It may be time to send Cavan Biggio to Triple A to find his game

This is not an article to say I told you so. Players are human beings and I want the best for Cavan Biggio.

With that being said, I was “Cavan-pilled” a while ago. However, I think sending him to the minors to help him find his game would be the best thing for the 27-year-old.
His career up to this point:
Last season was a struggle for the super utility player as he slashed .224/.322/.356 with seven homers in 294 plate appearances. His BB% of 12.6% was solid, but he struggled with striking out, as his K% sat at 26.5%. He also had a Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) of 84, which is below average.
As a super utility, he has experience all over the field. Below is a table featuring positions that he played, innings played at the position and his Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average at those positions.
Position
Innings played
DRS
OAA
Second Base 
40
-1
-1
Third Base 
411.2
0
-3
Left Field
9
0
0
Right Field
117
1
-2
While he had a built in excuse due to numerous injuries in 2021, the same cannot be said for his struggles in 2022.
In 28 plate appearances this season, he’s slashing .043/.214/.043 with a single hit. Furthermore, he has a BB% of 10.71% and a very high K% of 35.71%. Furthermore, his wRC+ now sits at -6 for the season.
 Realistically, the only value that Biggio has provided is that he’s versatile defensively and he bats left-handed. However, the Jays did a fine job of adding some left handed batters. 
They added Zach Collins who has already hit three homers, Bradley Zimmer who is fine defensively, and Ramiel Tapia who makes contact. As for the defensive versatility, the Jays have Gosuke Katoh on the 28 man roster, as well as Otto Lopez and Samad Taylor, two prospects who in my opinion, would offer more than Biggio.
This isn’t to say Biggio doesn’t have potential. When he’s at his best, he has a solid eye at the plate and power against right handed pitching, as he hit 16 homers in his rookie season. Speaking of which, Biggio had a 114 wRC …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Looking at what the Blue Jays lost in the off-season and what they gained

The Blue Jays lost three key players in free agency from last season’s 91-win team: Robbie Ray, Steven Matz, and Marcus Semien. They replaced those three players with Kevin Gausman, Yusei Kikuchi, and Matt Chapman.

The general consensus I have seen seems to be that overall the team is better as they will have full seasons from José Berríos, Alek Manoah, a healthy George Springer, and fewer question marks in the bullpen, but the three new players aren’t quite up to the same level of who they are replacing.
Which makes sense — it’s incredibly difficult to replace a Cy Young winner and someone who finished in the top three of MVP voting. Let’s dive into it and see what the numbers say.
We’ll start with how these players performed last season…
2021 Season
IP
ERA
FIP
K/9
BB/9
WAR
Robbie Ray
193.1
2.84
3.69
11.54
2.42
3.9
Kevin Gausman
192.0
2.81
3.00
10.64
2.34
4.8
Steven Matz
150.2
3.82
3.79
8.60
2.57
2.8
Yusei Kikuchi
157.0
4.41
4.61
9.34
3.55
1.1
Ray is underrated by FanGraphs version of WAR. It’s a FIP based WAR so Ray doesn’t look as good as Gausman does, despite their stats being pretty similar. Per Baseball-Reference WAR, Ray has the edge 6.8 to 5.2. Given the ballparks Ray pitched in and the competition he had to face, it’s not a hot take to say Ray had the better season. That’s not to discredit what Gausman did. He had a tremendous season in his own right, and finished sixth in NL Cy Young.
With Matz and Kikuchi it’s a tale of two halves. Matz didn’t have a great first half of the year, likely due to pitching in minor league ballparks. His first-half ERA was 4.72, and threw July it was 4.58. Once the Blue Jays returned to Toronto Matz was incredible with an ERA of 2.69 in August and September. The poor first half masked some of his success in the second half, but overall he was very good and his production will be difficult to replace. Kikuchi was just the opposite. He had a strong first half pitching to a 3.48 ERA and was the Mariners representative at the All-Star Game. He then fell off a cliff in the second half of the season. He p …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Why having William Nylander on the third line helps improve the Leafs

There are few players in the history of the Leafs’ organization that have made the fan base more divisive than William Nylander. There are noticeable portions of the fans that either love his playstyle or cannot stand him and want him gone in every trade scenario.
Whether you adore him or hate him, the Leafs are a better team when he is on his game and playing with confidence. This is why it was frustrating to watch him play inconsistently alongside John Tavares for the last few months despite putting up 32 points since the start of 2022. He would have stretches where he played like he did in the 2021 playoffs (in which he was the MVP after Tavares got injured in Game 1) and others seeing him look unengaged or lackadaisical. It culminated in him getting demoted to the third line after getting beat cleanly by David Savard in a disappointing loss to the lowly Canadiens.
The move was meant to get Nylander back on track while being matched up against some weaker competition. It may not have been Sheldon Keefe’s intention, but this simple move was able to help find a line combination he can turn to down the stretch.

‘BISCUIT WITH THE SHORTY!! pic.twitter.com/BCz7Z5d560
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@ …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

How does MLB’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement affect the Blue Jays?

Baseball is back!

MLB and the Players’ Association agreed on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Thursday so we won’t have to deal with this bullshit until after the 2026 season. You can read everything about the deal at The Athletic if you subscribe or USA Today if you don’t.

Some final details of a CBA where players made some notable gains:• Pre-arb bonus pool at $50m• Min salary: $700k, $720k, 740k, $760k, $780k• CBT: $230m-$244m• Draft lottery at 6 picks • Universal DH• Amateur draft is 20 rounds• Player can be optioned 5 times per yr
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 10, 2022

I’m going to through the interesting changes that are coming with the new CBA and what it means for the Blue Jays…
It’s going to be easier to make the playoffs
A key concession that the players gave to the owners was increasing the post-season field from 10 to 12 teams.
There had been talks about a 14-team field, but the two sides met in the middle on 12. It looks like this new format will involve the top two division winners in each league will get a bye to the divisional round while the other four teams in each league play a three-game wild-card series.
This, of course, is advantageous to the owners for obvious reasons, in that playoff games are extremely lucrative and adding an extra round of games means a whole bunch more revenue. Back in 2020, the post-season was expanded to 16 teams in order to help offset the revenue that was lost due to most of the season getting wiped by COVID-19.
The arguments against the expanded post-season field largely comes down to not wanting to water down the meaning of a 162-game season. I fully understand the argument and don’t necessarily love the idea of letting mediocre teams into the post-season, but I also cheer for a team that’s trapped in the American League East, so I’m not complaining.
This is a win for the Blue Jays, who finished sixth in the American League last year.
An …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Joe Biagini and Greg Bird to minor-league deals

As Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association slowly inch towards a Collective Bargaining Agreement at a glacial pace, the Blue Jays gave us something to talk about today as they inked two players to minor-league contracts.

First, we’ll talk about the return of an Old Friend, Joe Biagini…

#BlueJays have signed Joe Biagini to a minor league deal.
— Jamie Campbell (@SNETCampbell) March 10, 2022

The Blue Jays originally acquired Biagini from the San Fransisco Giants through the Rule 5 Draft and he wound up playing a key role in the team’s 2016 season as a late-inning reliever. The following season, they tried to convert Biagini back into a starter, but that didn’t work quite so well, as he posted a 5.34 ERA in 2017 over 44 outings, 18 of which were starts.
In 2019, Biagini was sent to the Houston Astros along with Aaron Sanchez and prospect Cal Stevenson in exchange for Derek Fisher. Biagini would wind up only tossing 19 innings for the Astros over two seasons, but he was a part of a combined no-hitter with Sanchez, Will Harris, and Chris Devenski.
Most recently, Biagini spent the 2021 season in the Chicago Cubs organization. He posted a 5.50 ERA in Triple-A over the course of 22 outings, 19 of which were starts, and he had one scoreless three-inning outing at the big league level.
As of right now, the Blue Jays rotation will feature Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Alek Manoah, while Ross Stripling, Nate Pearson, and possibly another off-season addition compete for the fifth spot. The organization has a fairly enigmatic situation when it comes to starting pitchers in the mix for Triple- …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Marlies that could make an impact on the Maple Leafs

The Toronto Marlies have plenty of NHL calibre players, but if the Maple Leafs need a call-up, who should be used?
As the season goes on, injuries are expected to come, but for a good NHL club, it’s finding the right players to bring up in each situation. At the moment, the Maple Leafs have Nick Robertson and Kyle Clifford on their roster, two players who have spent most of their seasons in the AHL.
The injury to Ondřej Kaše has allowed an opportunity for Robertson to showcase what he can do at the NHL level. His speed, tenaciousness on the puck, and run-and-gun play-style fits the mold of what Sheldon Keefe needed.
It’s no surprise that the 20-year-old is succeeding in the position he’s in.
When it comes to Marlies players who could make the jump to the NHL and fit right in, a few players come to mind. As it stands right now, I could name more than these three, however, the Maple Leafs likely won’t have the cap space to sign a player under AHL contract to an NHL contract unless Jake Muzzin doesn’t return until the playoffs.
Those players under AHL contract who I think could make an impact are Josh Ho-Sang, Antti Suomela, and Curtis Douglas. …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Conor Garland is the latest Canucks player the Leafs are rumoured to be pursuing

It seems like most of the players the Leafs have been connected to are either Arizona Coyotes or Vancouver Canucks, so it seemed like only a matter of time before a former Coyote on the Canucks would get the spotlight as a trade target.

You already knew there were teams interested in J.T Miller, but chatter on Conor Garland has picked up, I can report. Leafs a possible suitor.
A look at the Canucks who might move ahead of the trade deadline.https://t.co/y3E38i6bBb
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) March 3, 2022

I’ll start by saying that I’m a big fan of Conor Garland. He’s a player I would have targeted back when the Coyotes were rumoured to be moving him, and the fact that he’s being made available looks like a chance to right a wrong and hop on a player that, interestingly enough, had some success with Michael Bunting.
Garland has a chippiness and edge to his game that doesn’t necessarily show up in the hit category. He’s a little waterbug like Bunting, but I think because of the players like Bunting we should be at the point where size needs to be considered a driving factor in addressing the Leafs’ physical play. Still, he’s 5’10, and that’s going to put some people off.
As does the fact that Garland who looked like he was moving towards breaking out has taken a step back this year. After 39 points (22 goals) in 68 games in 2019-20 followed by 39 points in 49 games last season, only having 30 points in 50 games this year is a definite step backward, and suddenly his $4.9M AAV contract doesn’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

First Look at Potential Blue Jays Farm Rosters: Triple-A Buffalo Bisons

We all know that due to the MLB Lockout, players on the 40 man roster are barred from team facilities or team-organized workouts and development. But I had thought that things would be even more limited than that.

There was some confusion about the use of minor league free agent signings that had played in the majors in 2021 and I hadn’t gotten a clarification about that until I asked Ben Wagner who stated definitively that it’s only 40 man roster players who are locked out.
As best I can determine this is the best explanation for the state of affairs regarding this lightly discussed wrinkle.
In any case, my original vision for this piece was “here’s how the Bisons put together a roster if they cannot use 40 man roster players or anyone who played in MLB in 2021 – but, apparently, that’s not the situation.
So instead, as 170 or so MiLB players pour into Dunedin next week, I’ll shift gears slightly and begin a series of hot takes on how the full-season squads’ opening day roster might shape up based on what we know now, and taking for granted that we’re about to start losing MLB games off the schedule.
One clarification: These projections assume health where the lack of health hasn’t been reported. For example, Yosver Zulueta spent all of last year recovering from a knee injury and is reportedly 100%, on the other hand, CJ Van Eck and Nick Frasso are known to be out for mos …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

The Ryan Dzingel era in Toronto comes to a swift end

The Leafs track record with getting players through waivers this season has been incredibly spotty, and a couple of days after having no luck with Adam Brooks for a second time this season, it was time to try their luck with the newly acquired Ryan Dzingel. The $1.1M cap hit associated with Dzingel was a bit more of a reason for optimism.

SJ claims Dzingel
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 21, 2022

Well, I guess Ryan Dzingel joins others like Jared McCann, Evan Rodrigues, Nathan Horton, Olaf Kolzig, and Martin Skoula on the distinguished list of paperwork Leafs. We’ll always remember his time here, but some birds just can’t be caged.
While keeping Dzingel would have been nice for the Leafs and Marlies from a depth perspective, this trade was first and foremost about dumping Ritchie’s contract, and secondly about adding Ilya Lyubushkin as a solid depth option on the blueline. If the Leafs got anything out of Dzingel it was going to be gravy.
As for San Jose, they are going to be sellers, and being able to have Dzingel in the lineup after the dust settles probably helps them out.
The outcome puts an end to the Liljegren/Sandin AHL shuffle for now, and both can be in the Leafs lineup tonight.
Data from Evolving Hockey, Hockey Reference, and PuckPedia
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3 reasons Raptors’ Pascal Siakam should’ve been an All-Star over Jarrett Allen

3 reasons Raptors’ Pascal Siakam should’ve been an All-Star over Jarrett Allen

The Toronto Raptors were on the verge of sending two players to the All-Star game in Cleveland this year. On top of the fact that Fred VanVleet was able to become the first undrafted player in over a decade to earn that exclusive honor, Pascal Siakam’s recent hot stretch had the attention of the league. […]
3 reasons Raptors’ Pascal Siakam should’ve been an All-Star over Jarrett Allen – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ