Meet the Sellers: Cincinnati Reds

It’s late May, which means that it’s not too early to look at players the Jays could trade for at the upcoming trade deadline.

Today, we’ll be looking at the Cincinnati Reds, timely, right?
Preface: I started writing for Blue Jays Nation just over a year ago. One of the first articles I wrote was about which Rockie players would have fit on the Jays. As I was new to writing, I included hypothetical trades to get Trevor Story and German Marquez.
However, I want to steer clear of naming particular prospects in this series.
Joey Votto:
I feel the inclusion of Votto here is necessary, despite not really wanting the first baseman on the team for a multitude of reasons.
Statistics:
At one point, I’d give my first born to the Jays if they were to acquire the Canadian first baseman. However, his numbers have taken a huge hit in the 2022 season. Thus far in 94 plate appearances, he’s slashing .128/.277/.154 with a wRC+ of 37.
He has yet to hit a homer and his K% has been blown up to 30.9%, well above his career average of 18.4%. In fact, his numbers have been so bad that he has a -1.1 fWAR, well below average.
Last season, the then 37-year old slashed .266/.375/.563 with 36 homers (one less than his career high) and a wRC+ of 140. Votto contracted COVID, which halted the start of his season, so it’s safe to assume that the 38-year-old would likely bounce back.

JOEY VOTTO HAS DONE IT AGAIN!! A FRANCHISE RE …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

It looks like the Blue Jays have signed Dexter Fowler to a minor-league deal

There’s a late addition to Blue Jays’ camp.

According to Keegan Matheson of MLB.com, Dexter Fowler has joined the team in Dunedin and it’s expected that the Blue Jays are going to sign him to a minor-league contract.

#BlueJays expected to sign OF Dexter Fowler to a Minor League deal with an invitation to MLB camp, per source.
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) March 30, 2022

Now 36 years old, Fowler last played with the Los Angeles Angels. He only appeared in seven games for L.A. in 2021, as his season was derailed early on when he fractured his leg sliding into second base in a game against the Blue Jays.
Fowler has played 1,460 games in the big leagues over the course of 14 seasons, but he’s probably best known for his time with the Chicago Cubs, as he helped the team end their 108-year World Series drought in 2016.
The Blue Jays actually tried to sign Fowler after that season, offering him a four-year, $64-million deal, but he wound up signing a five-year, $84 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals instead. The Cardinals dumped Fowler in 2021, the final year of that contract, on the Angels and paid $14.75 million of the $16.5 million owed in the deal’s final year.
Fowler is a switch hitter with experience in centre field, though he hasn’t played there since the 2019 season, so this addition makes sense for the Blue Jays from a depth perspective.
I would assume that Fowler heads to Triple-A Buffalo out of camp. The Blue Jays have two open 40-man roster spots which seem likely to be filled up by David Phelps and Greg Bird. Fowler could find himself in the mix for a call-up if somebody gets injured at the big league level. …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Why Playing Story at Second Base is a bad idea for the Red Sox

In the late article last night, I clowned the New York Yankees for essentially taking on the Twins’ high earner, allowing the team from Minnesota to sign Carlos Correa.

Today, I’ll be clowning the Boston Red Sox for signing Trevor Story.

Trevor Story is in agreement with the Red Sox: 6 years, $140M. There is a player opt out after year 4. Boston can negate by picking up a 7th-yr option. If so the deal is 7-$160M
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 20, 2022

In terms of his bat, this is actually a wonderful signing, as it’s a 6 year, $150 million contract with a few opt outs. The issue is the fact that they plan to continue to play Xander Bogarets at shortstop, while moving Trevor Story to second base.
I actually proposed something like this last season when I wrote an article about why the Blue Jays should trade for German Marquez and Trevor Story. In my proposal, the latter would have been playing third base, as it was a problem area for the team. 
However, playing Bogarets at shortstop over Story is a dumb idea.

Trevor Story has agreed to play 2B for Boston. Xander Bogaerts, the longtime Red Sox SS w/2 rings, will remain at SS for Boston for 2022. Bogaerts has an opt out after the season he is sure to exercise, so potentially (if Bogaerts leaves), Story could move back to SS next season.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 20, 2022

Defense is just as important as offense:
I use the advanced stat, Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) quite often in my articles. Basically it’s a fancy way of saying how many runs did a defender save if 0 is the average.
In Story’s 6304.2 innings played at short, he has a total DRS of 69 (nice), with a DRS of 9 last season. His Ultimate Zone Rating, which factors in range …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Jonathan Villar declines a one-year, $6 million contract + incentives

Who doesn’t love late night rumours? Per Hector Gomez, the Jays offered 30-year-old utility infielder Jonathan Villar a one year, $6 million dollar contract.

SOURCE: Jonathar Villar turned down a $6.5 million, one-year deal offer, plus $1.0 million incentives from the #BlueJays. https://t.co/c8z8UYvd31
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) March 13, 2022

My thoughts? Good, he isn’t good.
March 12th edit:
Unfortunately, my editor told me I have to actually write this article, so let’s go into why it’s good that Villar declined this contract.
His first tenure didn’t go great:
This isn’t the first time the Jays have had an interest in the infielder, in fact, they traded prospect Griffin Conine for Villar in 2020. He wasn’t very good. In 79 plate appearances, he slashed .188/.278/.481 without a home run. He also had a rather high K% of 27.8%, but this number is only slightly elevated from his career 26.5% K%. He also stole 7 bases in all of his attempts, but had issues running the bases, being picked off multiple times.
It’s a small sample size, but that’s not all.
He’s a bad teammate:

Looked as though Jonathan Villar picked up his equipment and left the dugout after the #BlueJays pinch hit for him in the top of the seventh pic.twitter.com/P6o8hVmRor
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) September 29, 2020

The guy picked up his things and walked out of the Jays dugout after being pinched hit. This was in game one of what would be only two games in the 2020 playoffs. My message to Villar: Don’t play like crap and you won’t get pulled.
He didn’t have a great 2021:
Villar slashed .249/.322/.738 in 505 plate appearances in the past season. He added an additional 15 homers, but his K% was still on the high side at 26.1%. His wRC+ totaled 105, slightly above average, but still not the replacement you’d expect at third base.
He also had his lowest succes …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs lack of interest in trading prospects means dialing back trade deadline expectations

Late last night Elliotte Friedman put out his written version of 32 Thoughts. My favourite version of 32 Thoughts. And one that included a couple of Leafs’ tidbits for us to dissect today.
Perhaps the most significant point on the Leafs was Thought #9:
Toronto’s made it clear they desire to hold Matthew Knies and Topi Niemela — especially for rentals or shorter-term options. Nick Robertson for a rental seems unlikely. I suspect that, after the Olympics, Nick Abruzzese moved towards this group, as well. They don’t have a ton of draft picks, but feel very good about their prospects.
So there’s a lot there in a shorter thought. We get that of the Leafs’ prospects Knies and Niemela are the most valued, and this makes some sense. Niemela could be a special player, and Knies is a player that could address the Leafs’ long-term need for a big body capable of playing in the top six.
Not making Nick Robertson available for a rental makes sense too, and while I can appreciate Nick Abruzzese being a prospect to be excited about, I might draw the line after the other three, and leave Abruzzese as an option. The fact that the organization knows Nick Abruzzese very well could be why they want to work with him.
On the other hand, this could all be posturing and the Leafs want to emphasize how difficult it is to part ways with one of their bel …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors mock draft roundup: Toronto gambles on potential, scoring

Raptors mock draft roundup: Toronto gambles on potential, scoring

The Toronto Raptors have been on a hot streak of late, but that hasn’t stopped the Raptors mock draft wizards from figuring out what Masai Ujiri is going to do when the 2022 NBA Draft rolls around. There are some noteworthy holes that need addressing on this team. The Raptors need a backup point guard, […]
Raptors mock draft roundup: Toronto gambles on potential, scoring – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The salary cap is back to increasing and how that affects the Leafs

The salary cap is back to increasing and how that affects the Leafs

The late Notorious B.I.G. claimed with more money comes more problems. Respectfully, he was a company owned by two telecommunications monopolies who certainly don’t share the same concerns as multi-platinum record selling rappers or you or I.
That’s partially why the modest increase of $1M in the salary cap for next season is a nice little benefit for the Leafs to operate with, even if more money would alleviate more of their problems.

As reported, #NHL salary cap will rise to $82.5 million next year (up $1 mil) with HRR projected at $5.2 billion.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 10, 2021

So yeah, we’ll take it. Considering the Leafs have contracts for Jack Campbell, Ondrej Kase, Ilya Mikheyev, Jason Spezza, Pierre Engvall, Kristians Rubins, Joseph Woll, Rasmus Sandin, and Timothy Liljegren to get sorted out, and only $5.3M (NOW $6.3M) worth of cap space to work with to fill at minimum six roster spots. So, yeah, there’s going to be more work that needs to be done, but potentially they’ve got the coin to at least get Jack Campbell signed. It also saves the Leafs from cutting one of their higher salaried players loose. Every little bit helps. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed reliever Yimi Garcia

A late Friday transaction! That’s what you love to see!

According to Jon Morosi, who cites former All-Star Carlos Baerga’s Instagram, the Blue Jays have signed relief pitcher Yimi Garcia. Baerga has been right about stuff in the past and I can’t possibly imagine anybody making up a fake transaction in regards to Yimi Garcia, so this seems legit.

Yimi García has agreed to a contract with #BlueJays, source confirms. Credit to Carlos Baerga, the 3-time All-Star infielder, for breaking the news on Instagram. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 28, 2021

So, who’s Yimi Garcia?
He broke into the big leagues with the Dodgers in 2014, pitched a lot in 2015, got hurt in 2016, missed all of 2017, and came back as a pretty effective arm in 2019. The Dodgers cut Garcia loose after that and he signed with the Marlins, where he would toss 15 scoreless innings in the shortened 2020 season.
Garcia was again good for the Marlins in 2021, as he put up a 3.47 ERA over 39 outings, though he outperformed his peripherals, 8.7 strikeouts per nine and 3.3 walks per nine. He was flipped to the Houston Astros ahead of the trade deadline and had the opposite situation, an ugly 5.48 ERA with good …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Scenes from the gameday skate: Kaše out, Kämpf a game time decision for the Leafs and Reimer in for the Sharks

It’s another late night tonight, so slip on your PJs, brew a pot of coffee and see if the Leafs can go 2 for 2 to start their California roadtrip.

Ondrej Kase is out tonight, per coach Sheldon Keefe
Kirill Semyonov draws in@TSN_Edge
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) November 26, 2021

It seems like the past 21 games has been an exercise in understanding why Kase has missed so much time in his career. He plays an incredibly reckless style and doesn’t seem to have much regard for his health, at least within the designated hours of gametime. It seems like a good decision to pull him out and let him heal up and probably needs to be load managed to some extent throughout the season.
Semyonov coming in is another chance to get a look at a player who showed a lot of promise in the preseason and has fit with the low event style of play the Leafs are looking for from their third line.

Sheldon Keefe says David Kampf is a game-time decision
He skated again this morning & Kyle Clifford has stayed out late with the scratches so … looking like Kampf will be able to go tonight at SJ@ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays’ playoff odds have gone up 28 percent in the past week

In late August when the Blue Jays opened up their series in Detroit with a 2-1 loss to the Tigers, it looked like the season was over.

Since then? Things have completely turned around. They won their next two in Detroit, took two of three from Baltimore in a series that was tighter than it should have been, swept Oakland in a huge three-game swing, and they’ve now taken the first two games at Yankee Stadium.
Most recently, the Blue Jays pulled off a game that most of us assumed was a scheduled loss, as Steven Matz outdueled Gerrit Cole, who would leave his start early with what’s being called “hamstring tightness.” Six innings of one-run ball from Matz in The Bronx and three runs in three-and-two-thirds against Cole? Damn, things are looking up.
The Blue Jays are on a season-high six-game winning streak and everything is going their way right now.
They made up three games against Oakland by sweeping that series and now they’ve made up two on New York with a chance to make up two more. Elsewhere, Seattle just had a late-game implosion against the Astros and have lost two in a row, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation