Mark Shapiro: “The bulk of our heavy lifting is done” but there’s room for the Blue Jays “to be creative”

George Springer was officially introduced as a Toronto Blue Jay on Wednesday via video call.

To give a short summary…
Springer said that he was excited to join the Blue Jays’ exciting core and that he respected how the front office really believed in their young players. He also noted that the uncertainty around playing in Toronto in 2021 wasn’t at all a factor in his decision to sign, which is funny because multiple national writers were adamant this would hold the team back.
The most interesting part of the call came when Mark Shapiro spoke about what the front office’s plans are for the rest of the off-season…

Mark Shapiro: “the bulk of our heavy lifting is done” for free agents this off-season. Adds, there are “opportunities for Ross and baseball operations to be creative.”
The Blue Jays are targeting another starting pitcher or two, so that likely means if they come, it’s via trade
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) January 27, 2021

Shapiro says that the bulk of the heavy lifting is finished for the winter but there’s still room for the front office to be creative. That would mean that the team isn’t going to be in the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

George Springer is officially a Blue Jay! (with a front-loaded contract)

It’s officially official — the Toronto Blue Jays announced George Springer’s six-year, $150 million contract on Saturday.

Boy, it still feels nice to type that out. Though I wasn’t really worried that this deal was going to fall through, there was a small  sense of anxiety after the whole Michael Brantley gong show, so the contract finally being made official is soothing for all us overly-anxious weirdos.
Springer’s deal, of course, is the biggest in Blue Jays’ history, breaking the record that was set all the way back in 2006 when Vernon Wells was given a seven-year, $126 million deal. It also dwarfs the biggest free-agent signing the franchise has made, which was Russell Martin’s five-year, $80 million deal.
That’s a lot of cash, but Springer has certainly earned it. Between 2017 and 2020, only five outfielders have produced more WAR than Springer (Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, Aaron Judge, and Cody Bellinger). And then there’s also his incredible playoff stats, a .269/.349/.546 slash line over 292 post-season plate appearances and 19 homers, tied for fourth all-time.
So, there was never any doubt that Springer was going to get paid, and it’s great that the Blue Jays were the ones …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Thomas Pannone and Forrest Wall among Blue Jays’ minor-leaguers who became free agents

Major League Baseball free agency officially began yesterday.

While the big names like Trevor Bauer and George Springer and Marcus Stroman and so on will dominate people’s attention, there are also 422 minor-league players who also hit the open market yesterday. The Blue Jays had 18 players become free agents.
Here are they are, courtesy of Baseball America…
Deiferson Barreto, Andrew Burns, Patrick Cantwell, Ryan Dull, James Dykstra, Conor Fisk, Gabriel Guerrero, Mac James, Jesus Lopez, Mike Nittoli, Juan Nunez, Norberto Obeso, Willy Ortiz, Connor Overton, Tom Pannone, Luis Silva, Mitchell Walding, Forrest Wall.
A good chunk of these names are just organizational depth types who were signed to minor-league deals, like Andy Burns, Ryan Dull, and Patrick Cantwell. But there are also a couple of prospects worth noting here.
Thomas Pannone was acquired as part of the Joe Smith to Cleveland trade a few years ago. At one point, he looked like he had a future as a starting pitcher but never panned out. Pannone was designated for assignment in August and cleared waivers. He didn’t pitch for the Blue Jays in 2020 after pitching 116 innings for the club between 2018 and 2019.
And then there’s Forrest Wall, one of the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

This is not the end.

Saturday August 29th at 12:30pm. 
The day and time the NHL is officially back in action. Let me tell you why we shouldn’t be rushing to forget the events of the past three days. 
Before I get into that, I ask that you folks take some time to read this piece by Omar from Pension Plan Puppets, as well as this open letter to the NHL by Matthew Henriques, if you haven’t already. 
These past couple days have been a lot in the hockey world.
From a lack of action from the league and players the day sports took a pause. Excuses of napping or not enough time to plan for a stop, even though there were hours from when the Bucks didn’t take the court to the Tampa/Boston game. Some folks are in a bubble both literally and figuratively. Re: Alain Vigneault
It caused an uproar which then phased into a moment of reflection. 

In the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, the NHL will hold a moment of reflection before tonight’s Tampa/Boston game in Toronto and tonight’s Colorado/Dallas game in …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation

Five Potential Trade Partners for Frederik Andersen

With the playoffs officially underway and the Toronto Maple Leafs once again sent home early, we can begin to truly look forward to what could be considered a monumental offseason for the organization. And while most of the attention may end up (rightfully) focused on the pricey offensive group that was shutout twice by Joonas Korpisalo in their five game series against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the paper-mâché defensive group that saw Cody freakin’ Ceci play significant minutes, the questions surrounding this team do not end there.
It’s time to once again talk about Frederik Andersen and his future, or lack thereof, with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Andersen has become a contentious figure on Leafs Twitter lately, with seemingly half the fanbase rushing to defend yet another postseason failure as “not his fault” with the other pointing out that this is the fourth potential series clinching game that Andersen has played for the Blue & White and the result is a resounding zero wins and four losses, and that alone should at the very least justify the discussion of moving on. Cards on the table, I am full fledged in the …

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Author: briancrd / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Austin Martin

Austin Martin is officially a Toronto Blue Jay.

The fifth-overall pick from the 2020 draft has agreed to a deal with the Blue Jays, pending a physical, but the details are unknown.
The assigned slot value for the fifth-overall pick is $6,180,700, but it’s reasonable to assume the Jays went over-slot. Martin was projected to go as high as second overall in the draft and it was rumoured at he was looking for a signing bonus of at least $7,000,000.
Being a client of Scott Boras, it was assumed that negotiations with Martin would go all the way down to the wire of the Aug. 1 deadline, but the deal ultimately got done well in advance. First overall pick Spencer Torkelson agreeing to a deal with the Detroit Tigers was probably the domino that needed to fall in order for the Jays and Martin to agree on a signing bonus.
The Jays now have four of their five draft picks from this year’s class signed. Second- and third-round picks C.J. Van Eyk and Trent Palmer signed over-slot deals and fifth-round pick Zack Britton signed an under-slot deal. The only player left to sign is fourth-round pick Nick Frasso, but …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: 2020 Postseason Preview

With the NBA officially heading off to Disney World in late July, here’s a recap of what the Toronto Raptors achieved in the regular season, and a preview of what to expect in the postseason later next month. After over more than two months of uncertainty, and most recently, chaos in and around the continental […]
Toronto Raptors: 2020 Postseason Preview – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mauricio Scott / Raptors HQ

Toronto’s NWHL Team Has A Name, and It’s The Six!

Toronto officially has a new professional women’s hockey franchise, with a name and everything (official announcement).
As the much-awaited answer to the question of “what franchise will replace the Toronto Furies?”: today, we have The Six. On April 22 of this year, the National Women’s Hockey League announced that it would be expanding into Toronto after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded, causing the loss of the Toronto Furies.
As we await even more branding information, especially what the jerseys will look like, one can imagine some sweet gold-and-red infused sweaters not unlike (but unlike enough from) the Vegas Golden Knights’ kit.
Choosing “The Six” will undoubtedly be a controversial choice, and admittedly I found it strange at first, but the more I think about it, the better it is. The 67’s, the 49ers, the 76ers… there’s a great history of professional sports teams being named for numbers that represent the unique area that the team is located in. While not rooted in national history in the more traditional sense, The Six is a popular moniker for our nation’s largest city and certainly will …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

The Everything Leafs Podcast: Mikko Lehtonen Szn

The Leafs have officially signed Finnish defenceman Mikko Lehtonen. This week we talk about the new addition and how this affects the Leafs in the 2020-2021 season. We also talk about some trade targets and what the league is doing with the upcoming NHL draft.
Here is the full itinerary for the episode:
1:20 The Mikko Lehtonen Signing
10:30 Can Dermott co-exist on the Leafs with all the left defencemen
14:25 Undervalued RHDs the Leafs could target
41:30 Chances the Leafs acquire a forward this offseason
48:48 Other RHD options the Leafs could look at
54:30 When should the NHL draft be?
57:20 Thoughts on the Draft Lottery structure
1:01:01 Some mandatory Ben Harpur
Where Can You Listen:


You can find us on twitter at:
Nick DeSouza: @NickDeSouza_
Kevin Papetti: @KPapetti

Stay safe and thanks for listening!

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

To Re-Sign or Not to Re-Sign: Denis Malgin

So the season isn’t officially over, and we might still see hockey this year, but that doesn’t change that following the trade deadline is generally around when we start playing the “should the Leafs bring them back” game regarding free agents. Keeping that grand tradition alive, we’ll start today with the one of the newest free agents, Denis Malgin.
Malgin was essentially acquired for peanuts when the Leafs dealt Mason Marchment for him. Marchment is on the fast track to a solid AHL career, Malgin was a gamble on being supplementary scoring for the Leafs. The problem is, he hasn’t scored.
The deal was a nothing gained nothing lost type situation, so it’s hard to imagine the Leafs are too invested in Malgin, but let’s explore what the Leafs have in him and truly decide if he’s worth bringing back in 2020-21.
Off. Zone Faceoff %
So, Malgin is definitely got a shot attempt advantage going for him on the ice, and that’s been pretty consistent throughout his …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation