The Blue Jays brought up the idea of a contract extension with Bo Bichette, but no offer has been made

Welcome to the era of pre-arbitration, long-term contracts.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen more and more teams opting to hand out guaranteed dollars to players with short track records in order to save money on free agency years down the road.
The big example this off-season, of course, is Fernando Tatis Jr., who signed a massive 14-year contract with the San Diego Padres worth $340 million. Tatis has only played 143 games at the major-league level but, based on his trajectory as a player and the steady rise of free-agent salaries, the Padres are more than likely going to have a bargain deal in a few years.
The Blue Jays have two young franchise cornerstones, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, who could end up with a mega extension sooner rather than later. Bichette said on Monday that the organization discussed a contract extension with him this off-season, but no actual offer was made.
“I’m happy for Fernando,” Bichette said. “I’ve always admired the way he plays from the minor-leagues until now. He’s an exciting player. I think it’s really powerful that an organization believed in him enough to put the commitment they did. Obviously …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors win against the Heat

Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors win against the Heat

The Toronto Raptors learn from their past mistakes and are able to defeat the Miami Heat. Coming off a loss against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, the Toronto Raptors returned the favor, as they arose victorious the second time around. In a battle of two teams that play in Florida, Pascal Siakam and the […]
Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors win against the Heat – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

The Beginner’s Guide to the 2019-20 Toronto Maple Leafs: The Team

Over the past *checks notes*… oh god, it’s been 10 months since we’ve been in lockdown. Sorry, over the past 10 months when we’ve all been trapped in our houses with not much to do, we’ve been lucky enough to see sports return to provide some of us with some form of entertainment. This has also allowed an opportunity for more eyes to watch hockey, and we’ve seen more fans join the fun with not much else to do. I would know, I was one of them.
This year, I decided to put more of an effort to watch Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, and Miami Dolphins (my favourite MLB, NBA, and NFL teams, respectively). While they all have certainly made it fun to watch, I’ve also found myself lacking some knowledge. With the Leafs, I liked that I could see a player on the ice and know exactly what their skills and responsibility are, something that I didn’t know with the other sports.
So, while I might not ever get that closer, you can. I give you The Beginner’s Guide to the 2019-20 Toronto Maple Leafs, a three part series where I give …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Early Off-Season Stuff: The 40-man, Club Options, Qualifying Offers, and more!

The big talk over the past week since the Blue Jays got shoved out of the post-season by the Rays has been what kind of bold moves the front office can make this winter.

Last winter was highlighted by the addition of Hyun Jin Ryu, who signed an $80 million contract. That decision signalled that the front office was ready to invest in this young team and them taking a massive step forward in this year’s COVID-shortened season certainly validated that investment.
But before we worry about signing Trevor Bauer or trading for Francisco Lindor or bringing Jose Bautista back as a pitcher, there’s a whole bunch of other monotonous early off-season business to deal with. Let’s walk through all of it.
At the end of October, somebody is going to be awarded the World Series in Arlington, and, as per usual, it won’t be the Texas Rangers. It won’t be the Blue Jays either, obviously. So why does this matter? Because one day after the World Series gets awarded is when things start to happen.
Trades can resume the next day, five days later is the deadline for tendering qualifying offers to impending free agents …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Chris Boucher Deserves a Spot in the Toronto Raptors bench rotation

This past week the Toronto Raptors rested most of their starters and let the bench play. No Raptor was more dominant in this given opportunity than Chris Boucher. Before we begin, let’s just review just how well Chris Boucher has been doing for the Toronto Raptors. Monday vs Milwaukee Bucks: 29:09 mins | 25 pts […]
Chris Boucher Deserves a Spot in the Toronto Raptors bench rotation – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

Scott’s Thoughts: Debunking the narratives of the Leafs-Blue Jackets series

There’s been a lot of talk these past couple weeks about the “will” of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and how their experience should scare the Leafs.
That’s right, the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have as many playoff appearances in the last decade as the Leafs, and have just one series win in their entire franchise history, have so much more experience than the Leafs. Sure, it was last year, but that’s more just showcasing the recency bias of most peoples opinions on hockey teams they don’t care about.
Let’s face it, the only reason the Blue Jackets are painted as a Goliath to the Leafs is because everybody has an inferiority complex with the Leafs. They like hating on the Leafs because that’s their only personality trait, and are never willing to actually give the Leafs credit when it’s earned.
So, let’s take some of these narratives that have been spewed during everyone’s predictions as to why the Blue Jackets are a Clearly Superior Team, and apply some logic to show why they don’t hold up.
If the …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

What to Expect from Calle Rosen this summer

Over the past 3 seasons Calle Rosen has been one of the best depth defencemen in the Leafs organization, yet he has only played 12 NHL games for the Leafs. A combination of injuries to Rosen and younger defencemen getting more opportunity has resulted in him being overlooked a lot, but the Swedish LHD still has a lot to offer.
Rosen was originally signed as a European free agent out of the SHL, alongside Andreas Borgman. He initially took a spot on the Leafs roster in 2017-18, but the Leafs preferred Borgman’s physical style and loaned Rosen to the Marlies. In the AHL he showed the skills that made him one of the top defencemen in the SHL. His smooth skating and long stride allows him to transition the puck out of the defensive zone quickly with control, and he was the quarterback for the majority of breakouts while he was on the ice.
Rosen would go on to record 11 points in 16 AHL playoff games, as the Marlies won the Calder Cup in 2018. He played a pivotal role on the 2nd pair, behind Martin Marincin and Justin Holl. The following season Rosen had built himself into one of the top …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: Nylander deserves to be a part of the Big Four

In the past, I’ve had “hot takes”. Well, this is what I’m going to call a “stupid hot take”, in that it’s only a hot take if you’re stupid. Now, I don’t mean that as a “if you disagree with me, you’re stupid” kind of stupid. What I mean is “if you miss what I’m arguing here, you’ll think it’s a hot take, and that is why you’re stupid” kind of stupid.
So, just to clarify with the headline, I’m not saying that William Nylander is better than Auston Matthews, John Tavares, or Mitch Marner. In fact, I’ll get this out of the way right now: I think he’s the fourth best player of this group.
What I do think is that he should always be looked at as a part of that group, as opposed to the next best forward after the big three. Too often, I hear the conversation as:
 
Matthews/Tavares/Marner
 
Nylander
 
When it should probably be:
 


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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Daily Duce: Minor league baseball’s mass exodus

The big news around baseball over the past week has been the exodus of minor league baseball players as hundreds of players around the league have been released.

According to Jeff Passan, most of the teams are releasing between 30 and 50 players. Ben Nicholson-Smith reported at Sportsnet that the Blue Jays will be cutting 29 players, but we don’t know who they are yet.
It’s standard practice for organizations to release some players from their systems ahead of the annual MLB draft in order to make room for the new players they’ll be adding. For example, organizational depth types like Brandon Grudzielanek and Gunnar Heidt got released last May as part of the sweep to make room for more players.
But, as Passan noted in a follow-up Tweet, it isn’t standard to see so many minor leaguers get released en masse like this. The reality this time is that there will surely be no minor league season this year so teams are chopping even more names than usual because there isn’t a need for organizational depth when there aren’t Triple-A and Double-A rosters to fill up.
Ultimately, this is a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A look back at the first two years of Kyle Dubas, GM

If we were looking back at the past two years of Kyle Dubas and grading him on his vision, we’d probably be pretty comfortable with giving him high marks. Taking the team in an exciting, skill driven direction is something that Toronto has been afraid to do for too long. Looking at the 90s Red Wings as a model instead of getting hung up on how to bet Bruins is the right choice, even if it at times it has been a frustrating one.
As we mark the two year anniversary from when Kyle Dubas moved into the big office, it’s worth taking a moment to celebrate some of hits and misses, and acknowledge some of his strengths and shortcomings. After all, what else do we have to do?
Year one of GMing for Kyle Dubas was about finding his footing, but year two was always going to be less forgiving and it has been. The fact that we can’t point to any playoff outcomes in Year 2 certainly hinders any ability to draw conclusions. Of course, that’s boring, so we’ll try and draw a few a long the way.
Drafting


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation