Leafs take on the Canucks – and try to avoid a trap game

The Canucks have landed on the east coast, and tonight they play the Leafs for their first of three in a row and nine this season. The Leafs are coming off four days of rest after an overtime loss to Edmonton, and though their last game was a loss, they are on a five game point streak. Meanwhile, the Canucks are struggling this season, and just lost two in a row to Montreal.
While most agree that a matchup against the Canucks should be a fairly easy win for the Leafs, the concern for Toronto is to avoid a trap game. Additionally, four days of rest should have them feeling fresh, but it could also mean that they struggle to start on time and get their legs going. The Leafs need to approach this game as though it’s going to be a tough matchup no matter what if they want to get back on a winning streak.
Sheldon Keefe continues to tinker with player rotations, adding Nic Petan to the lineup for tonight’s game. The Leafs are still without Joe Thornton, Nicholas Robertson, and Jack Campbell. While Alexander Kerfoot seemed to be dealing with something earlier in the …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Updates on Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, and Masahiro Tanaka (and what it means for the Blue Jays)

The Blue Jays landed the biggest fish on the free-agent market last week and now things are seemingly starting to pick up all around the league.

The two remaining top-tier free agents, Trevor Bauer and J.T. Realmuto, are apparently closing in on deals while Masahrio Tanaka might be headed back to Japan. What does this all mean for the Blue Jays?
First, we have this Bauer update from Bob Nightengale of USA Today which says that the reigning National League Cy Young winner is closing in on a deal with the New York Mets…

The New York Mets have formally offered free-agent starter Trevor Bauer a contract that would make him one of baseball’s highest-paid players on an annual average salary, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The deal would approach — but not eclipse — New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole’s $36 million average value on his nine-year, $324 million contract signed a year ago, and it would be much shorter in length, said the person, who was granted anonymity because of the on-going negotiations.

This is a very oddly-worded report because it indicates that Bauer is going to sign this record-breaking deal, one …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How much better does George Springer make the Blue Jays?

The Blue Jays have done it. They landed the big fish in free agency, signing George Springer to a 6yr $150M deal, the largest contract given out in franchise history. Springer is one of the best hitters in the league and plays solid defence in centre field. This is a massive addition for the franchise.
Before we go any further, it’s best to address the elephant in the room. Springer coming from the Houston Astros was a part of their cheating scandal of 2017. He had a great season in ‘17, but has had even better offensive seasons in 2019 and 2020 when the cheating stopped. This article from Jake Mailhot on Fangraphs, breaks down the banging scheme and how it helped each Astro hitter. On Springer this is what Mailhot found:
“George Springer was unable to take advantage of the trash can system when the game was on the line or when the game was all but decided, but he really thrived in medium leverage situations.”
This suggests that Springer’s overall production wasn’t affected as much as some of the other Astro hitters. He obviously cheated and participated in the sign stealing, this isn’t a justification. It’s just …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

How genuine was the Blue Jays’ pursuit of Gerrit Cole?

The Blue Jays landed their monster free agent fish in the form of Hyun-Jin Ryu, but Gerrit Cole may have been “the one that got away.”
The Yankees signed the 29-year-old to a staggering nine-year, $324 million contract, and it’s hard to imagine any other team coming close to what the Bronx Bombers offered Cole. What about a franchise like the Toronto Blue Jays, flush with cash and with one of the lowest active payrolls in baseball next season?
This report hasn’t been corroborated anywhere else, but Joey Vendetta mentioned this interesting tidbit a few days ago on Sportsnet 590 The FAN.
Mike, if you’re a Toronto Blue Jays fan and you heard what I heard, and I heard it from a reliable source — a very reliable source — someone that knows the front office that’s involved with the running of the team – I don’t know if you heard this, they offered $300 million to Gerrit Cole to become a Toronto Blue Jay.
$300 million for Cole? That would’ve been a competitive offer for his services, but any rumour about the Blue Jays putting in a bid like …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation