Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. is a star in the making after breakout 2021

Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. is a star in the making after breakout 2021

When the Toronto Raptors signed Gary Trent Jr to a three-year, $51.84 million contract in the offseason, some fans had their doubts. After the trade deadline where Norman Powell was shipped to the Portland Trail Blazers in return for Trent and Rodney Hood, the circumstances allowed him to showcase his skills. Trent showed flashes of […]
Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. is a star in the making after breakout 2021 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Sai Pirapakaran / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays are among the teams in the mix for Yusei Kikuchi

The Blue Jays signed Kevin Gausman on Sunday, and it looks like they aren’t done there.

According to Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays are among the teams in the mix for lefty starter Yusei Kikuchi.

Jays are among teams in on Yusei Kikuchi. Pitching market is obvs very strong.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 29, 2021

Kikuchi signed with the Seattle Mariners out of Japan back in January of 2019 to a four-year deal with an opt-out. Kikuchi had two difficult seasons, pitched pretty well in 2021, and opted out of his deal with Seattle to explore the open market. Here we are now.
It was a tale of two seasons for Kikuchi in 2021. In the first half, he was excellent, posting a 3.34 ERA between April and June and earning an All-Star Team nod. In the second half, he was a mess, posting a 5.73 ERA between July and September. Kikuchi was bad enough down the stretch that his spot in the rotation was getting skipped as the Mariners were vying for a playoff berth.
If the Blue Jays wind up signing Kikuchi, it would essentially be as a replacement for Steve Matz, who was acquired last winter as a reclamation project after a disastrous …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Kevin Gausman to a five-year contract

The Blue Jays did it, they signed Kevin Gausman to a five year, 110 million dollar contract.

BREAKING: Right-hander Kevin Gausman and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021

The 30-year-old spent his 2021 with the San Francisco Giants and posted a 2.81 ERA and a 3.00 FIP. His fWAR was a 4.8 while his bWAR was an even better 5.4. The right-hander pitched 192 innings and registered a K/9 of 10.64 while keeping his BB/9 at a minimal 2.34.
For his career, Gausman has a 4.02 ERA with a 3.88 FIP in his 1177.1 innings pitched. His K/9 stands at an 8.88 while his career BB/9 is at a low 2.64. His career 8.88 K/9 is quite misleading however, as he wasn’t a strikeout pitcher for the first part of his career. In the past three seasons, his K/9 has been:
2019: 10.03
2020: 11.92
2021: 10.64
While his ground ball percentage has dropped over the past three years, his past two seasons he’s had a GB% of 41.9%, meaning that he is a diverse pitcher that can get a batter out by strikeout or ground out.
Interestingly enough, the Giants were not able to give him a qualifying offer, meaning that the …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. considered strong contender for DPOY

Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. considered strong contender for DPOY

The Toronto Raptors signed Gary Trent Jr. to a three-year contract in free agency with the expectation that the young guard would provide a burst of scoring and shooting. Toronto likely expected him to make some improvements on the defensive end, but what they’ve seen from him in the last few weeks has been remarkable. […]
Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. considered strong contender for DPOY – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Why the Blue Jays were right to invest in José Berríos long-term

Yesterday morning the Blue Jays signed José Berríos to a seven year contract worth $131 million dollars. This is the largest deal the Blue Jays have given to a pitcher in club history and shows that Berríos, who was acquired from the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline, was well worth the cost of acquisition.

For the Blue Jays getting this deal done now makes a ton of sense. Berríos dazzled in his debut for the Blue Jays, and in 12 starts for the club down the stretch, he pitched to a 3.58 ERA with a 3.28 FIP. Berríos from all reports seems like a player with a good character and makeup. Something the Blue Jays clearly value highly. Berríos fit in right away and showed a willingness to make adjustments when things weren’t going well.
In an era of big velocity and high spin rate, Berríos doesn’t really have either. His primary pitch is the curveball which has a spin rate of 2338 rpm, which was middle of the pack last season, per Baseball Savant. His fastball velocity of 94.1mph, while slightly above league average, is hardly blowing anyone away these days. What Berríos does is mirror his pitches extremely well, so …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

There is no easy path to keeping Morgan Rielly beyond this season

The second Charlie McAvoy was signed today my mind went where any reasonable person’s mind should go, and that was to how it affects the Leafs. Contracts for Seth Jones, Darnell Nurse, Dougie Hamilton, and others already set the bar high for Morgan Rielly and should have essentially torched the idea of Rielly accepting a team friendly contract under the $7M mark. Now team friendly seems like $8M. The McAvoy contract makes that even harder…

Charlie McAvoy #NHLBruins8 yr, $76 mil$49.5m sal$26.5m sign bonus
22-23: $6m + $3.25m SB23-24: $7.75m + $3.25m SB24-25: $8.5m + $3m SB25-26: $8.5m + $3m SB26-27: $6m + $4m SB27-28: $3.75m + $4m SB28-29: $4.5m + $3m SB29-30: $4.5m + $3m SBFull NMC from 7/1/25 – 5/31/28
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 15, 2021

There is obviously a strong argument that McAvoy is better than Rielly. There’s a benefit to paying a younger defenseman throughout his entire prime rather than taking a chance on how the player will perform later in their career, but it doesn’t change that teams are paying legitimate number one defensemen over $9M, and Morgan Rielly falls into that category.
So the Leafs have the benefit of the salary cap possibly going up. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs sign William Villeneuve to a three-year entry level contract

The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally signed a player from their 2021 development camp.

We’ve signed defenceman William Villeneuve to a three-year entry level contract. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 25, 2021

The Leafs drafted Villeneuve in the fourth round, 122nd overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Villeneuve spent some time with the Toronto Marlies last season, only playing in two games. Prior to that, he played in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs and had 20 points in 33 games.
“Villeneuve is a high risk, high reward defenceman,” said TLN contributor, Kyle Cushman in a recent article, “but we didn’t see enough of those game-breaking plays from him that made him the worthwhile swing in the 2020 draft.“
While at the rookie tournament, he tallied two assists over four games with the Leafs. However, he also did this while defending a two-on-one against the Dallas Stars’ prospects:

Robertson turnover goes the other way, Scott stops the first shot but can’t get the second. 3-3 pic.twitter.com/6O7pER91WI
— Kyle Cushman (@Kyle_Cush) September 19, 2021

For the season ahead, Villeneuve is headed back to Saint John, where he will play his last season in the QMJHL. After that, he could join …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Stop the slander, John Tavares is absolutely worth his contract

When John Tavares signed his seven-year, $77-million contract on July 1, 2018, fans across the nation were ecstatic. The Leafs landed the biggest fish in free agency that year. The “rebuild” phase of the team’s ascent from the ashes of the old regime was over, the team now had bonafide superstars, plural, and were poised to become contenders.
Now, three seasons and a pretty significant shift in the status quo of the planet Earth later, a small but growing and very vocal minority of the fanbase want to get rid of the team’s captain. Some of their main arguments against Tavares and his contract being that “he’s not worth $11 million per season,” “they didn’t need another scoring forward,” and “it’s too much for a player who’s already past his prime.”
And the people saying these things are objectively wrong.
Let’s start with the obvious: as a Maple Leaf, Tavares has 92 goals and 198 total points in 201 regular season games. He is quite literally just under a point per game and has been top three in team scoring during each of his seasons with the team. This is not a player who is past his prime with …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Frank Ntilikina is a better bench option than Sam Dekker

Raptors: Frank Ntilikina is a better bench option than Sam Dekker

The Toronto Raptors recently signed guard Svi Mykhailiuk to a two-year contract to beef up the back end of the roster. Now, there are three or four roster spots still open for partially guaranteed players like Ishmail Wainright, Isaac Bonga, and Sam Dekker to battle for. If Toronto wants to take one more gamble, Frank Ntilikina might […]
Raptors: Frank Ntilikina is a better bench option than Sam Dekker – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alaa Alarashi / Raptors HQ

Raptors: Should Toronto keep Isaac Bonga or Sam Dekker?

Raptors: Should Toronto keep Isaac Bonga or Sam Dekker?

The Toronto Raptors have signed several veteran players to non-guaranteed contracts with the aim of giving them a chance to compete for their spot in training camp. Two of the players in that group of vets looking to stick with Nick Nurse for 2020-21 include former first-round pick Sam Dekker and ex-Washington Wizards starter Isaac […]
Raptors: Should Toronto keep Isaac Bonga or Sam Dekker? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ