Minor Leaguers: Do They Even Exist?

We were told, some time ago, that the minor leaguers would be staggered so as to come to spring training after the Blue jays broke camp. Certainly, in the case of the jays, there was some mild fuzziness because the complex is just five miles across town and the non-roster invitees to major league camp just continue on when the rest of the system arrives. All this in preparation for the opening of the minor league season currently set for May 4. So in theory all those many wonderful prospects are there, now, as you are reading this, going through their paces – and have been for over a week so. . . why is it so quiet?

Seriously, as far as a quick Google search can reveal, not one whisper published this month about Austin Martin or Jordan Groshans or Alek Manoah and what kind of impression they, or anyone else, might be making. For someone who’s generally as fascinated with this side of the organization as I am the major league club, it makes one feel a bit deprived. Moreso when you feel obliged to generate some content as the season approaches.
So here’s what little I’ve got: a …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs place Joe Thornton on LTIR

After Sheldon Keefe told the media that Joe Thronton will be out of action for a month due to a rib fracture, the Leafs made the move to place the 41-year-old forward on long-term injury reserve.

#Leafs placed F Joe Thornton on LTIR today.
This gave Toronto an additional $700,000 of relief in their Salary Pool that can be used during his absence.https://t.co/BPt2vFET34 https://t.co/l2lo15XY1j
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) January 22, 2021

He is now the second Leaf this week to be placed on LTIR after doing the same for Nick Robertson on Thursday. Additionally, they will be without Auston Matthews who will sit out Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers and have their forward depth tested very early. Meaning the likes of Pierre Engvall and Adam Brooks will make their season debuts tonight.
In the third period, Thornton got hit by Josh Archibald and was in immediate discomfort. He went to the locker room afterwards and did not return.

here’s the hit that has sent joe thornton to the locker room pic.twitter.com/xFJyEd2471
— zach laing (@zjlaing) January 21, 2021

In five games, Thornton has recorded a goal, and assist, and two points.
All …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

What are the expectations for the Toronto Maple Leafs next season?

If you told me in September that there might not be hockey until February, I would’ve laughed and cried at the same time. But every day, it looks like that’s more and more likely.
Let’s say though that the season starts in mid-January and the NHL gets 50-70 games in. The Maple Leafs are in the so-called Canadian division and they end up coming out on top. How far do they go in the playoffs? Even if they don’t win the division, how far do you think Toronto can go?
An early first-round exit? A second-round playoff berth for the first time since 2004? Eastern Conference finals? Heck, even the Stanley Cup Finals? That would be the dream but it’s so hard to judge especially with a team like the Maple Leafs.
However I think I’ve got it right:

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

How good is a team made up entirely of players the Leafs traded away?

“Someone once told me the definition of hell; on your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.” – Anonymous
This chilling quote was almost certainly never made in reference to pro-sports franchises, but as a hockey writer, it’s my job to find a way to shoehorn anything I find into a narrative about the Leafs. If there’s one thing sports fans love to do more than pay $12 for beer it’s complaining about the trades their team has made. Whether it’s shipping off a fan favourite or trading away a 7th round pick that will surely become the next Pavel Datsyuk, every move the GM makes gets scrutinized.
But how bad is it really? Sure teams make bad trades, but they also make some good ones. So here’s a question to ask ourselves. Could the Leafs beat a team made up entirely of players they’ve traded away?
The Team
Let’s set some rules.

Only players still playing in the NHL can be used. This team won’t feature Wendel Clark, Tomas Kaberle, or whoever else …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays sign Ruben Tejada to minor-league deal

I told you they weren’t done! I also told you not to expect anything interesting! So here you go: the Blue jays gave inked infielder Ruben Tejada to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training.

Ruben Tejada has minors deal with Blue Jays. Includes MLB spring camp invite.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 17, 2020

Tejada is a name you might recognize from his time with the New York Mets in the first half of the 2010s. Known mostly for his glove rather than his bat, Tejada played 580 games with the Mets between 2010 and 2015, slashing a .255/.330/.323 line while playing shortstop, second, and third base.
The Jays don’t really have a true backup shortstop on the roster right now, so Tejada could be that guy. Santiago Espinal is probably the best true backup shortstop they have on the 40-man, but he only has 28 games of experience at Triple-A. The other two options are Brandon Drury and Breyvic Valera, neither of whom are, well, ideal.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation