Taking a look at the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster decisions

It’s going to be a Transaction Friday.

Tomorrow (Nov. 20) is the deadline for Major League Baseball teams to add players to their 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place in early-December.
The Blue Jays aren’t really facing a difficult roster crunch this year but there will be some interesting decisions ahead. There are a few decent prospects who might not be that far from being big-league ready who could be snagged but the team is also planning to make a handful of additions in free agency this winter.
Remember, a thing to consider with the Rule 5 Draft is that you’d rather leave a prospect off the 40-man and test your luck with having them selected by another team than you would designating them for assignment later in the off-season to make room for a free agent.
For example, a couple of years ago, the Jays lost Travis Bergen and Jordan Romano in the Rule 5 Draft but ended up getting both players back because the teams that selected them didn’t want to keep them on the active roster all season. Had the Jays added them to the 40-man and DFA’d them at …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Prospect Rankings: The Honourable Mentions

We are going to kick off our 2020 TLN Prospect Rankings with the three players who didn’t make the top 20 but are still relevant enough to make our honourable mentions.
Dmitri Ovchinnikov
Position: C
Age: 18
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 163 lbs
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2020 Round 5 #137 overall
Highest TLN Prospect Rank: 12 (By Nick DeSouza)
I personally had Ovchinnikov ranked the highest out of the TLN crew at 15. To many, Ovchinnikov was regarded as a sleeper prior to the draft and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Leafs were the ones to take him. One thing that was surprising though, was the fact that they traded up for the pick, something that we don’t usually see too often by Dubas.
Ovchinnikov is currently playing in Russia for Sibir in both the KHL and the MHL (most of his games have been with the MHL). While Ovchinnikov’s raw offensive numbers in the MHL are quite impressive, it’s his ability to transition the puck up the ice that makes me so high on him. It feels like he’s constantly generating zone entries and odd-man rushes for his team whenever he is on the ice. In the offensive zone, he has …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays are apparently interested in George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr.

I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of ‘The Blue Jays have shown interest in _________’ this winter.

Most recently, the said-to-be-very-aggressive Blue Jays have reportedly shown interest in the two top centre fielders on the free-agent market, George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr. Jon Heyman talked about it on MLB Network’s Big Time Baseball on Monday and Tim Kelly of WEEI (a Boston radio station) pointed it out.
Anyways, this type of report is no surprise because, through the first couple weeks of the off-season, all we’ve heard is that the Blue Jays have been aggressive and that they’re poised for a big splash. Both of these free agents are names who makes all kinds of sense for the team to add because of the glaring hole at centre field.
As of right now, Randal Grichuk is the team’s centre fielder. He had a decent offensive season in 2020, slashing a .273/.312/.481 line (112 wRC+) with 12 home runs across 231 plate appearances. His defensive metrics suggest that he was poor in centre field but, personally, I figure the eye-test says otherwise. Grichuk, bat and glove considered, is a fine centre fielder, but he isn’t great.


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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

What would a Francisco Lindor trade realistically look like? Is it worth it for the Blue Jays?

Francisco Lindor is going to be traded before the start of the 2021 season.

This obviously isn’t a surprise. Cleveland, a notoriously cheap baseball franchise at the best of times, was never going to hand Lindor the over $300 million contract it would take to keep him around long-term.
After losing a season of ticket revenue, any faint chance of offering Lindor a contract has gone out the window. I mean, back in October, Lindor literally laughed at the idea of Cleveland offering him a big contract, so it was pretty obvious he had played his last game for the organization at that point.
Anyways, according to Bob Nightengale, Cleveland has informed other teams around the league that they intend to trade their All-Star shortstop ahead of the 2021 season…

Cleveland, strapped for money, intend to trade All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor by opening day, several rival teams have been informed. Lindor earned $17.5 million last season and is projected to earn about $21 million in salary arbitration in his final year before free agency
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 5, 2020

If times were normal, we might see Cleveland go into the season with Lindor on the team and try to get a massive haul for him …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Matt Shoemaker says the Blue Jays could face a hurdle signing free agents due to COVID-19

This is going to be a weird off-season.

The COVID-19 landscape will have ramifications on the entire league and this winter’s free agency class will certainly feel it. Many teams will be reluctant to spend big dollars in free agency this year due to the fact that owners lost a whole bunch of cash by not having fans in the seats.
From a Blue Jays’ perspective, they’re going to have to work around the uncertainty of not necessarily knowing where they’re going to play next year. Matt Shoemaker went on Sportsnet’s The Good Show on Wednesday and spoke about the challenges the organization will likely face…
“If COVID-19 is still a factor … that could play a huge aspect in anybody coming to Toronto, and hopefully it doesn’t,” Shoemaker said on Sportsnet’s “The Good Show” on Wednesday. “I think in general, before this season, everybody loves coming to Toronto when they play them on the road.
But I think it’s semi-tough for people to go to Toronto over a picking a different team in a regular season because some people are intimidated about going over the border.
“If Toronto wants you and they want …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Pros and cons of the Leafs signing Wayne Simmonds

It is going to be an interesting day in the hockey world. With the NHL Entry Draft tonight, there will be rumours about potential trades and signings flying around all day. Many of which could be about Toronto, a team that is expected to be very busy during this time. The first Toronto-related rumour of the day came from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic: 

Hearing that the Maple Leafs have genuine interest in pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds at the right price. They have him listed as a target once free agency opens Friday. Again, would need to be a reasonable contract for it to work. But Leafs have sincere interest there.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 6, 2020

Toronto is looking to become a “tougher team to play against”. In the past, Dubas has alluded to valuing tough players but making sure they also play well is what makes it difficult. He has traded for Jake Muzzin and Kyle Clifford in the past, along with signing free agent Ilya Mikheyev. Looking for “gritty players” isn’t really something new for Dubas.
Simmonds spent the past season with the New Jersey Devils and the Buffalo Sabres. He had 25 points in 68 games while fulfilling …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 5 things we’ll remember the most from Marc Gasol

If you haven’t already heard, Marc Gasol is going to finish his career at FC Barcelona, meaning it puts an end to his wonderful time for the Toronto Raptors. 2772 minutes. That’s how many total minutes Marc Gasol has played in a Toronto Raptors jersey and we’re going to be reviewing 2579 minutes and 15 seconds […]
Toronto Raptors: 5 things we’ll remember the most from Marc Gasol – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Dawson Mercer?

The Leafs’ salary cap situation is going to be tight for the foreseeable future, and there probably isn’t going to be much money to go around for the bottom half of the lineup. Being able to identify cost effective options, including players on entry level contracts will be paramount for Kyle Dubas as he looks to insulate his talented core with reliable depth pieces. Dawson Mercer of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the QMJHL is one of the most intelligent and reliable players in this draft, but also boasts enough offensive ability to have climbed all the way up into the middle of the first round in most draft rankings.
Mercer started last year with Drummondville and produced at an impressive rate with 42 points in 26 games. That production, along with his smarts and work ethic, helped earn him a spot on Canada’s World Junior roster. He was held off the score sheet in the tournament, but even making the team and earning minutes on the fourth line was notable for a first-year draft eligible player. Mercer was traded to Chicoutimi following the WJC and his pace slowed as he adjusted to his new surroundings, finishing with 18 points in 16 games …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Espinal, Drury, and Panik will split time at short in Bo Bichette’s absence

Navigating Bo Bichette’s injury obviously isn’t going to be easy for the Blue Jays.

Bichette, as of right now, is the team’s best player, and, just as he was starting to really get heated up at the plate, the team’s offence finally broke out largely because of him.
Charlie Montoyo spoke on Monday about how he’s going to handle the shortstop position in Bo’s absence, suggesting that he’ll roll with a combination of Brandon Drury, Joe Panik, and Santiago Espinal at the position.

Charlie Montoyo on what happens next with the #BlueJays shortstop position: pic.twitter.com/SQyX4BjLU2
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) August 17, 2020

There isn’t really anybody down at the Alternate Training Site who can step in and fill Bo’s shoes. I mean, I’m sure we’d all love to see a top prospect like Jordan Groshans or Austin Martin get a crack to see what they can do in this weirdo season, but there’s obviously no way the Blue Jays will start either top prospect’s service time right now.
Apparently, they’re …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs Management press availability offers little in the way of optimism

Brendan Shanahan: “Words aren’t going to fix this.”
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 12, 2020

This quote from Brendan Shanahan speaks largely to the tone of the Leafs Management press availability. There was no comfort to be found here. No excuses. No blame. What we found was Dubas is unwilling to put any of this on individuals, and there is still a united front of optimism around this group, either rightly or wrongly.
I couldn’t help but feel that Shanahan came across most displeased of the group, and that could lead to interesting speculation in the future, especially with a talented GM candidate like Laurence Gilman waiting in the wings, and Bruce Boudreau available for hire.
For now, we’ll assume the band will be back together next year.

Brendan Shanahan: “I have complete faith in Kyle as a general manager, in Sheldon as a coach and complete confidence in what we’re going to do here in Toronto.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 12, 2020

Take votes of confidence with a grain of salt in hockey, but nothing to date leads us to believe that Shanahan isn’t a man of his word. He’s certainly going to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation