BJN Radio – Ep. 47: Breaking down what happened before MLB’s lockout and what’s going to happen next

That was a fun off-season while it lasted!

Now we get to stare into the void for the next few weeks (or months) as the owners and players slowly figure out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
In this episode of Blue Jays Nation Radio, we talked about Steven Matz, Robbie Ray, and Marcus Semien signing elsewhere and who the Blue Jays might bring in to replace them. Ray has already been swapped out for Kevin Gausman, but the team is going to need to find another back-end starter and an impact position player. We dug into the rumours around Kris Bryant, Freddie Freeman, and more.
After that, we talked about the work stoppage and what to expect from the lockout. This has been boiling for years so things are going to get ugly. Players want to reach free agency sooner and owners believe that free agency is what makes the league only competitive to a small handful of rich teams. Buckle up.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

David Kämpf moving to the Leafs is an underappreciated gem

When I wrote our offseason introductory post on who David Kampf (Kämpf) is, the numbers I looked at painted a picture of a player who came out of nowhere to be just “okay”. If anything I came away thinking that Kämpf might be a case of subtraction by addition. And my goodness was I wrong.
After scoring just 1 goal last year for Chicago, and only 7 primary points at 5-on-5, Kämpf already has 6 primary points in the 22 games he’s played this season. He’s been locked into the 3rd line center role, deservedly, and performed at a good clip in that spot. From the very start of the season, it felt like he would change my mind.
The recent injury scare was enough to galvanize that opinion. It forces one to think about Pierre Engvall moving to center, or Jason Spezza being pulled up into that role, or Alexander Kerfoot coming down from the top-six. None of those options are terrible, but all of those players seem to fit much better where they are.
It’s not just Kämpf’s scoring though, or feeling like he’s fit in that role. That would be too superficial …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Graham Spraker making strong push to crack the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster

Year after year, every off-season usually brings some very intriguing 40-man roster decisions ahead of the annual Rule 5 Draft, and for the Toronto Blue Jays, this winter shouldn’t be any different.

This time around, the deadline for all 30 teams to add Rule 5 eligible players to their respective 40-man rosters is scheduled for Nov. 19 (this Friday). As currently constructed, the Blue Jays feature seven open spots on their 40-man squad, although it’s unlikely they’d fill all of those openings so early in the off-season.
Among numerous quality candidates, pitcher Graham Spraker is someone who’s been generating plenty of buzz around himself over the last six months or so, likely inserting himself into this conversation. Though he isn’t a highly-touted prospect, at least, not at the moment, the 26-year-old has made considerable progress in the last year and is seemingly knocking on the door of the major leagues.
Originally drafted out of the 31st round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Spraker came out of college as a starter, however, he split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen through his first few seasons of professional baseball. Unfortunately, the right-hander battled through inconsistencies during that span, struggling to …

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Author: Thomas Hall / 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

Finding the Next Marcus Semien

As we enter the offseason it appears all the more likely that the Blue Jays will lose Marcus Semien in free agency.

Reports indicate he wants to head back out West to be closer to his family and go back to his natural position of shortstop, neither of which the Blue Jays can offer. Semien who finished the season with 6.6 WAR and a top-three MVP finish will be incredibly difficult to replace. Having George Springer healthy for a full season will help but the Blue Jays need to find another player to fill the hole left by Semien.
The Blue Jays were able to get Semien as Oakland didn’t want to pay him after he had a down 2020 season. Even though it was just 60 games and Semien had an incredible 2019 season. There were some doubts that his 2019 season was real. To find the next Marcus Semien here is a list of players who had down 2021 seasons, and are prime bounce-back candidates for 2022.
The Young Players: Cody Bellinger and Gleyber Torres
We will start with two players who the Blue Jays are unlikely to acquire given their age and cost, but still need to be mentioned. Bellinger, the 2019 National League …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Luis Castillo is someone worth going all-in on via trade

As the off-season begins, so does the rumour mill across the major leagues, which may suggest a potential blockbuster trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds could be on the horizon in the coming months.

Starting with the Reds, who finished third in the National League Central Division this past season, they’re facing financial restrictions this winter and will be looking to significantly reduce their payroll prior to the 2022 campaign. Wasting no time addressing this difficult situation, their franchise has already parted ways with expendable pieces such as Wade Miley and Tucker Barnhart, freeing up $17.75 million.
Unfortunately for their fanbase, this recent purge will likely extend beyond those two players and could ultimately include some of the club’s talented starting pitchers, most notably, Luis Castillo. While the 28-year-old has reportedly been made available in previous off-seasons, this might finally be the one where he’s dealt to a playoff contender.

Trade market news: #Reds RHP Luis Castillo, who had a 2.73 ERA from June 1 onward, already is drawing interest from teams across @MLB. The Reds are willing to engage in talks on the 28-year-old, who will be eligible for free agency after ‘23. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 8, 2021



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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

The Orioles claimed RHP Bryan Baker from the Blue Jays

The Blue Jays’ off-season roster shuffle has its first casualty.

According to Robert Murray, the Baltimore Orioles have claimed right-handed pitcher Bryan Baker, who the Blue Jays apparently removed from the 40-man roster.

Source: The Baltimore Orioles have claimed pitcher Bryan Baker off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Baker made his MLB debut in 2021 (one scoreless inning) and had a 1.31 ERA in 41.1 innings in AAA.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) November 8, 2021

Baker was one of the many arms who made his way through the Blue Jays’ bullpen this season.
Originally acquired back in 2018 as part of the trade that sent Seung-hwan Oh to Colorado, Baker put up a strong season in Triple-A in 2021. He tossed 41 1/3 innings and allowed six earned runs on 18 hits and 17 walks while striking out 48. He made one appearance at the big league level, throwing a scoreless frame in a win against Oakland on Sept. 5.
This is going to be a reality of Toronto’s off-season. They have a crowded roster and a whole bunch of interesting prospects they’ll consider adding ahead of the Rule 5 draft, so players are going to have to come off the 40-man. It’s no surprise to see a team like Baltimore, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 54: Alex Anthopoulos discourse, Collective Bargaining Agreement talk, and more!

It’s finally off-season time!

Unfortunately, since the Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire in December, this is more than likely going to be a looooooooong winter without any major transactions until later on.
We talked about the CBA negotiations, what both sides are looking for, who’s more likely to cave, and what it could mean for the Blue Jays. We also talked about Alex Anthopolous, who became the first Canadian general manager to win the World Series, and why it’s perfectly OK to be happy for him while also being happy with where the Blue Jays are at with their current front office.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: It’s time to take Precious Achiuwa out of the starting lineup

Raptors: It’s time to take Precious Achiuwa out of the starting lineup

The Toronto Raptors spent a good chunk of the offseason pondering one of the age-old questions of roster construction. When it comes to their starting center spot, should they start the finished product in veteran Khem Birch or the unknown upside that comes with Precious Achiuwa? Ultimately, a strong preseason helped Achiuwa win the job, […]
Raptors: It’s time to take Precious Achiuwa out of the starting lineup – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Free agent departures: Andersen’s red hot start with the Hurricanes and more

Free agent departures: Andersen’s red hot start with the Hurricanes and more

This past off-season, the Toronto Maple Leafs parted ways with a handful of players, including some Leafs that were with the organization for five or more years. It was definitely sad seeing them sign with a new team in the off-season, but it was also inevitable due to the contracts they received from their new teams and the salary cap situation in Toronto, of course. With the departures of the former Leafs, Toronto was forced to replace them by committee with the given cap space after they signed elsewhere.
With that said, since the 2021-22 NHL season is well underway with three weeks under its belt, I thought it’d be a pretty cool idea to check in on some former Maple Leafs and how they are doing thus far on their new squad.
 
1. Zach Hyman – EDM – 29 years old – LW/RW
2021-22 stats: 7 GP – 6 G – 1 A – 7 PTS – 18:31 TOI
Contract: 7 years x $5.5M 
For me, personally, this was the hardest departure this past off-season with the Maple Leafs, and I think the majority of people will agree with me on this as well. Zach Hyman was such a great player with this organization and an even better human being if you …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation