Digging into eight proposed trades involving Blue Jays catchers!

It’s the time of year when we all make hypothetical trade suggestions. It doesn’t help that this off-season has felt incredibly slow. Grab a snack and get curled up, this article is going to be a long one.

A few days ago, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic wrote an article pitching eight trades involving Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk. She spoke with the other team’s beat writers of The Athletic to compile these trades, while former general manager Jim Bowden gave his assessment.
As a somewhat rational Jay fan, I also wanted to take a look at these trades and give my opinion. The fact of the matter is that some of these trades actually make sense, and I want to dig into those ones in particular.
We’ll start by looking at Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk by the numbers and attempt to gauge their value.
Danny Jansen:
The 2022 season was a career year for the 27-year-old catcher, at least with the bat. He slashed .260/.339/.516 in 248 plate appearances and had a 10.1 K% and 17.7 BB% during that time.
Where he really impressed though, was the fact that he hit a career-high 15 homers in such a short span, which was good enough for a 140 wRC+ and 2.6 fWAR.

FREE TIP: To shift Danny Jansen, place your outfielders BEHIND the wall pic.twitter.com/N7y35YnNoG
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 27, 2022

Defensively, he just hasn’t been the same as his 2019, whe …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

What’s going right and what’s going wrong for the Leafs a quarter of the way through the season

What’s going right and what’s going wrong for the Leafs a quarter of the way through the season

The Leafs season has reached the quarter mark, and it’s been quintessentially Leafy. The Leafs stunk up October, reminded us that they are for real in November, and along the way have had five of their key defensemen and both of their NHL goaltenders miss a significant amount of time. In the spirit of the season being 1/4 over, I’ve asked the TLN crew what is their biggest positive and negative of the season so far. Here are their answers.
Scott Ony
The biggest positive for me has been the play of John Tavares. I expected him to be a massive disappointment this season but he has been a pleasant surprise and is on pace for his most points since his first season in Toronto. I thought the speed of the game would pass him by but he just does all the little things right and continues to rack up the points.
Although he has played fairly well in his four games the biggest disappointment is Matt Murray. Who would have thought a goalie who hasn’t made more than 30 starts since 2019-20 would run into injury issues? If he can somehow manage to stay healthy the move to acquire him might look okay but at this point, it’s a huge miss.
Bennett Jull
The b …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Spending the Leafs LTIR cap relief on defense: Rumours

Spending the Leafs LTIR cap relief on defense: Rumours

It’s not yet confirmed that Jake Muzzin is out for the year, but the media (ourselves included) have decided to start spending the cap relief money for Kyle Dubas even though he hasn’t asked anyone to. It’s important to note that some of that cap relief will already be spent thanks to the Leafs always being a little bit over the cap without LTIR this year, but the Leafs are still likely looking at an easy path to $4.5M of available relief using a 21 player roster, or if they wanted to waive Justin Holl and go with a 20 player roster the Leafs would have the full $5.6M of cap relief from Muzzin at their disposal. This is all before considering salary retention or sending money/players out in the trade as well. Basically, it seems like any player is fair game at the moment for the Leafs and that’s a dangerous way to let this market think.
Frank Seravalli suggests six defensemen for the Leafs…
In his article yesterday at DFO, Frank suggested the following six defensemen as replacements for Jake Muzzin:
John Klingberg
Vladislav Gavrikov
Matt Roy
Carson Soucy
Nick Jensen
Dmitri Orlov
Matt Dumba as an honourable mention
I’m going to start off by saying I’d much rather see the Leafs take the Muzzin cap relief and put it toward a high end forward, but since Frank is looking at defensemen that’s what we’ll talk about here.
John Klingberg is following up an underwhelming year with a bad start to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Checking in on Blue Jays players playing in the Dominican Winter League

The great thing about baseball is that it’s a year round sport, even if Major League Baseball ends in a week.

The Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) and Mexican Pacific Winter League are in full swing now, so how are Jays players doing for their respective teams? Let’s look at a former top 100 prospect to begin.
Nate Pearson:
After pitching in the big leagues in 2020 and 2021, Nate Pearson missed all of the 2022 season. First by contracting mononucleosis, then suffering a lat strain in a rehab game. The story of his career thus far has been injuries, but unlucky injuries. No better example of this than getting hit with a comebacker at the start of the 2018 minor league season, which broke his ulna (forearm).
To get innings, Pearson headed to the Dominican Republic to play for the Tigres de Licey. In his five innings, he hasn’t allowed an earned run, while owning a 25 K% and a 6.25 BB%. Pearson has been used mainly as a high-leverage reliever which is a good sign.
I think as the years go by, his ceiling leans more toward a high-leverage reliever, rather than a starter or a bulk reliever. Although some may argue that Pearson becoming a reliever may “lessen” his value, having a guy throwing 100 mph out of the bullpen is super important.
It will be interesting to see the organization’s plan for the 26-year-old righty heading into his eighth season with the team.
Rainer Nunez:
Rainer Nunez is the only other Blue …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Unlucky Pierre: A slow start for Engvall hurts the Leafs

Unlucky Pierre: A slow start for Engvall hurts the Leafs

It’s pretty early but it’s safe to say that an 87.9 PDO is ungood. Welcome to the first six games of Pierre Engvall’s season. On a team that hasn’t been performing up to standard to start the year, Engvall’s 85% on-ice save percentage and 2.79% on-ice shooting percentage combine to be the team’s worst PDO, slightly behind fellow bottom sixers like Zach Aston-Reese and Nic Aube-Kubel. It would seem that neither Engvall nor Aston-Reese are thriving in the suppression setting and need to drive the puck up the ice a bit more than the Leafs have been trying to do with them on the ice.
The things that you’d hope to see Engvall doing well, he still seems to be doing. When you look at the shot attempts against when he’s on the ice, his CA/60 is 51.37, one of the better results on the Leafs, but it’s the quality of those chances that have been concerning as his scoring chance against, expected goals against, and high danger shot attempts against rates are all towards the middle of the pack for the Leafs, leading to his goals against rate being one of the worst on the Leafs.
With dwindling offensive opportunities, Engvall’s “for” percentages have …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Do early season games matter for the Maple Leafs?

Do early season games matter for the Maple Leafs?

It’s the beginning of a new hockey season, meaning it’s the best possible time for overreacting. Is your team undefeated? They’re a cup contender. Winless? Better hunker down for a long season of watching Connor Bedard highlights and playing draft lottery simulators. Of course, we all know it’s ridiculous to draw conclusions about anything based on the beginning of the season. This is especially true for the Leafs, as their season will be judged on playoff performance. But that doesn’t necessarily mean early games are entirely meaningless. Getting off to a good start is essential, setting the tone for a long 82-game season. But just how meaningful are early season games? How difficult is it to overcome a slow start? To hold on to standings position after a hot start? Let’s take a look at some teams in recently who show us some answers.
We’ll start by going six years back, to the 2016-17 season, taking a look at the three most recent seasons that were on a “normal schedule” unaffected by the pandemic. Taking a look at the standings on December 1st, the Montreal Canadiens sat atop the Eastern conference, while the Chicago Blackhawks had the top spot in the West. By the en …

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Author: Jaden Ho / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays, Position by Position: A three-man catching tandem? Or a trade?

Although the 2022 season is ongoing, unfortunately, it’s not for the Toronto Blue Jays. That means we have to look at the past season in retrospect, as well as look ahead to the future. 

This is a new series, which will focus on the current roster, position by position. As you can presume by the title, we’ll be looking at catchers and how they did in 2022, who’s pushing the issue in the minors, and what may happen to the position in the off season.
How did the Blue Jays catchers do in 2022:
It’s not unfair to say that the Jays had two of the best catchers in the MLB, as well as one of the best catching (and overall) prospects coming into 2022. Let’s see how each of them did.
Alejandro Kirk:
I think it’s fair to say that Alejandro Kirk was the best all-around catcher in the majors this season. Prior to the start of the season, I had said he was “average” defensively, but Kirk proved me and everyone wrong by posting some of the best defensive numbers behind the plate.
In my opinion, the best all-around defensive catching metric is Baseball Prospectus’ Catching Defensive Adjustment (CDA). This tool measures three of the most important defensive actions a catcher can do, framing, blocking, and throwing.
In 2022, Kirk had a 12.1 CDA, which ranked third in the league and second in the American League (next to Jose Trevino …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Looking way ahead to the 2023 draft: The Blue Jays will pick 20th, an early look at draft prospects and more!

With the Jays out of the playoffs, it’s time to look ahead to the 2023 season. More specifically, the 2023 draft.

As you know, the Jays were eliminated from the playoffs last Saturday, swept by the lower-seed Seattle Mariners. It was a bitter pill to swallow, as they were considered to be World Series contenders in 2022. 
I’ll eventually write my thoughts on what exactly went wrong, and what needs to be changed, but we’ll just focus on some good that came out of being bounced so quickly.
The Jays will select 20th overall:
Unlike last season, the draft ranking isn’t determined by where teams finish in the standings, but by a lottery. While the Jays won’t partake in that, they’ll be affected by the changes regarding the playoffs.
Teams that are bounced in the wildcard round, will pick after the 18 teams that didn’t make it. These four teams are the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York lolMets.
The 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd overall picks have been determined by record, meaning that the Rays will pick 19th, the Jays 20th, and the St. Louis Cardinals 21st. While the Mets would usually get the 22nd, they pick drops ten spots due to being way over the luxury tax. Have fun signing all your free agents, lolMets.
If you’re wondering, yes, the fact that the Jays picked a few spots below the World Series winning Atlanta Braves in the 2022 draft absolutely irks me to t …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Which zones do Leafs players thrive in?

It’s been a while since I sat down and did some high school math level analysis of the Leafs, and that’s exactly what I did last night. I was curious about what parts of the rink Leafs players are thriving in and how tilted are the Leafs towards being an offensive team.
I decided to start by putting the 5v5 for and against stats for Corsi, goals, and expected goals into league-wide percentiles (with a minimum of 200 minutes played) and then looking at the trends around the for and against stats while factoring in time on ice to identify any excessive sheltering. (For example, Nic Aube-Kubel had strong defensive numbers, but was heavily sheltered, only playing in the 7th percentile of 5v5 ice time.)
I broke the players into the following groups with the following definitions:
200ft player: They would need to be above the 70th percentile in both for and against stats, as well as being in the 70th percentile for time on ice. Basically, you can’t be a 200-foot player if your coach is afraid to put you out there.
Offensive player: You are in the 70th percen …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rielly vs. Sandin on the right side, why Robertson will have to wait, and not shopping the waiver wire: Leaflets

Rielly vs. Sandin on the right side, why Robertson will have to wait, and not shopping the waiver wire: Leaflets

It feels like it’s been a long ass week. I had to check to see when the last time I wrote a Leaflets post was because it seems like it’s been forever. It was apparently last week. Maybe the rest of you aren’t struggling with the passage of time as much as I am, but I’m sure this pointless article intro is giving you some of that experience. Anyway, here are some bite-sized thoughts on the Leafs heading into a week filled with cuts and Justin Holl trade rumours.
Rielly vs. Sandin on the right side
A lot was made during the contract process that Rasmus Sandin didn’t want any part of playing on his unfavoured side. Or maybe that is something we just started putting out there to justify the delays in negotiations.
A lot has also been made of Morgan Rielly’s willingness to play on the right side, and Sheldon Keefe’s quit reaction of pointing out that he’s giving Rielly his reps there but doesn’t have much interest in moving him off the left side.
In reality, both of these players have a good chance of seeing the majority of their season on the left side, because injuries happen and that’s why Victor Mete and Jordie Benn are here, to take the guess …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation