Santiago Espinal is an everyday player

If you follow me on Twitter or know me in person, you know that writing about specific players is my favourite type of article. While all the crazy happenings of trade deadline day unfolded upon us, I released an article on Sem Robberse.

Now, I usually wait a week or two before releasing another article on a particular player, but I feel as if this one cannot wait. The player in question is not a prospect, he’s here and he’s beautiful.
His name is Santiago Espinal and he is the Toronto Blue Jays starting third baseman.
The beginning:
Before deep-diving into why Espinal is the perfect utility player, it has to be noted how the Blue Jays acquired him. Often there are winners and losers in a trade, this one was different though. On June 28th, 2018, the mediocre Blue Jays sent Steve Pearce to the Boston Red Sox for Santiago Espinal.
To his credit, Pearce was a pretty decent player while playing for the Jays. He was versatile and was an above-average hitter in a Blue Jays uniform. Boston would later go on to win the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Who was the WS MVP? …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Ondřej was the Kaše that they gave us: Leafs sign him to 1 year deal

It seems that this summer Kyle Dubas has decided that if he’s gonna be damned, he’s gonna be damned for doing things the way he wants to do things. He’s gone with Greyhounds. He’s gone with underappreciated or miscast players, and now he’s moved onto statistical darlings…

Ondrej Kase signs a one-year contract with #leafs worth $1.25M.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 31, 2021

Ondrej Kase, long adored for excelling at driving the play forward, Kaše has had his injury troubles throughout his career, and was limited to just three games last season, and hasn’t really played anywhere near a full season in his career. The right wing from the Czech Republic is 6’0 tall, and 190 lbs, and could line up with countryman David Kampf on the Leafs 3rd line this season, when healthy. When Kaše isn’t healthy, he creates an opportunity for players like Brooks, Robertson, and Anderson to dip their toes into the lineup as well, so he’s a reasonable risk to take, especially since he’s only 25.

As you can see from the chart above, Kase is pretty darn good in all situations, and if William Nylander is going to be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Getting to know Blue Jays prospect Sem Robberse

Want a list of all MLB players that have played from the Netherlands proper who pitched 500 innings or had 1000 plate appearances since the colour barrier was broken?

Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven and Didi Gregorius.
While there are many notable players from the Dutch Antilles (Curaçao and Aruba), it’s safe to say that baseball is not a priority sport in the Netherlands. Quite frankly I could have left this paragraph blank and you’d get the point. The Netherlands produces high-quality footballers, it’s not quite so easy to find a notable baseball player from Holland.
So, you may be asking why I’m talking about a non-baseball European country in a Blue Jays Nation article and it boils down to the Blue Jays’ ability to find high potential prospects on the International Free Agent market. Sem Robberse may be one of those players in the eventual future.
2019 IFA signings:
If you know me or follow me on Twitter, I rant and rave about the Blue Jays and their success on the International Free Agent market. They went shopping in 2018, signing a potential generational talent in Orelvis Martinez. The next season they followed that up by signing relief …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 33: A Split at Fenway, trade deadline talk, catching up with the new-look Yankees, and more!

All things considered, that was a pretty good week.

The Blue Jays rolled into Fenway and took two of four from the first-place team in the American League. They suffered a heartbreaker on Monday, the game was rained out on Tuesday, Robbie Ray guided the team to a win with an ace start on Wednesday, Steven Matz had a tough go in the night cap, and then the bats exploded for 13 runs in the finale on Friday.
All said, two out of four ain’t bad. It doesn’t move the needle in terms of catching Boston, but it keeps them in the mix for the wild-card and it ensures that Friday’s homecoming won’t be a bummer.
Anyways! With Tyler still lost in the woods and BK on a flight from B.C. to Toronto, I tackled talking about the Boston series ALL BY MYSELF. I also talked about the acquisition of Brad Hand from Washington and where he fits in the team’s bullpen along with the rumour that the Blue Jays are in the mix for Jose Berrios.
Finally, I welcomed Neil Keefe to the show to talk about the New York Yankees, who just had …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs sign Michael Bunting to a 2 year deal

The Maple Leafs announced Wednesday that they had agreed to a 2-year, $1.9M deal with 25-year-old winger Michael Bunting, for an annual cap hit of $950k

Michael Bunting’s deal in TOR is two years, with an AAV of $950K.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 28, 2021

Bunting has been rumoured to the Leafs all summer, both due to his Scarborough roots and his time playing under Sheldon Keefe and Kyle Dubas with the Soo Greyhounds. With this latest Soo signing, Dubas has filled out his Greyhound loyalty card and is now eligible for one free Greyhound during his next visit to free agency.
The late-blooming Bunting, who has 26 NHL games experience spread across the last two seasons, put up 10 goals and 3 assists in 21 games last season with the Arizona Coyotes, shooting a blistering 26.3%. While it is extremely unlikely he will be able to keep up that shooting rate, Bunting should benefit from playing in the Leafs’ more up-tempo offensive system, especially if he finds himself with Auston Matthews or John Tavares as his centre. The versatile Bunting, who can play either wing, is the type of plug-and-play winger who brings many different elements to a line, making him an ideal addition for …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Raptors rumors: Pelicans open up space for Kyle Lowry after huge trade

Raptors rumors: Pelicans open up space for Kyle Lowry after huge trade

Most of the Toronto Raptors rumors that have sprouted up over the last few weeks have pertained to star point guard Kyle Lowry, as the future Hall of Famer could be contemplating leaving Canada after spending nearly a decade with Toronto. While teams like the Lakers, Heat, and 76ers have been linked to Lowry given […]
Raptors rumors: Pelicans open up space for Kyle Lowry after huge trade – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

BJN. Radio Ep. 32: An up-and-down weekend with the Mets, a new-look lineup, refuting the idea of being sellers, and more!

What a rollercoaster that was.

The Blue Jays, fresh off of an ugly two-game set with the Red Sox badly in need of some wins, rolled into Flushing to face the Mets. They got shut down on Friday, exploded on Saturday, and then lost a heartbreaker on Sunday. One step forward, two steps back.
Me and BK talked about the team’s new lineup composition, why it’s ideal to have Bo Bichette in the four-hole, Hyun Jin Ryu’s tough start, Ross Stripling’s bounce-back, and Alejandro Kirk’s return to the lineup. We also waved goodbye to T.J. Zeuch, who we fear might become the next Chris Carpenter in St. Louis, and then talked about how the Blue Jays should approach the trade deadline.
There are many suggestions out there suggesting this team should sell, but we explained why that’s a bad idea.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Saturday’s huge win overshadowed by Sunday’s frustrating loss

About two months ago, I wrote an article that said the phrase “get bullpen help” a thousand times. While I won’t be doing that for this article, the point still stands.

I’m currently writing this in the bottom of the seventh. Thus far, the Jays are 1-13 with runners in scoring position. This includes three separate times with no outs early in the game. In fact, their offense only started to pick up after the third time through the order against Rich Hill.
Things worth mentioning
Top of the 6th
The Jays scored three runs to make it 3-1, yet it was still quite painful to watch. Springer got hit with a 69 mph curveball on a 3-2 count. Not the pain I was talking about, but nice. Vlad hit a rocket off the wall for a single. Semien walked and the Jays had the bases loaded for Bichette.
Hill was taken out of the game and Bichette hit a two run single off of Lugo. The start of the pain kicks in now. Teo hits a tailor made double play ball which would have scored a run, but the Mets third basemen decided to go home with it …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Deadline Primer: The Rotation

Before we get started, it’s important to point out that the starting rotation options for this trade deadline are bleak at best. The likely strategy for most teams looking for pitching help will be to add to the bullpen, and The Blue Jays should be no different. But let’s have a look at some of the potential targets if Ross Atkins and the front office do decide to venture into a heavy seller’s market.

In 2020, the team added Taijuan Walker who had barely pitched in the two and a half years before becoming a Blue Jay. The acquisition cost was next to nothing, and the additions of starters-turned-relievers Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling were likely in the same vein. Walker went on to make six starts in a Blue Jays uniform and performed extremely well, exceeding all expectations. A similar, low-risk-high-reward move could be in the cards for The Jays this trade deadline, however, The Jays rotation is much more solidified this season than it was last.
Robbie Ray has emerged as the clear-cut ace of the staff, and despite a rough patch, Hyun-Jin Ryu appears to be getting back on track. A top of the rotation …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

John Tavares looks good to go

Not sure if you missed the 635 replays that Sportsnet showed of John Tavares getting almost decapitated in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens, but it was a shocking thing to watch. The incident, which resulted in Tavares being knocked unconscious and stretchered off the ice, left many fans questioning in the immediate aftermath if the injury could be career-altering.
Tavares miraculously escaped serious injury to his head, neck and spine, coming away with a concussion and a knee injury. He astoundingly returned to the ice before the series against Montreal ended, and could have possibly returned to the playoffs had the Leafs progressed.
The great news, as shared by Kyle Dubas on TSN’s Overdrive radio show, is that Tavares seems to be fully out of the woods and should be 100% in time for the start of next season, which is a huge relief to hear:

Kyle Dubas said on @OverDrive1050 that John Tavares has been cleared for all on-ice activities and all signs point to him being good to go next season. But given nature of the injury, #Leafs will be cautious as he gets back up to his former speed.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation