A lineup decision between Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall is basically a coin flip

This year’s Leafs roster has been relatively without controversy in terms of who gets starting positions. It seems that public opinion generally sides with Sheldon Keefe’s roster choices. There was Justin Holl’s healthy scratch, but otherwise the decisions have all been pretty straightforward.
A lot of that has to do with the team performing at a very high level. Other than Nick Ritchie and the aforementioned Holl, there isn’t anyone on this roster that’s been below expectations so far this year.
However, relatively soon, Ilya Mikheyev will be returning to the lineup, and that will pose some difficulty for Keefe. Right now it seems that Pierre Engvall will be Mikheyev’s top competition for ice time, despite Engvall probably being the 11th best healthy forward on the team, with recent call-up Joey Anderson biting at his heels and recent re-acquisition Kyle Clifford being a step behind the undervalued 4th-liner we once knew.
Engvall and Mikheyev fill a similar role for Toronto, being defensively capable, speedy, poor-shooting-but-offensively-capable wingers. Anderson and Clifford are also defensively capable, poor-shooting-but-offensively-capable wingers, and Anderson is not a slow skater by any means. Where the difference lies is that Anderson and Clifford …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs 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

Offseason Minor League Roster Shuffle and The Rule 5 Draft

While the focus, rightly, is on the major league roster and future maneuvering to improve it (about which I have many thoughts, as do you, but that’s just one girl’s opinion) it’s also the time of year when housekeeping goes on throughout the farm system. There are several different layers of actions going on which will affect the content of the rosters as teams head into the winter. This is not “big news” content for the most part but if you keep a close eye on the system it’s stuff to know.

Minor League Free Agency
I’m not really going to go into the finer details of the rules governing this process, some are mildly complex, but, in general, many players who’ve been in the majors and sent down can opt for free agency, veteran minor leaguers who signed as a MiLB free agent last winter are typically signed to one-year deals and are thus free again, and players who have played at all in seven minor league seasons since signing have reached free agency (and per last year’s choices regarding this process and the Rule 5, that includes the 2020 season even though it …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Gabriel Moreno’s breakout further complicates the Blue Jays’ catching logjam

The Blue Jays have quite the roster puzzle to sort out this off-season.

One position where that’s especially the case is at catcher, as the team has four backstops on the 40-man roster.
Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, Alejandro Kirk, and Riley Adams, who was traded away mid-season, all saw time with the Blue Jays during the 2021 season, and Gabriel Moreno, who’s perhaps the best of them all, will be pushing hard for an opportunity come 2022.
Let’s look back at what the Blue Jays catchers did in 2021 and speculate about what might happen as we move into the winter.

Looking back…
The Blue Jays came into spring training with three catchers vying for gigs on the team.
Danny Jansen, the veteran of the trio, was always going to be one of them, while Alejandro Kirk, who impressed in a short stint as a rookie in 2020, and Reese McGuire, who, to put it lightly, didn’t impress in 2020, competed for the other spot.
The Blue Jays wound up choosing Kirk over McGuire, which represented an organizational shift from prioritizing asset management to a win now, roll with the better player approach. Kirk could be optioned to Triple-A, while McGuire, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Will the Toronto Raptors regret waiving Ishmail Wainright?

Will the Toronto Raptors regret waiving Ishmail Wainright?

The Toronto Raptors had two open roster spots left before they solidified their opening day configuration, meaning that three non-guaranteed players Ishmail Wainright, Isaac Bonga, and Sam Dekker were vying for those two openings. Nick Nurse took his time coming to a decision, but his move was not what the Ugandan national team player wanted […]
Will the Toronto Raptors regret waiving Ishmail Wainright? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Marlies who could make the Leafs opening night roster

Marlies who could make the Leafs opening night roster

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a packed roster. Period.
After signing players like Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie and Michael Bunting, the chances of players from the Marlies coming up and starting the season with the Leafs is very small. However, there’s always a small window that comes in training camp where players could steal a spot on the roster.
As it stands right now, I’d say that Bunting and Ritchie are playing in the top-six, with one being on Auston Matthews’ wing and the other on John Tavares’. And while things can change, I’d like to believe that Mitch Marner and William Nylander are still on their same wings as last season.
There is always a possibility that Sheldon Keefe comes in and shakes things up. But for now, I think the Leafs lineup will look like this:
Bunting-Matthews-Marner
Ritchie-Tavares-Nylander
Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Kase
Kampf-Spezza-Simmonds
Rielly-Brodie
Muzzin-Holl
Sandin-Dermott
Marlies who could make the jump
Last season, the Leafs had plenty of players in their development system who were more than worthy of NHL gigs. It’s just so difficult because Kyle Dubas likes to continuously add depth in case of injury. I do want to clarify that it’s not …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Nate Pearson is back with the Blue Jays (along with some other roster moves)

We’ve got quite a few roster moves here, so buckle up.

Yesterday, the Blue Jays designated Brand Hand for assignment, putting an end to that experiment only one month after acquiring him from the Washington Nationals ahead of the trade deadline.
In eight-and-two-thirds innings as a Blue Jay, Hand allowed seven earned runs on 13 hits and three walks while striking out just five. Digging into his numbers with the Nationals, it seems Hand was one of the pitchers who struggled with MLB’s crackdown of foreign substances and he hasn’t been able to rebound.

Brad Hand since being traded to the Blue Jays: 7.27 ERA in 11 games
Riley Adams since being traded to the Nationals: 1.010 OPS in 19 games https://t.co/sHyZVkSi3G
— Matt Weyrich (@ByMattWeyrich) August 31, 2021

On the other side of that coin, Riley Adams has been killing it for the Nationals. A catching prospect buried on the Blue Jays’ depth chart, Adams has gone 15-for-44 with Washington with two homers and four doubles, though he has a poor 15-to-4 strikeout-to-walk rate.
If Adams continues to hit, this is obviously going to go down as a really, really bad trade for Toronto. Of course, as well as Adams …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have released Elvis Luciano

Here’s a somewhat surprising roster update — the Elvis Luciano Experiment has come to an end.

The Blue Jays announced on Monday that Luciano had been released. Also, Josh Palacios is joining the big league team while Kirby Snead is heading back down to Triple-A Buffalo.

ROSTER MOVES:
OF Josh Palacios recalled from Triple-A
LHP Kirby Snead optioned to Triple-A
RHP Elvis Luciano released and is now a free agent pic.twitter.com/y3nGSe400O
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 23, 2021

The strange thing here is that adding Palacios to the roster didn’t require somebody getting let go, so there’s no an open spot on the 40-man roster for somebody else with Luciano gone. Julian Merryweather suffered a setback and clearly won’t be ready to join the team anytime soon, so I have no idea who’s going to be added.
Palacios made his debut with the Blue Jays back in April when the team was dealing with a handful of injuries and COVID-related issues. In 10 games, he went 7-for-35. All of the hits were singles and four of them came in that wild 15-1 win over the L.A. Angels in Dunedin.
After he was sent …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Getting to know Chavez Young

The Blue Jays have a log jam of outfielders on the 26 man roster, but when you look at the farm system, the position is quite bare.

If you follow prospects at all, you’ll know their surplus of middle infielders, catchers or pitchers. However, they’ve never had a large stockpile of outfielders. While Springer and Hernandez are the anchors of the Blue Jays outfield, the third and fourth spot isn’t solidified.
Corey Dickerson is an expiring free agent after this season, and it’s a possibility that either Randal Grichuk or Loudres Gurriel will be traded in the off-season. Subtract two from 5 and you get 3. While I needed external help to do the math there (thank you calculator), I will not use external help to tell you the obvious choice for the fourth outfielder.
Chavez Young. Will there be more established fourth outfielders on the free agent market? It’s very possible. Is Young ready for the MLB? Depends who you ask. However, in this article I’m going to convince you as to why he’d be the perfect fourth outfielder if the opportunity arises.
Let’s start from the beginning:
Chavez Young has been around in …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Just what are the Leafs getting in David Kämpf?

One of the least known additions to the Leafs’ roster for next season is the former Chicago player, David Kämpf. The center has amassed four relatively quiet seasons in Chicago’s bottom-six at the NHL level.
The Leafs announced at the start of free agency that they’ve signed Kämpf to a two-year contract at $1.5M per year. While Kämpf isn’t the top-six add people were clamoring for (those two open spots appear to be a competition between Mikheyev and new adds Käse, Ritchie and Bunting), the newly acquired center will likely be a staple on Toronto’s fourth line next season.
David Kämpf Origin Story
In order to understand what the Leafs are getting in this new acquisition, we must start with where he came from.
While he doesn’t come from Krypton or get a bunch of shrapnel in his chest, David Kämpf has his own origin story worth telling. Born in the Czech Republic, Kämpf came up through the junior Czech leagues with the Pirati Chomutov organization. He spent nearly his entire development with Chomutov’s various development programs through U16, U18, U20, Czech 2, and eventually the Czech Extraliga, …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation