season finally starts.
In the unprecedented times that we continue to live in, when that day comes remains a mystery. There’s been plenty of talk of how the season will play out and how the teams will have their schedules built (including a potential Canadian Division). One thing we do know is that hockey will be played at some point in the coming months and the Leafs will have a different looking roster once the puck finally drops.
Until that date comes, all we can do is speculate our best guesses for what the Leafs might do with their lineups for the coming season and who might fit best in other spots. We are quite removed from when the campaign could potentially start so it’s entirely possible that my projections could be well off the mark. Add to …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

How does Alex Pietrangelo statistically fit with the Leafs?

With the draft finishing up, and free agency on Friday, Alex Pietrangelo remains without a contract and is likely going to free agency. While the rumours are that Vegas is the frontrunner, the Leafs are one of the top names in that discussion as well.
Leading up to free agency, it seems like the talk is about how Pietrangelo fits into the Leafs cap situation. While that’s certainly a huge part of the equation, we don’t see a whole lot out there on Pietrangelo fits in with the Leafs as far as his actual play goes.
So, let’s dive into what exactly Alex Pietrangelo brings to the table on the ice, and then using that information, where he would be best utilized on the Leafs.

Since his first full season, Pietrangelo has been a consistent 40-50 point player throughout his career, although as he’s gotten older, he seems to rely more on his goal scoring than his playmaking. He puts up points on the power play when given the opportunity as well so he could help the second power play, or even man the first unit and bring a shot that Morgan Rielly doesn’t.

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays’ winning streak reaches six after a gritty win at The Trop

After squeaking out an extra-innings win in Tampa on Friday, the Blue Jays have extended their winning streak to six games.

Before this stretch, their longest winning streak of the season was two, and winning back-to-back games was something they had only done once. You have to go all the way back to July of 2016 to find the last time the Blue Jays have been on this long of a winning streak.
Good times!
Things worth mentioning…

We’ll start off with arguably the best defensive play we’ve seen so far this season. In the first inning, with the Rays already up 1-0, Lourdes Gurriel saved a run by throwing an absolute cannon from left field to nab Yandy Diaz at home. It was reminiscent of the legendary throw by Yoenis Cespedes back in Oakland a few years ago.

Good Lourdes, @yunitogurriel has a CANNON
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 21, 2020

Shortly after that, we got back-to-back dingers from Teoscar and Vlad, the latter of which was an insane line-drive that was just launched over the fence. Imagine if there were fans in the audience for this? Vlad hit that ball 115.9 …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

So It’s Come to This: Another Leafs Elimination Game

Well, here we are.
After Friday night’s historic comeback, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Columbus Blue Jackets will square off one more time, only this time both teams face the win-or-go-home reality.
Welcome to Game Five.
Game Four was a wild ride for Leafs fans, watching the team fall behind early and never really looking like the dominant force that many expect them to be. By the time Columbus center (and possible backwoods moonshiner) Boone Jenner scored what at the time looked to be the 3-0 dagger with less than seven minutes left in the third period, the takes, which had been free flowing all night long, were kicked into overdrive (For some. Definitely not me though. I am a cool, rational dude.)
But the Leafs, fists raised in defiance of everything this fan base has come to expect from them…they came back. They came back and they won.
And here we are.
The Leafs stayed true to form in the qualifying round, following up a wildly inconsistent season with a wildly inconsistent performance across the first four games leaving fans wondering, as they had all season, “What the hell is this team?” …

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Author: briancrd / The Leafs Nation