The Vancouver Canadians could still remain a Blue Jays affiliate

Earlier this off-season, word came out that the Vancouver Canadians, one of the Blue Jays’ short-season rookie ball affiliates, would be becoming a minor-league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

Shortly after, though, Mark Shapiro said that the report about the Canadians and Blue Jays parting ways wasn’t factual.
“Major League Baseball has been overwhelmed with the amount of variables they’ve had to deal with this year and the timing on a minor league plan for next year,” Shapiro said. “Although we’ve got some loose insight, but we haven’t gotten a firm answer on what that’s going to look like. I think an understanding that it’s going to be a reduced number of teams, that short-season baseball is certainly not going to be the same.
What we do know is that a big part of MLB’s slashing of the minor leagues has to do with getting rid of short-season ball and increasing focus on having newly-drafted players go to instructional camps.
Over at Ballpark Digest, there’s a huge list that’s keeping track of which teams and leagues are getting chopped and which affiliates are moving around to accommodate these changes. It has …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Expectations for Raptors in 2020/21 season

Toronto Raptors: Expectations for Raptors in 2020/21 season

The NBA off-season for 2020 has almost run its course, and the Toronto Raptors appear weaker as a roster from the event. The 2020/21 season maybe the Raptors’ worst since 34 wins in 2012/13. Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemics’ economic effects have forced the Toronto Raptors‘ ownership group to consider limiting their financial commitments beyond 2021. […]
Toronto Raptors: Expectations for Raptors in 2020/21 season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Seven former Blue Jays are on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot

With this off-season trudging along at a glacial pace, we finally have something baseball-related to talk and argue about. The 2021 Hall of Fame ballot!

Here’s a look at the ballot, courtesy of the indispensable Hall of Fame vote tracker Ryan Thibodaux…

There are seven former Blue Jays on the ballot, three of whom are new additions this season. The new guys are Mark Buehrle, LaTroy Hawkins, and A.J. Burnett, while the returnees are Roger Clemens, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, and Jeff Kent.
Obviously, none of these players would be wearing Blue Jays caps if they were to get inshrined in Cooperstown but it’s an interesting discussion regardless.
I imagine that Clemens will eventually get in as the world sort of gets over being weirdly mad about the steroid era. Rocket Roger got 61 percent of votes last year, just 14 percent shy of making the cut. This is his ninth year on the ballot so it either happens this year or in 2022 or he’ll have to get in via the Veterans Committee.
Vizquel is another one who’s going to get eventually mostly due to his longevity and the fact he won 11 gold gloves. Kent has been passed …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Ross Atkins says the Blue Jays were “close on another deal” this week

The Blue Jays kicked off their off-season last weekend by inking Robbie Ray to a one-year deal.

According to general manager Ross Atkins, the team was also close to executing another deal shortly after that signing.

#BlueJays have been busy early. Signed Robbie Ray & per GM Ross Atkins “have actually been close on another deal.” Asked whether it was a trade or free agent, Atkins declined to say.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 12, 2020

As Ben Nicholson-Smith notes, Atkins declined to mention whether this was a trade or a free agent. Let’s put on our detective hats and try to figure out who it might have been.
Given how the market is moving along like a glacier, it’s pretty unlikely that the Blue Jays and somebody else were close to pulling the trigger on a trade, so we can pretty safely assume that it was a free agent the team was closing in on.
Eight players have agreed to contracts so far this off-season. There’s Ray, who signed with the Jays, Kendall Graveman, Josh Harrison, and Mike Tomlin, who are also sticking around with their teams, Jose Peraza and Mallex Smith, who inked minor-league deals, and Marcus Stroman …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It looks like the Leafs might be playing in an All-Canadian Divison after all

The dog days of the offseason are well underway, with the caveat being that we’re in the middle of November with no clear sign of when the 2020-21 season will start and how it will look.
It appears we have gotten better clarity on both of these Thursday as Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic provided updates with an NHL Board of Governors meeting set to be held later today.

Both the NHL and NHLPA continue to maintain a Jan. 1 target date for opening night, which means mid-Dec opening of camps (and 7 days before that for the 7 non-RTP teams from last summer). But that’s not written in stone yet. Could change. (con’t)
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 12, 2020

And finally, given the continued border restrictions, looking more and more like a 2020-21 season begins with an all-Canadian division at least until they can figure out how to cross the border later in the season… so that should be fun. But again, nothing decided for sure yet
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 12, 2020

It’s worth mentioning that the Return to Play Committee (which includes Zach Hyman and former Leaf Ron Hainsey has been a major driving force in these talks for the state of …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

The NBA’s projected start and how it affects the Leafs and the NHL

During any offseason, we are usually counting down the days until our favourite sport(s) return for another year of exciting action. This year has changed that and instead of eagerly awaiting the start of a new campaign, we are instead wondering what the start date will be.
While a certain election was continuing to dominate the headlines, the NBA voted to approve a projected start date of December 22 and compile a 72-game schedule.

The NBPA player rep vote has completed, approving a December 22 start/72-game regular season, source tells ESPN. Next up: NBA/NBPA finishes financial terms on amended CBA, which will take into next week. Expect trade moratorium to be lifted shortly prior to Nov. 18 Draft.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 6, 2020

They are now the latest league to try and determine the beginning of the 2020-21 season after the OHL and AHL did the same just last week. While all of this is contingent on the state of affairs with COVID-19 cases remaining on the rise, it gives fans a clear picture of the duration of the current offseason.
But how does this affect the Leafs NHL?
It has been well documented that the NHL has been trying to …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Under the radar signings to address frontcourt needs

The 2020 NBA off-season presents several roster issues that the Toronto Raptors must address. While everyone focuses on what to do about Fred VanVleet, the Raptors frontcourt is in dire need of replenishment. The Toronto Raptors frontcourt is in disarray as the NBA Draft approaches on November 18th, 2020. Some big-name free agents could be […]
Toronto Raptors: Under the radar signings to address frontcourt needs – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet or Norman Powell as the shooting guard?

There are significant issues to address this off-season for the Toronto Raptors. One problem is what to do at the starting shooting guard where Fred VanVleet is a free agent, and Norman Powell has two years left on his contract. A significant question the Toronto Raptors need to address is whether Fred VanVleet or Norman […]
Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet or Norman Powell as the shooting guard? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

4 Players Leafs Fans Want That Would Probably Be a Bad Idea

The offseason always brings a ton of crazy speculation, especially the first week or so after the Stanley Cup is awarded, as teams try to figure out their game plan going into the draft and free agency. And of course, fans will eat up every bit of speculation in anticipation of what their team should do. Lots of brainstorming happens, and with every great idea comes a few bad ones.
So, let’s look at some of the bad ideas that I’ve seen about who the Leafs should bring in, ideas that probably hurt the Leafs more than help them in the long run.
Radko Gudas
Gudas might be the one consistent I’ve seen on everybody’s wish list. And why wouldn’t he be? He’s been a consistent analytics darling throughout his career, is physical, is a defenseman, and shoots right. He sounds like someone who could help round out the top four for the Leafs.
Except for one problem:

While it’s just one season, he is also 30 years old and plays a style of play that doesn’t age well. It could be an anomaly, or it could be the start of his decline. …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

3 Free Agents the Toronto Raptors could pursue this Offseason

The Toronto Raptors are in a pivotal offseason for the future of the franchise and while all eyes are on the “Summer of Giannis” this team was one win away from the ECF and shouldn’t stop trying to add solid pieces to the roster. The Toronto Raptors are an organization that always remains active during […]
3 Free Agents the Toronto Raptors could pursue this Offseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ