False Alarm! George Springer won’t make his debut on Tuesday

It turns out today won’t be the start of Springer Season after all.

Though there had been plenty of indication that today would be the day that George Springer finally makes his Blue Jays debut, that won’t be the case. Apparently, Springer ran at TD Ballpark in Dunedin Tuesday morning and his quad is still not back at 100%.

Multiple sources: George Springer will NOT make his #BlueJays debut tonight.
He ran at TD Ballpark earlier and the quad is still not 100% yet. Plenty more on #BlueJaysCentral at 6:30p.
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) April 27, 2021

As much as this sucks, it really is better that the Blue Jays are taking things slowly with Springer and ensuring that he’s all good to go before bringing him back. It would really be awful if he came back a little bit too early and nicked or aggravated something and had to go back on the Injured List for another few weeks shortly after finally making his debut. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.
That said, this is obviously really disappointing as we had all built ourselves up for today finally being the day. At this point, I’m not going to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Springer Season begins (maybe???) as the Washington Nationals visit Dunedin

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for.

George Springer will finally make his much-anticipated Toronto Blue Jays debut on Tuesday as the Blue Jays host the Washington Nationals in Dunedin. Well, it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, but today has been the date the team was talking about all last week.
The $150 million man, as we know, has missed the first month-ish of play due to a couple of injuries and he’ll be welcomed back to action by none other than three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.
How they’re doing…
The Nationals have been bad since they won the 2019 World Series.
Anthony Rendon walked in free agency, Stephen Strasburg has been injured, and the Nats look like a shell of their 2019 selves at this stage. They went 26-34 in 2020 and they’re off to an 8-11 start this season.
Washington has the second-worst offence in baseball this year, as they’re scoring just 3.26 runs per game with a paltry .664 team OPS. The Blue Jays actually have an even shittier team OPS of .660 in 2021 but they’re scoring 3.95 runs per game, putting them a few spots below league average.
On the other side of …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

AHL postpones more Marlies games due to league COVID-19 protocols

The AHL announced today that three more Toronto Marlies games will be postponed “due to league COVID-19 protocols affecting the Toronto Marlies, as well as Toronto Public Health workplace guidelines,”.
These three games are against the Belleville Senators and were supposed to be played on Friday, April 23rd and Saturday, April 24th in Belleville and then in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28th.
It’s not known how much longer the situation will go on, but The Leafs Nation will provide more information once it becomes available. Stay tuned.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Marlies games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols

The AHL announced today that three Toronto Marlies games (April 15, April 18 against Laval) and (April 21 against Belleville) have been postponed due to COVID-19 league protocols.
No make-up dates have been announced as of yet by the league.
The Toronto Marlies are 10-11-0-1 on the season and had 11 games left before the end of the year. More information on the Toronto Marlies will come whenever anything is released.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Seravalli: Leafs one of the teams offering a first round pick for Nick Foligno

Today in rumours we didn’t want to hear, we’ve been treated to this unfortunate tweet:

Believe the #Leafs, #Avs and #caps are among the teams potentially willing to part with a 1st round pick in a Foligno deal – and that list may not be conclusive. https://t.co/jGjNBrHvS2
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) April 11, 2021

Now, I think there are certain aspects to this deal that can be justified. The Leafs are certainly a team that can benefit from more forwards that are willing to finish their checks. Foligno is another capable veteran presence, and one that could potentially improve their power play. The higher cost associated with bringing him in likely also points to the Blue Jackets retaining half of his salary, and while this trade isn’t ideal, nor the first choice of most Leafs fans, it would be far from the worst thing they could do at the deadline. The worst thing would be to stand pat.
Nick Foligno, of course, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so this is a steep rental price to pay for someone with seven goals (16 points) in 42 games. The fact that Foligno has over 100 hits …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Should the Leafs pursue Nikita Gusev?

Should the Leafs pursue Nikita Gusev?

At noon EST today, the New Jersey Devils placed Nikita Gusev on unconditional waivers for the purpose of mutual contract termination.

Nikita Gusev on unconditional waivers for purposes of termination. Has not played since March 20, as young players take over in NJ. Was on waivers 9 days ago, but hit of $4.5M made it untradeable, unfortunately. This creates possibility of signing elsewhere at a lower number.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 9, 2021

Gusev has already cleared waivers once, as the few teams with $4.5m in cap space did not find Gusev a worthwhile addition. After clearing waivers I assume the Devils did due diligence to find a trade partner, to no avail. If New Jersey had decided to assign Gusev to their AHL team he wouldn’t be the most expensive contract buried in the minors, so contract termination was not a foregone conclusion.
Still owed approximately $1m on his remaining contract with New Jersey, with this termination Gusev has agreed to walk away from that money. I don’t think he makes that decision just to hit the golf courses a month early. We’ve seen this in the past with Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Bogosian in 19-20, each walking away from …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Ross Atkins “optimistic” that Blue Jays will reach 85% vaccination threshold

The Blue Jays are off today after yesterday’s incredibly thrilling opening day victory in New York, so it isn’t a very Good Friday at all!

Elsewhere, Ross Atkins provided injury-related updates for the team, in which he said George Springer could be ready for the team’s “home” opener on April 8, Robbie Ray and Nate Pearson are throwing off of mounds today, and Tom Hatch is throwing again after a brief shutdown.
He also noted that the Blue Jays will be vaccinated when they return to Florida later this month as the state is set to allow anybody over the age of 18 eligible for the shot in a few weeks. Atkins said that he’s “optimistic” that the Blue Jays will be able to reach the 85% threshold of players getting vaccinated that Major League Baseball has established in order to ease their COVID protocols.
Earlier this week, MLB and the Players’ Association sent out a three-page memorandum to players and staff that stated “all players and staff are strongly encouraged to receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines when eligible.” If a team has 85% of its players vaccinated, MLB will loosen their COVID restrictions, allowing things like drinking …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have acquired Juan Graterol (which means Reese McGuire is probably getting cut)

The Blue Jays announced today that they had acquired a familiar face (well, a familiar face if you were really, really invested in the dark days of the rebuilding era).

Juan Graterol is back! The team acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for cash considerations.
Graterol, as you surely don’t remember, was a member of the Blue Jays organization for, like, three months back in 2017. The Jays grabbed him off of waivers that off-season and he played a handful of games for the Buffalo Bisons and then they traded him to the Angels for cash.
He’s pretty much been an insurance, third- or fourth-string catcher option for his entire career. He’s 32 years old and has played in only 67 big-league games while being a part of six different organizations. In those 67 games, he’s slashed a .218/.227/.266 line with zero homers. But, hey, he can squat behind the plate and catch the damn ball!
So, what does this mean?
I would assume it means that the team is going to cut Reese McGuire and they want a veteran third-string option so that they don’t have to call up a prospect like Riley Adams …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Nick Robertson starts skating, Rasmus Sandin close to skating, Leafs prospects in quarantine

There was some interesting (and good) news today from Marlies head coach, Greg Moore on a few players who are joining the lineup soon. Nick Robertson is first on this list of many players. He’s been day-to-day with an abdominal injury for the past two weeks and has finally started skating, per Moore.
Rasmus Sandin is another player of note. He’s played in one (partial) game with the Marlies, where he blocked a shot and didn’t return. He’s been out since February 16th, but Moore said today that Sandin will “hopefully” start skating next week.
The final player of note, who’s currently with the team is Teemu Kivihalme, who’s missed the last two games due to a hand injury. Moore said yesterday that Kivihalme is close to returning but didn’t mention when that might be.
A prospect update
During Kyle Dubas’ mid-season press conference, he confirmed that Semyon Der-Arguchintsev is currently quarantining in Toronto. He’s one of the — according to Moore — “there’s a couple of guys in quarantine that should be joining us here next week sometime.”
Some speculation: Pavel Gogolev, who the Marlies signed in February has finished his season …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs trade day?

So there are no guarantees in life, but today isn’t a bad day to turn on notifications for insider tweets, and to hit refresh on the @LeafsPR all day long instead of doing actual work. Thanks to the 14 day quarantine required for players crossing the border from the United States, this is one of the windows that results in the fewest number of games to that would be missed by said player in joining the Leafs. A second window like this occurs after Saturday night’s game against the Flames, but with the exception of these two occurrences, the Leafs new player would miss six games minimum in joining the club. There’s also something to be said for making moves sooner rather than later, a concept that Kyle Dubas has been fond of in the past.
What are the Leafs shopping for?
Well, the consistent leading item on the Leafs wishlist according to insiders has been a middle six forward, more or less a second line winger seems to be the target, but perhaps someone who could elevate the third line is more the reality of it. Of course this is what the ongoing rumours have been, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation