Corey Seager and Javier Baez are off the board, the Blue Jays are reportedly interested in Chris Taylor

It was always a pipedream, but the Blue Jays’ “ideal target” of Corey Seager is off the market.

Seager joined Marcus Semien, inking a massive 10-year contract worth $325 million with the Texas Rangers.
Texas spent $600 million and completely revamped their infield… but still look like complete ass?

Looks so much better when you sign the best middle infield available to you in free agency:
2B SemienSS Seager1B LoweRF CalhounCF TaverasDH CalhounLF McKinney3B Kiner-FalefaC Heim
Could maybe use another outfield bat, definitely another starting pitcher.
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) November 29, 2021

Billy McKinney batting seventh?!? I mean, hey, good on them for spending some cash on marquee free agents, but it’s sort of hilarious to see a team add two impact players and come out of it looking like they’re going to challenge to finish .500.
As much as it sucks to lose Semien and subsequently lose out on, in my mind, the best fit for the Blue Jays on the free-agent market in Seager, the positive here is that both players joined a non-competitive team. Things would be much worse if Semien and/or Seager signed with the Yankees.
Anyways, after Semien signed in Texas, Shi Davidi offered us …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Why Kevin Gausman can survive the AL East the second time around

They have finally done it. The Blue Jays have been after Kevin Gausman for ever it seems and on Sunday they landed their guy signing Gausman to a 5-Year $110 million contract.

It’s not hard to see why the Blue Jays coveted Gausman, he checks off so many boxes for this front office. First of all he is an ace. Gausman had a 2.81 ERA last season, supported by a 3.00 FIP and 3.28 xFIP. By FanGraphs WAR he was worth 4.8 wins, ranking 10th among pitchers who threw at least 50 innings.
He struck out 227 batters against just 50 walks. He has swing and miss stuff, his 15.3% swinging-strike rate, was basically the same as Robbie Ray’s last season. Second, he is durable, having made at least 30 starts in four of the last five full seasons. His 192.0 innings pitched last year were the sixth most in baseball. This is something I think the Blue Jays have focused on. In a league where starters are pitching less and less the Blue Jays will have two pitchers (of just seven) in their rotation next season who threw 190 innings last season in Gausman and José Berríos.
Third, Gausman seems like a really good person.

Put some respect on …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are among the teams in the mix for Yusei Kikuchi

The Blue Jays signed Kevin Gausman on Sunday, and it looks like they aren’t done there.

According to Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays are among the teams in the mix for lefty starter Yusei Kikuchi.

Jays are among teams in on Yusei Kikuchi. Pitching market is obvs very strong.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 29, 2021

Kikuchi signed with the Seattle Mariners out of Japan back in January of 2019 to a four-year deal with an opt-out. Kikuchi had two difficult seasons, pitched pretty well in 2021, and opted out of his deal with Seattle to explore the open market. Here we are now.
It was a tale of two seasons for Kikuchi in 2021. In the first half, he was excellent, posting a 3.34 ERA between April and June and earning an All-Star Team nod. In the second half, he was a mess, posting a 5.73 ERA between July and September. Kikuchi was bad enough down the stretch that his spot in the rotation was getting skipped as the Mariners were vying for a playoff berth.
If the Blue Jays wind up signing Kikuchi, it would essentially be as a replacement for Steve Matz, who was acquired last winter as a reclamation project after a disastrous …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

David Phelps is among the seven players the Blue Jays have invited to spring training on minor-league deals

The David Phelps era lives on!

The Blue Jays announced that seven players have been signed to minor-league contracts with an invitation to spring training. Here are some quick thoughts on each of them…
C Kellin Deglan — A 29-year-old Canadian catcher who was once a first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers. Deglan spent time between the Yankees and Blue Jays Triple-A affiliates last season and slashed a .211/.320/.358 line over 39 games. He’ll be the veteran catcher on the Bisons in 2022.
RHP Jose De Leon — A righty who has spent time in the Dodgers, Rays, Reds, and Red Sox organizations. De Leon has tossed 48 innings at the big league level and has an ERA of 8.44 but has struck out 12.6 batters per nine. Work your magic, Pete!
LHP Matt Gage — A veteran lefty, Gage has spent years in Triple-A and has had stints in Indy Ball and in Mexico. Most recently, Gage put up a 4.14 ERA between the Diamondbacks’ Double- and Triple-A affiliated over 45 innings in 2021.
RHP Casey Lawrence — A familiar name, Casey Lawrence was in the Blue Jays system from 2010 to 2016 before making his big league debut in 2017. He pitched in Japan in 2019 and rejoined the Blue Jays in 2021, where …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Kevin Gausman to a five-year contract

The Blue Jays did it, they signed Kevin Gausman to a five year, 110 million dollar contract.

BREAKING: Right-hander Kevin Gausman and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021

The 30-year-old spent his 2021 with the San Francisco Giants and posted a 2.81 ERA and a 3.00 FIP. His fWAR was a 4.8 while his bWAR was an even better 5.4. The right-hander pitched 192 innings and registered a K/9 of 10.64 while keeping his BB/9 at a minimal 2.34.
For his career, Gausman has a 4.02 ERA with a 3.88 FIP in his 1177.1 innings pitched. His K/9 stands at an 8.88 while his career BB/9 is at a low 2.64. His career 8.88 K/9 is quite misleading however, as he wasn’t a strikeout pitcher for the first part of his career. In the past three seasons, his K/9 has been:
2019: 10.03
2020: 11.92
2021: 10.64
While his ground ball percentage has dropped over the past three years, his past two seasons he’s had a GB% of 41.9%, meaning that he is a diverse pitcher that can get a batter out by strikeout or ground out.
Interestingly enough, the Giants were not able to give him a qualifying offer, meaning that the …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays add Hagen Danner, Bowden Francis, Zach Logue, and Leo Jimenez to the 40-man roster

The Blue Jays added four prospects to their 40-man roster on Friday, which represented the deadline to protect players from being eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

The prospects are… RHP Hagen Danner, RHP Bowden Francis, LHP Zach Logue, and INF Leo Jimenez. The team also claimed RHP Shaun Anderson off of waivers from the San Diego Padres.
Danner was the Blue Jays’ second-round pick in the 2017 draft. He was originally a catcher, but, after a poor hitting season for the Lansing Lugnuts in Low-A in 2019, the Blue Jays converted him into a pitcher. In his first season on the mound, Danner posted impressive numbers with the High-A Vancouver Canadians, including a 2.02 ERA and 10.6 strikeouts per nine.
Francis is the pitching prospect that the Blue Jays got back in the trade that sent Rowdy Tellez to Milwaukee and Trevor Richards to Toronto. Francis pitched 132 2/3 innings over 25 starts between Double- and Triple-A in 2021, posting a 3.93 ERA all told.
Logue was a ninth-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2017. He had unimpressive numbers in 2019 but saw a velocity uptick after working at the team’s Alternate Training Site in 2020. Logue’s results improved quite a bit in 2021, as he put up a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Why the Blue Jays were right to invest in José Berríos long-term

Yesterday morning the Blue Jays signed José Berríos to a seven year contract worth $131 million dollars. This is the largest deal the Blue Jays have given to a pitcher in club history and shows that Berríos, who was acquired from the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline, was well worth the cost of acquisition.

For the Blue Jays getting this deal done now makes a ton of sense. Berríos dazzled in his debut for the Blue Jays, and in 12 starts for the club down the stretch, he pitched to a 3.58 ERA with a 3.28 FIP. Berríos from all reports seems like a player with a good character and makeup. Something the Blue Jays clearly value highly. Berríos fit in right away and showed a willingness to make adjustments when things weren’t going well.
In an era of big velocity and high spin rate, Berríos doesn’t really have either. His primary pitch is the curveball which has a spin rate of 2338 rpm, which was middle of the pack last season, per Baseball Savant. His fastball velocity of 94.1mph, while slightly above league average, is hardly blowing anyone away these days. What Berríos does is mirror his pitches extremely well, so …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Looking Back, Looking Forward: The starting rotation wound up being a strength in 2021, but the Blue Jays have a lot of work to do to repeat that success

The Blue Jays pitching rotation was a huge question mark coming into the 2021 season.

Back in 2020, the team managed to navigate the 60-game sprint despite only really having one reliable starting pitcher most of the way. Until the team acquired Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray, and Ross Stripling ahead of the trade deadline, Hyun Jin Ryu was the only one who you could bank on going out there and throwing a good start consistently.
By the end of the 2021 season, though, starting pitching was a team strength. It didn’t look like anybody expected it would, as Ryu, ironically, was the weak link in a five-man group that went out and gave the Blue Jays a chance to win nearly every single game.
Can the rotation again be a strength for the Blue Jays in 2022?
The acquisition of the ultra-consistent Jose Berrios and the breakout showing from Alek Manoah gives the Blue Jays a nice place to start, but replacing what the team got out of Ray and Steven Matz won’t be easy.
Apr 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 55: Free agent predictions and the ideal off-season for the Blue Jays

This is the most important off-season for the Blue Jays in a long time.

The team enjoyed a breakout 91-win season in 2021, but it wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs. Two key members of the team, Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien, are free agents and the Blue Jays will need to either bring them back or replace them.
On this episode of BJN Radio, me and BK took a look at this winter’s free-agent market and made some predictions as to where players are going to end up. We talked about Corey Seager being the team’s ideal fit and whether that’s realistic, starting pitchers who might be safer bets than Ray, and some under-the-radar names such as Kyle Schwarber and Collin McHugh who could plug some major holes that existed on the roster last season.
We also went ahead and talked about what our ideal off-season would look like, through the lens of spending big dollars on either an impact bat or starting pitching.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A Modest Proposal: Fixing Service Time Manipulation in the new CBA

Three years ago, as Jays fandom was clamoring for the promotion of phenom prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr. in the waning days of the 2018 season, the subtext of that conversation was the assumption that not only would the Blue Jays not start his service time clock with a late-season promotion but they might well delay his 2019 debut in order to buy an extra year of control

The campaign for promotion was understandable, Guerrero had hit .402 in 61 games at AA (as a 19 year old) and had a .978 OPS after being promoted to Buffalo, but the hesitancy was also understandable as any front office would be negligent to not try and maximize the value of the roster not just in one season (even less a piece of a season) but over the long term. As it turned out, their expressed concerns had merit as Guerrero still had some growing to do in terms of doing the work of conditioning to maximize his natural abilities.
This conundrum, the competing instinct to promote a player you deem ready with the legitimate motivation to maximize your control of a top-tier talent, sets up an impasse that player and owner reps really should completely rethink this winter. …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation