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

The Leafs will probably sign T.J. Brodie if he hits the market

There’s been a lot of talk about the Leafs’ ability to take a big swing at fixing their defence corps this offseason, usually in the form of a run at Alex Pietrangelo in free agency or moving a substantial name up front to get help elsewhere. Then beyond that, the sort of B-squad gets a lot of play – stop gap options like Radko Gudas, Dylan Demelo, and so on.
Jammed right in the middle of those two groups, I’d argue, is T.J. Brodie, set to hit the market if the Flames fail to re-up the blue-liner this week. And we don’t have to look too hard to link him up with the Leafs. Just last summer, when Toronto decided to move on from Nazem Kadri, it was widely known that the first deal on the table would send him to Calgary for a package centered around Brodie, before Kadri ultimately squashed it.
So Dubas knows this player. Well enough, in fact, that he was looking to to bring him aboard in one of his most substantial trades of his tenure. The research on his play had obviously largely been done, and Brodie was a hair away …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

3 reasons why the Leafs shouldn’t trade Frederik Andersen

There’s been a lot of talk recently about a trade that would send Frederik Andersen out the door and I have to be honest, I just don’t think that works out for the Leafs. Ever.
The speculation started with a 31 Thoughts article (thought #19), where Elliotte Friedman wrote: “The Carolina Hurricanes have interest in Frederik Andersen, but Toronto’s made it clear it has no desire to make a move just for the sake of change.”
This sparked Leafs Twitter to start drafting up mock trades with some that could work, others, in my opinion, not so much. Andersen as we know is going into the last year of his five year, $25-million deal. What makes him interesting to a lot teams is that his salary is only $1 million because his signing bonus of $4 million has already been paid out.
A lot of teams are going to have to find ways to save money after COVID-19 hit their pockets so hard. With no fans in the arenas and the cap staying flat, there will be teams with a lot of money and teams with not much money that will be …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Do we see Jack Campbell in Game Four?

It’s probably a tad ridiculous to talk about Game Four before we’ve even got a whiff of Game Three, but my business card says planner, so that’s kinda where my mind goes. You might have excitedly noticed the Leafs are going to play on both Thursday and Friday. Two days of Leafs hockey sounds great. The one part we haven’t dealt with from that is typically that means goaltenders are going to split the games. And now we head down the road of processing exactly what that means.
Why we should see Campbell
Hoping in the way back machine to 2013, we find a Eric Tulsky article explaining why starting goaltenders two nights in a row is never a good idea.
Give the full article a read, but here is a key takeaway…
 I did a similar study but restricting things to games where a team was on the second half of a back-to-back, so that we could compare the instances where they started a goalie who played in the game before to the instances where they started a rested goalie (data through Thursday’s games):

Team playing back-to-back
Games …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

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

Daily Duce: Thinking about free agency, Major League Baseball expansion, and more!

It’s incredibly difficult to talk about baseball right now because, at the end of the day, we don’t know anything.
We know that Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association has a deal in place that covers a handful of key labour-related issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pause such as shortening the draft, giving players an advance on their salaries, and basing service time on last season in the event of a cancelled season, but everything regarding the actual 2020 season is up in the air.
Maybe there’ll be Opening Day games during All-Star Weekend. Maybe there’ll be a wild, quick, 81-game season filled with complete madness. Maybe there’ll be a big, expanded post-season that features 12 or even 16 teams. Maybe there’ll be a World Series played in a neutral location on Christmas. Maybe games will be played on the moon. Maybe there won’t be a season at all. Who knows! We’re venturing into the unknown.
Anyways, let’s try to figure out how the fallout from all of this affects the Blue Jays in the wide array of possible scenarios we could be …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It looks like there’s still going to be a draft this year

There had been talk of cancelling this summer’s Major League Baseball draft due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it appears MLB and the Players’ Union have an agreement in place to ensure a shortened version of the draft gets done.

a maximum bonus for undrafted players has been discussed. Most discussed number for that is $10,000. Could push lots of high school talent to college, middle-tier college talent to return to school.
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) March 26, 2020

The key issue for teams was money. Millions of dollars are handed out by each team on signing bonuses for players drafted and the draft was looked upon as a way to cut costs when everybody is dealing with zero revenue coming through the gates. There was also the issue of drafting players that hadn’t been scouted this year, but, ultimately, the big thing here was money.
So the proposed solution will apparently see the draft shortened to 10 (possibly five) rounds, down from the usual 40 rounds we see now. The signing bonuses will be deferred to 2021 and 2022, with players getting 10 percent of their bonuses up front and 45 percent in July of 2021 and 2022.
It still seems a bit odd to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Woah, look, something happened! (It’s Joe Panik getting added to the 40-man roster)

Losing your mind without sports to talk about? No need to Panik!

The Blue Jays have selected the contract of Joe Panik, thus adding him to the 40-man roster for whenever the season gets up and rolling. In a corresponding roster move, pitcher Yennsy Diaz has been placed on the 60-day Injured List with some undisclosed injury.
Panik, of course, was in camp as a non-roster invitee on a minor-league deal. He had an opt-out clause on his deal for March 15 that would have allowed him to test the open market again, so the Jays unsurprisingly added him to the roster.
So, yeah. That’s the news. It isn’t overly exciting, but it’s something! It’s really not surprising at all that Panik was added to the 40-man. He had a very good spring, going 8-for-21 with a couple of homers. Had the Jays not added him to the 40-man, I’m sure that performance would have been good enough to earn him a gig somewhere.
I think if once the season gets going, we’ll see him used as more than just a backup infielder off the bench. If …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Making the best of this

No hockey and no hockey talk makes Leafs Nation go crazy.
Hitting pause on the season has been interesting. I’ve learned just how much I use sports to navigate my day. The empty moments between meetings, the twitter tab open while I take breaks from mundane excel spreadsheets, and those couple hours a night of truly feeling alive by complaining about the Leafs. This pause is a pause on a lot routine in life, but of course the seriousness of the situation warrants it.
Taking a step back from the seriousness, I think it’s time to maybe look at some of the favourable takeaways for what the pause could mean for the Leafs. Assuming we do see a conclusion to the 2019-20 season in some fashion there are some positives. And damned if we won’t briefly consider them here…
The Points Percentage Thing
If the regular season is toast, and when hockey returns it’s playoff time, by pretty much every potential measure the Leafs are in the playoffs. That’s a nice little piece of relief. The Leafs not only sit higher than the Panthers in points, but point percentage. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

There’s a Barrie good chance these are Tyson’s last days as a Leaf

After a whole lot of Kerfoot, Johnsson, and Kapanen talk over the past month, Tyson Barrie has swooped in and become the belle of the trade deadline ball for the Leafs. After two consecutive playoff runs that saw the Leafs out after the first round only to have unrestricted free agents like James van Riemsdyk and Jake Gardiner walk for nothing, the Leafs seem to be employing a bit more of an asset management strategy with Tyson Barrie this year.

More Trade Bait talk on @SportsCentre– I believe at least 4 teams have shown interest so far in #Leafs pending UFA Tyson Barrie: #Canucks , #Flames , #VegasBorn , #LetsGoCanes. Only way Barrie gets dealt is if TOR finds better fit on D, or gets pieces to flip for that better fit.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 21, 2020
The full clip of what Frank had to say can be found here.  But we’ll break down some of the suspected trades below
One for One, Tyson Barrie for T.J. Brodie
This is obviously the most straight forward, and if there is the potential to get Brodie signed to a reasonable contract in Toronto for a few years, it’s …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation