Random MLB Thoughts: Miggy has 3,000 hits, Surpises, Blue Jays thoughts and more!

Welcome to the first edition of my Random MLB thoughts, a look at happenings around the league, as well as some additional Blue Jays thoughts.

Miguel Cabrera has 3,000 hits:
On Saturday, Miguel Cabrera became only the 33rd player to reach the 3,000 hit mark. Last season, Miguel hit his 500th homer against the Blue Jays on August 22. He now joins an elite group of six other players who have hit 500 home runs while recording 3,000 hits.

One of 33 players with 3,000 hits.
Congrats, @MiguelCabrera! pic.twitter.com/0oWJHvmQ6A
— MLB (@MLB) April 23, 2022

Cabrera, 39, has one more guaranteed season after this one left on his contract worth an annual average of $30 million. However, he and the Tigers have a mutual option for 2024 and 2025, meaning that the eventual Hall of Famer could play until he’s at least 42.
He won a batting triple crown in 2012, the first to do so since Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski (also part of the 3K hits club) did it in 1967. No one has done it since. Not just that, but Miggy has a World Series to his name, winning it with the Florida Marlins in 2003.
He is all but a guaranteed Hall of Famer, maybe even unanimously, as having over 3,000 hits means you’re basically a lock. There are only six other 3,000 hit club members that aren’t in the Hall of Fame.
One of those players, Albert Pujols, is the only other player that is still actively playing. Both Ichiro Suzuki and Adrian Beltre won’t be eligible to join the HOF for another few years.
That leaves just Pete Rose, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro as the only three players that are eligible for the Hall, but haven’t been voted in. Both Rodriguez and Palmeiro tested positive for steroids in their career.
Pete Rose, who should 100% be in the Hall of Fame, allegedl …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Civil Discourse: The Leafs have too many good defencemen. What should they do now that Muzzin is back?

Welcome to Civil Discourse, an article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.
Mark Norman
I think we can safely say this is a nice problem to have: the Leafs have too many good defencemen. With less than 15 games left to go in the regular season, our playoff opponent still unknown, and the return of Jake Muzzin, it begs the question of what the Leafs should do with their suddenly-crowded blueline. Ryan, what are your thoughts on how things should shape up now that Muzzin is back?
Ryan Hobart
I have been pretty unimpressed with Jake Muzzin this season overall. Of course, him being healthy is the best thing possible, but I’m not sure that him playing is the best thing. We know that his pairing with Justin Holl, previously quite solid, struggled greatly this year. When not with Muzzin, Justin Holl has played well, at least in terms of underlying numbers. My main thought is that if Muzzin is getting in, it shouldn’t be Justin Holl going out. The thing that’s really up in the air is how Ilya Lyubushkin can manage essentially top-pairing minutes with Morgan Rielly. What is your sense of that pairing? Are they too good together to break up?
Mark
I’ve liked Lyubushkin with Rielly: he brings a physical element that the Leafs have missed much of this season with Muzzin out of the lineup, and he frees Morgan up …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

3 reasons Kyle Lowry is the best Toronto Raptors player ever

3 reasons Kyle Lowry is the best Toronto Raptors player ever

The Toronto Raptors are all set to welcome Kyle Lowry back to Canada as a member of the visiting Miami Heat. The shock of seeing him as the enemy after nearly a decade of memories he helped create in Toronto is going to sting this fanbase in a pretty significant fashion. At the absolute worst, […]
3 reasons Kyle Lowry is the best Toronto Raptors player ever – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Marlies Mailbag: Josh Ho-Sang returns, Dmitry Ovchinnikov, and the evolution of Bobby McMann

Marlies Mailbag: Josh Ho-Sang returns, Dmitry Ovchinnikov, and the evolution of Bobby McMann

Welcome to another edition of the Marlies Mailbag!
A lot has happened since I wrote the last mailbag. Dmitry Ovchinnikov joined the Marlies, Josh Ho-Sang returned to Toronto from the Olympics with Team Canada, Erik Källgren received a call-up to the Maple Leafs, and much more!
The Marlies most recently defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 6-1 on Wednesday night. With that win, Toronto’s magic number to get into the playoffs is 33 points.
It’s a very tight race between the five of Toronto, Laval, Rochester, Syracuse, and Belleville. Each team has almost an identical winning percentage which makes these last 17 games vital for points.
In today’s mailbag, we’ll be discussing Ho-Sang’s return from the lineup after missing six games, Ovchinnikov joining the team, and the evolution of Bobby McMann throughout this season.
So, without wasting anymore of your time, let’s get started!

Any more word on what’s happening with Josh Ho-Sang? Expected him to get a contract after the Olympics but have hardly heard his name since
— Jack (@Azekial1168) March 23, 2022

While the Marlies were on a two game road-trip throughout New York at the beginning of March, there was a bug going through the team. I’m not too sure what it was, but what I do know that it was non-COVID related.
Ho-Sang missed those two games with the illness, and it likely hit him so hard that it took four more games to get back up to speed.
On Wednesday night, Ho-Sang returned to the Marlies lineup for the first time in six games. He was placed on a line with Nick Robertson and Antti Suomela (at the beginning o …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs Nation trade deadline day live tracker

Welcome to another year of The Leafs Nation’s trade deadline day live tracker where we will keep you up to date on all the latest rumors and speculation involving the Leafs as the clock winds down towards the deadline.
The Leafs got what figures to be their biggest piece of business done a day early on what was a busy Sunday for the club. Before acquiring veteran defenceman Mark Giordano and versatile depth forward Colin Blackwell from the Seattle Kraken, the Leafs made a flurry of other moves to create roster and salary cap flexibility.
Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell from Seattle Kraken for three mid-round draft picks
The club placed struggling netminder Petr Mrázek on waivers, clearing $1.125 million of his $3.8 million cap hit off the books. It is unlikely that he is claimed by another team but it appears that the Leafs plan to keep him in the minors after signing KHL free agent goaltender Säteri on Sunday as well. Säteri, 32, is as much a lottery ticket as anything else but he has put up stellar numbers over the last three seasons in the KHL and is fresh off a dominant showing at the Oly …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Nick Robertson on the board, Curtis Douglas’ big game, Pavel Gogolev demoted

Welcome to another edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect roundup here on The Leafs Nation!
We’re getting closer and closer to playoff action for many different Leafs prospects, including those in European leagues, the NCAA, and even the Canadian junior ranks. But in today’s roundup, we’ll be mainly focusing on a couple of noteworthy stories from the past week.
Nick Robertson | LW | Maple Leafs (NHL)
There’s no other way we can kick off this week’s roundup other than with Nicholas Robertson.
After a frustrating first two games in which he saw few shifts on the fourth line, Robertson finally received over 10 minutes of ice-time on Wednesday before being promoted to the second line alongside John Tavares and William Nylander in Toronto’s most recent game on Saturday night. He wasted little time making an impact on there, scoring his first career (regular season) goal early in the second period.

HIS FIRST CAREER (REGULAR SEASON) GOAL! #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/ZeuZFfuXEB
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 6, 2022

 
For much of the season, Toronto’s second line has been up against weaker competition but has not dominated in the way they are expected to. Earlier in the year, they were propped up by Alexander Kerfoot’s remarkably high on-ice shooting percentage, but as you would anticipate, that has cooled off as the season has gone along. Prior to Robertson’s debut on the line, the Kerfoot-Tavares-Nylander trio has felt stale and in need of a boost.
That’s exactly why the Leafs decided to put Robertson in that spot on Saturday. Not far out from the trade deadline and with minimal cap space if Jake Muzzin is to return in the regular-season, the Leafs need to test any and all in-house options to see where they should spend their assets. I felt it was still early for Robertson to come back up to the NHL level, especially with only a few games under his belt returning from a significant leg injury, but the Leafs clearly feel …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Mailbag: Answering all of your prospect questions heading into the trade deadline

Welcome to the first Toronto Maple Leafs prospect mailbag of the year!
Today, Nick Richard and I (Kyle Cushman) will be answering all of your questions on the Leafs’ system. We’ve got everything from who to watch going into the deadline, when we can expect to see the Leafs top prospects make their NHL debuts, and even a quick look ahead to the 2022 Entry Draft, plus a whole lot more.
Without further delay, let’s get into it.
TRADE DEADLINE
What prospects are on the hot seat for the trade deadline? (@thelifeofalvo)
Kyle: Based on everything we’ve heard so far, it seems like the Leafs are very reluctant to move any of their top prospects. This makes sense, as Toronto will need players on entry-level contracts to step into the lineup in the next couple of seasons and contribute. The most likely prospects to move are those in that second tier, the ones who other teams still like but you are more willing to give up.
In Toronto’s case, I think the second tier prospect sellers will be after is Roni Hirvonen. The Leafs have multiple other forward prospects and Hirvonen brings a lot of traits that should make him an intriguing prospect for sellers at the deadline. He’s still only 20 years old but has multi …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Marlies Mailbag: What’s going on with Pavel Gogolev?

Marlies Mailbag: What’s going on with Pavel Gogolev?

Welcome back to another edition of the Toronto Marlies mailbag!
This month, I go over the Marlies season so far, who’s stood out during their latest stretch, and who the Maple Leafs could look at signing ahead of the NHL trade deadline.
With the addition of Nick Ritchie as of late, Toronto seems like a team that will be tough to beat in the next month and even further into the future.
But instead of rambling on, though, let’s get into the mailbag!
 

Is Blandisi on an AHL contract now, as opposed to a PTO? Is Krys in the plans for next year and beyond?
— Patrick Connors (@81912CON) February 16, 2022

As of right now, Joseph Blandisi is still on a PTO to my knowledge.
Joining the Marlies back in December, the 27-year-old was just happy to be back playing hockey. During his first scrum, he said how happy he was to be playing in the blue and white, something the Markham, Ontario native dreamt of for a long time.
Blandisi has been a leader, but also a point producer, putting up 15 points in the 16 games he’s played in this season with the Marlies. He’s done so well that he’s even been in conversation to be one of the Maple Leafs late signings ahead of the trade deadline.
In terms of Chad Krys, I would think he’s in their long-term plans. He’s in the same position as Gogolev, where there’s so many good defenceman that it’s just difficult to get into the lineup.
He’s an RFA after this season, but I think him returning depends on who else …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Civil Discourse: What should the Maple Leafs do with their first-rounder this season?

Welcome to Civil Discourse, an article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.
Mark Norman
The Leafs have not drafted in the first round with their own pick since 2018 when they selected Rasmus Sandin at #29 (and even then, they traded down from #25 to make the pick). In 2019 they moved their first-rounder in the Jake Muzzin deal, in 2020 they moved it to Carolina to get out from under Patrick Marleau’s albatross contract, and in 2021 they traded it for Nick Foligno which… did not go as planned.
The Leafs, therefore, have not gotten much benefit from trading first-rounders over the last two seasons. This understandably has some fans shy about the Leafs continuing to spend high-end draft capital to improve their roster. For other fans, the time is now: Auston Matthews is only signed for two more seasons after this year and they feel pressure to go all-in every year while he’s in his prime. Where do you land on this, Jon?
Jon Steitzer
If the Leafs are going to truly upgrade at the trade deadline this season and not just simply shuffle deckchairs, it seems reasonable to discuss Toronto’s first, and admittedly I lack a straightforward answer on this.
Primarily I look at the fact that the Leafs are in tough no matter what. Their path out of the Atlantic involves Florida and Tampa and while that isn’t going to change next year, it does make me risk-averse about spending important assets like a first-round pick for what on its own is valued around 10 games of Nick Foligno.
(On a side no …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Marlies Mailbag: Erik Källgren’s NHL future, Nick Robertson’s return, and the emergence of Bobby McMann

Welcome to another edition of the Toronto Marlies Mailbag!
Looking back at the Marlies season before the break, things didn’t feel right. This team, although with a few injuries, was entering this season with a lot of excitement around them. Toronto was 10-9-1-1 prior to the COVID pause, which saw 24 players get the virus.
Now they’re back, and the team looks different.
What I mean by that is the Marlies look like the team they were supposed to be at the start of the season. Why they look like that now is another question.
“Just that they’re working really hard towards getting better every day,” said Marlies head coach, Greg Moore, on what’s stood out about the team most since the COVID pause. “You’ve seen it in the gameplay trending that way. Their preparation and routine before games and in practice is getting stronger and more consistent, and it’s turning into what we’re seeing in the games. And in return, you’re seeing more confident puck play because of these routines that the guys are building off themselves.”
Since returning from the break, the Marlies are 3-1, most recently beating Utica, the AHL’s best team. It was only the …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation