Lockout update! Digging into MLB’s first proposal, why the Players’ Association declined, and what’s next

It isn’t much, but, at the very least, we have something to talk about.

On Thursday, Major League Baseball presented its first labour-related proposal to the Players’ Association since the beginning of the lockout, ending what had been a 43-day stalemate.
Unfortunately (and, well, unsurprisingly) it was a very one-sided offer, one that Jeff Passan of ESPN said “did little to encourage the players and heightened the likelihood of spring training being postponed.” The meeting, which reportedly took place over the span of one hour, consisted of MLB presenting its proposal and the players agreeing to present an official counter-proposal at an unspecified time in the future.
Here’s a quick run-down of what the league presented in its offer…
A lottery for the top pick in the draft. The worst three teams are in the lottery and the winner gets the top draft pick. Also, to address tanking, teams wouldn’t be allowed in the lottery for three consecutive years. The PA has also been in favour of a lottery, but they want it expanded to eight teams to further dissuade tanking.
A draft for international players. This would scrap the current system that features an international free-agent signing window and a bonus pool system in which teams can only offer international players a certain amount of money.
An expanded post-season bracket. MLB wants to expand the playoffs to involve 14 teams, a significant jump from the current 10-team format. The players have said they’re will …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Three Stars: Maple Leafs win against McDavid-less Oilers team

It looks like Leon Draisaitl isn’t a player you can build a winning team around.
The Edmonton Oilers came into Toronto already on a four game losing streak, and it went from bad to worse as Connor McDavid tested positive for COVID-19, and left a team already struggling to score without their best player. The Leafs didn’t exactly bring their A game either, but it was still more than enough to beat a struggling Oilers team with a 4-2 win.
Three Stars
Third Star: TJ Brodie
Brodie didn’t have the strongest performance tonight, with just a 47.06% CF% and 53.27% xGF% at even strength, but he at least deserves a star just for adding to his goal streak, and scoring more goals in the last three games than he has in his Leafs career up to this point.
Second Star: Ilya Mikheyev
While the entire third line was a dominant force possession wise with a 70.59% CF% and a 61.37% xGF% at even strength, but Mikheyev gets the shoutout for the goal and looking more and more like the Mikheyev we knew in his rookie season.
First Star: William Nylander
He got one of his goals taken away tonight, but Nylander had a couple assists tonight, had a 58.82% CF% and a team leading 83.59% xGF% at even strength, and just the overall consistent force he’s bee …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

News from the Rink: Maple Leafs make some taxi squad changes and the World Juniors are cancelled

It’s an off day for the Leafs, so technically the news isn’t coming from the rink, but rather from various PR accounts.
First there were the two news stories from earlier in the day:
Timothy Liljegren has been added to the NHL COVID protocol:
Timothy Liljegren added to the Maple Leafs COVID protocol

Also Topi Niemela re-signed with his Liiga team this morning:
Maple Leafs prospect Topi Niemelä signs contract extension with Kärpät

So that brings us to the other two stories in Leafs land…

G Michael Hutchinson has been assigned to the Maple Leafs taxi squad from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
F Joey Anderson, F Kyle Clifford, D Carl Dahlström, D Filip Král and D Kristiāns Rubīns have been reassigned to the Marlies from the Maple Leafs taxi squad.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) December 29, 2021

So the taxi squad has been radically reduced, at least temporarily. It looks like Alex Biega and Michael Hutchinson are the only two players on it at the moment. It’s not likely to stay that way, but given the intention to only keep players on the taxi squad for a maximum of 20 days, this frees up the ability …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays are reportedly among the teams who have been “most aggressive” in pursuit of Seiya Suzuki

There isn’t much going on these days as we wade into the nothingness of the lockout, but we learned this weekend that the Blue Jays were among the teams who were pursuing Seiya Suzuki, an outfielder from Japan.

According to an MLB Notebook post in the Boston Sports Journal by Sean McAdam, the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox are apparently the teams who have been the “most aggressive” in pursuit of Suzuki.
The Renfroe-for-Bradley swap has more than a few people in the game believing that the Sox are intent on landing Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, whose posting process was frozen when the lockout went in effect. The thinking: Suzuki could play right field for the Sox, replacing Renfroe both defensively and as a productive right-handed bat. The Sox could then keep Kike Hernandezin center and Alex Verdugoin left. That may well be true, but though one major league source reports the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox have been the most aggressive in pursuit of Suzuki, teams can hardly be certain of the player’s attention. The Sox could, after all, be the highest bidders for Suzuki, only to learn that he would rather play on the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Three Stars: Well, that was certainly a random weekday November game

Something something progress isn’t linear.
Obviously the Leafs weren’t going to win every single game for the rest of the season, but a game against the Kings both seemed very winnable, but it also seemed like a trap game. It ended up being the latter as the Leafs played relatively well, but ran into the problem of poor officiating, getting goalied by *shudders* Jonathan Quick, and the Kings capitalizing on their mistakes.
It’s a random game on a Monday night in November, it sucks to see the winning streak end, but it probably won’t matter come playoff time.
Three Stars
Third Star: Tobias Bjornfoot
The former first round pick had another solid night on the backend, something the Kings needed with a depleted blueline. He didn’t quite stand out, but he definitely didn’t hurt the team either, and that’s all you can ask from a defenseman.
Second Star: Carl Grundstrom
Grundstrom helped ignite the scoring for the Kings tonight with an underrated job of hanging onto the puck from Michael Bunting before handing it off to Trevor Moore for the opening goal.
First Star: Trevor Moore
Speaking of Moore, his goal was pretty …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs snap their three game losing streak

Perhaps the title of this post isn’t fair. And it certainly doesn’t embrace the fact that it was fun to see the Leafs play again, and while the purpose of the preseason isn’t necessarily to win, it certainly doesn’t hurt to come away with the W, and the Leafs did tonight in a 4-1 win, and with a 2-1 shootout victory as well.
Tonight marked the anticipated return of John Tavares to the lineup, and the healthy captain potted a goal from where we’ve come to appreciate him the most, in front of the net redirecting a William Nylander shot.
Nylander, Tavares, and Jake Muzzin certainly did what we’d hope to see out of them, and played a step above the competition you see teams are playing with only half a NHL roster and shooting against AHL goaltending.
The new arrivals also put on a strong showing as Gabriel managed to end an assist short of a Gordie Howe Hat trick, Michael Bunting put in a greasy goal as well, and Josh Ho-Sang had a strong night, that might unfortunately have one bad turnover as a mark against him. It’s probably worth noting …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

An open letter to Martin Marincin

So, I guess this is goodbye, huh? Obviously this isn’t the circumstances I wanted, but hopefully you’re happy with them.
You probably don’t know who I am — but I definitely know who you are. You’re great person. A mysterious man. An elite highlight-reel goal-scorer.
It all started back on February 29th, 2020 when you scored that goal. It was truly amazing.
The smile on your face after you scored it, the joy everyone had when you put it past Thatcher Demko — each and every moment you stepped onto the ice after that — I was looking for you.
A few days after the goal, I was pressed to buy your jersey. One of my tweets hit 500 retweets and I had to answer the bell, which for me meant purchasing a possible one-in-ten Martin Marincin Leafs home jersey.
Yep. I spent $280 on that thing.
The man making the jersey wondered if I was crazy when I asked for it, to which I said “no”. But honestly, I didn’t know what was to come in the future.
Because of you, I’ve met a lot of great people online. Great isn’t even the right word — they’re incredible. …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Where the Raptors stand in the 2020-21 NBA Awards race

Toronto Raptors: Where the Raptors stand in the 2020-21 NBA Awards race

The Toronto Raptors season isn’t going as well they’d hoped but there is still an opportunity for one of their players to take home some hardware. Last offseason, the Raptors lost two important players in Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Those subtractions from the roster are a part of the problem that has been plaguing […]
Toronto Raptors: Where the Raptors stand in the 2020-21 NBA Awards race – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jeff Borsuk / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays Nation Radio Ep. 1: Taking a trip around the American League with Dan Szymborski

Welcome to Blue Jays Nation Radio!

No, it isn’t on the radio, but you get the idea. It’s our podcast (which drops every Monday Morning) in which we’ll be talking about all of the good and spicy Blue Jays-related content that you more than likely want to hear. Since we’re just a couple of big-time dumbasses, our plan is to bring as many guests into the mix who actually know what they’re talking about as possible.
And that’s exactly what we did this week! We welcomed FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski (the father of the ZiPS projection system) to the show to take us on a tour around the American League. Dan walked us through who’s bad, who’s good, and where the Blue Jays stand based on all of that. HINT: things look quite good.
Other random stuff we touched on includes… The pitching puzzle that Charlie Montoyo and The Algorithm have to sort out, being all-in on the Thin Vlad breakout, and whether Nate Pearson might wind up in an Andrew Miller-esque role this season. We also took some insane Hot Takes from the audience to finish things off, which is, as you’ …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs trade day?

So there are no guarantees in life, but today isn’t a bad day to turn on notifications for insider tweets, and to hit refresh on the @LeafsPR all day long instead of doing actual work. Thanks to the 14 day quarantine required for players crossing the border from the United States, this is one of the windows that results in the fewest number of games to that would be missed by said player in joining the Leafs. A second window like this occurs after Saturday night’s game against the Flames, but with the exception of these two occurrences, the Leafs new player would miss six games minimum in joining the club. There’s also something to be said for making moves sooner rather than later, a concept that Kyle Dubas has been fond of in the past.
What are the Leafs shopping for?
Well, the consistent leading item on the Leafs wishlist according to insiders has been a middle six forward, more or less a second line winger seems to be the target, but perhaps someone who could elevate the third line is more the reality of it. Of course this is what the ongoing rumours have been, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation