A stalemate between DJ LeMahieu and the Yankees has the Blue Jays back in the mix

After back-to-back seasons in the conversation for American League Most Valuable Player, DJ LeMahieu wants to get paid.

It seems he also specifically wants to be paid by the Yankees and, unfortunately for LeMahieu, the team is skeptical to do so.
According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, LeMahieu and the Yankees are locked in a stalemate and the player is fed up with it, so he’s going to re-engage in talks with other teams who have previously shown interest in signing him, such as the Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Mets.
There was a report back in December that came out of New York in which it was suggested that the Blue Jays “desperately” wanted to sign LeMahieu, but that really seemed like his camp using Toronto as a bargaining chip against the Yankees.
Creating a bidding war between two teams, division rivals nonetheless, is a great way to drive up your asking price. I would imagine this is the same thing and LeMahieu’s end goal here is to get the Yankees to cave.
Reports indicate that LeMahieu wants $100 million over five years while the Yankees only want to go as high as $75 million over four years. Logic …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Prospect Roundup: New blood, Lehtonen stays hot, bye bye Bracco

The Leafs had several prospects with their seasons already underway prior to the draft, and seven of their 12 selections this week were added to that list. Perhaps it’s coincidence, or perhaps it was a calculated plan, but for the most part the Leafs managed to avoid the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming seasons for prospects in leagues such as the OHL, WHL, and USHL. For more on their newest crop of prospects, check out my breakdown of the Leafs’ 2020 draft class.
Toronto Maple Leafs 2020 NHL draft recap

We’ve all been ultra focused on the draft and who the Leafs would be adding to their prospect pool, so let’s get caught up on some guys who have been in the Leafs system for a little while longer.

Mikko Lehtonen – LHD – Jokerit (KHL)
When we last checked in with Lehtonen, he was off to a hot start with seven points through Jokerit’s first six games. Fast forward a week and he is just getting hotter. In two games since then, the undrafted free agent signing has added another five points and is now up to six goals and six assists through just eight contests. It’s looking more and …

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Author: Nick Richard / 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

What to expect from Joseph Woll this summer

After three successful seasons as Boston College’s number one goalie, Joseph Woll turned pro after the conclusion of his Junior year in College. The 2019-20 season was Woll’s first taste of professional hockey. Ultimately, Woll’s season at a glance was far from ideal, but has provided the foundation for him to build upon as he tries to make his way to the NHL.
By the numbers

Not the greatest statistical line for Woll but context is key for him. Woll entered this season as the back-up to Kasimir Kaskisuo. When Kaskisuo went down late in the season, Woll was handed the starters gig. Woll played a lot of games down the stretch as head coach Greg Moore had no one else to turn to. The Marlies were also not very good this season, finishing near the bottom in their division.
What we’ve seen so far
Woll kicked off his pro career with a 23-save shutout against the Manitoba Moose. From there his season was like roller coaster ride, lots of ups and downs, peaks and valleys. Some of the lows include giving up seven and eight goals against to Charlotte in January …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Marner Marner is Not (and Has Never Been) Disrespected

Throughout his first three seasons as a Toronto Maple Leaf, Mitch Marner accrued a level of goodwill amongst the fanbase that has rarely ever been seen. This Marner praise was practically universal in its scope, too. And why wouldn’t it be? The kid was so easy to love.
Within a city so acutely well-versed on eating its own, Marner was different. He was untouchable.
Not anymore, that is. That goodwill is gone.

Listen, we could argue for days over whether Marner is truly worth the outlandish price he’s asking for (spoiler alert: he isn’t), but that wouldn’t really accomplish much, would it? It’s a point everyone has hammered home all summer long. What more is there really left to say?
So, rather than banging my head against a wall for the *checks calendar* sixth month in a row, I instead want to delve into the reported foundation of “disrespect” the Marner camp has built their negotiating platform upon.
And by “delve into”, I mean “explain how it’s entirely fictional”.
Schedule B
Contract negotiation has never been easy for Marner. Not even from the beginning.
Once brushed off as pure speculation, the reported anger felt …

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Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays claw out series victory against slumping, tired Red Sox

In the season’s penultimate homestand, the Blue Jays, forever varying their lineups and defensive alignments, hosted the lowly and, now Dombrowski-less, Red Sox in a semi-meaningless three-game set this week at Rogers Centre. Though there were definitely some gaffes for the boys in blue, they played an overall solid set, taking two of three from their division rivals and heading into their next series on a winning note.
Here’s a quick look at the good, the bad, and the weird from a (somewhat) undersold series at Rogers Centre:
The Good
Bo Bichette (3-for-13, 2 R, 2B, BB, SB) was quietly, albeit minorly, productive, while Cavan Biggio (6-for-10, 6 R, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB, SB) had an outstanding set at the dish. Randal Grichuk (4-for-12, R, 3 2B, 2 RBI) was consistently a force to be reckoned with, while Teoscar Hernandez (2-for-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Danny Jansen (2-for-4, R), Reese McGuire (2-for-5, R, HR, RBI, 3 BB), and Rowdy Tellez (3-for-12, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI) all showed up.
On the mound, Trent Thornton (5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 7 SO, W) was tremendous in his outing, following opener Wilmer Font (2.0 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 SO), who was solid in his own right. Elsewhere on …

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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Is Fred VanVleet the best back-up point guard in the NBA?

In the past three seasons, Fred VanVleet has proved to be a more than capable point guard for the Toronto Raptors. Is he the best back-up point guard in the NBA? As an undrafted free agent just signing for the Toronto Raptors back in 2016, expectations were low for Fred VanVleet as an NBA caliber […]
Toronto Raptors: Is Fred VanVleet the best back-up point guard in the NBA? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

The aging curve of the Toronto Raptors has gone full circle

In the past two seasons, the Toronto Raptors roster has gone through multiple changes. From young to experienced, the roster is now young once again. Two seasons ago, the Toronto Raptors were viewed as a fairly young team with a few veteran-like players placed around the roster. Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Serge Ibaka were […]
The aging curve of the Toronto Raptors has gone full circle – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is playing out of his mind right now

2019 has been a tale of two polar opposite seasons for Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
During his first 13 games of the season, Gurriel looked lost at the plate and had difficulty with the most routine plays at second base. A botched throw to first base on April 14th was the tipping point. He was removed from the game shortly afterwards and demoted to triple-A the following day.
That might’ve been the end of Gurriel’s season with the Blue Jays, but on May 24th, he returned to the Major League club and brought Cavan Biggio along for the ride. Ever since then, Gurriel’s been one of baseball’s hottest hitters. Yes, that Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
His dramatic turnaround has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the Blue Jays’ 2019 in a season devoid of much joy. Gurriel’s fall and rise has been fascinating to watch; the player who had the yips at second base looks like a complete natural out in left field.
Gurriel’s play as of late surely has the organization feeling much better about their $22 million investment as an international free agent. The Blue Jays’ brand new left fielder resembles the same hitter who compiled …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays crushed by Rockies in second straight abysmal series

In one of the season’s most hopeless series, the Blue Jays, now losers of six straight games, fell to the streaking Colorado Rockies in Denver. The entire series was, to put it lightly, marred by errors and dreadful performances.
Outscored 22-9 in a sloppily played series at Coors Field, the Blue Jays were clearly feeling frustrated, as evidenced by some of the players’ comments after Saturday’s tough defeat.
Still, here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from this weekend’s series in Colorado:
The Good
Despite some struggles on the mound, the team’s offence, led valiantly by Justin Smoak (2-for-6, HR, 2 BB) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (5-for-12, HR, BB, 2B), was actually palatable throughout the three-game set. Eric Sogard (3-for-8, R, RBI) and Luke Maile (3-for-7, 2 RBI, BB) also came alive in support of the meat of the order.
Marcus Stroman (7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 SO) was solid in his start, with Ken Giles (1.0 IP, 3 SO, H) and Thomas Pannone (1.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H) supporting the starting rotation with a pair of great innings in relief. Starter Aaron Sanchez (6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 SO) was also quietly effectively in his start in Sunday’s finale.


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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation