Charlie Montoyo is probably the Blue Jays’ best bet to win a major award this year

The Gold Glove finalists were released yesterday so it’s time to start thinking about Awards Season.

Lourdes Gurriel was the only Blue Jay nominated for a Gold Glove, which isn’t particularly surprising given the fact that the team wasn’t exactly, ya know, good on the defensive side of the game.
As I mentioned yesterday, Gurriel is a bit of a headscratcher for a Gold Glove but so are many, many other selections. Managers had to vote on the top fielders in their respective leagues even though they didn’t get to see two-thirds of the teams this season. As a result, a player like Gurriel who makes highlight-reel grabs and guns guys out at home will warrant attention.
Will Gurriel win the Gold Glove? Probably not. Kyle Tucker has the best defensive metrics of the three while Alex Gordon is the nice, easy, lazy choice because he’s already won seven times. I imagine a few managers just said fuck it and made Gordon their pick because of his history.
Anyways, are there any other Blue Jays who could take home a major award this season? For major awards, I’m talking Most Valuable Player, Rookie of …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Projecting the Leafs Opening Night Lineup for the 2020-21 Season

So the Leafs did the unthinkable on Friday night and were able to convince Joe Thornton to play for his hometown team on a league minimum contract. He is the eighth player acquired by the Leafs since free agent frenzy began last week, and that results in some interesting questions on what the lineup might look like when the 2020-21 season finally starts.
In the unprecedented times that we continue to live in, when that day comes remains a mystery. There’s been plenty of talk of how the season will play out and how the teams will have their schedules built (including a potential Canadian Division). One thing we do know is that hockey will be played at some point in the coming months and the Leafs will have a different looking roster once the puck finally drops.
Until that date comes, all we can do is speculate our best guesses for what the Leafs might do with their lineups for the coming season and who might fit best in other spots. We are quite removed from when the campaign could potentially start so it’s entirely possible that my projections could be well off the mark. Add to …

Read More

Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Marlies News and Notes: Sabourin signs, Bracco departs

You know it’s a slow news day when we’re putting together Marlies roundups, but here we are. This is life a week after free agency, and hopefully this isn’t how we roll for the foreseeable future. I guess beggars can’t be choosers and Marlies news is better than nothing, so here we go.
First up…

News: We’ve signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year AHL contract. #ForeverStartsHere
Details >> https://t.co/zGf1tnKBaA pic.twitter.com/65WAD4tHVE
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) October 16, 2020

Does that name sound familiar? Here’s why…

Yes, the Marlies brought in the guy that Auston Matthews mocked at the beginning of last season. That should make for an interesting training camp meetup, but it’s doubtful they’ll cross paths too often as Sabourin is on an AHL deal and will be on the Marlies rink as soon as it opens up.
Sabourin gives the Marlies a little toughness as well, which is interesting that added it, after bringing back Rich Clune yesterday.
Toronto Marlies re-sign Rich Clune to one-year AHL contract

Sabourin is also coming off a season with a rather serious injury from a poorly placed hit.



Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Korean free agent Ha-seong Kim would be a great fit for the Blue Jays

If you were one of the people who tuned into the Korean Baseball Organization this year while Major League Baseball was shut down due to COVID-19, you’ll probably recognize the name Ha-Seong Kim.

Kim, an infielder for the Kiwoom Heroes, was one of the league’s best hitters during the 2020 season, slashing a .310./402/.530 line with 28 homers, 103 RBIs, and a 61-to-70 strikeout-to-walk rate.
Over at FanGraphs, Dan Szymborski wrote that Kim is planning to make the jump across the Pacific Ocean this winter to the Major Leagues. Kim expressed interest in coming over to the Majors last winter but ultimately decided to ride out the final year of his contract in the KBO.
Now, after a huge season at the plate, Kim should garner plenty of interest from Major League teams as a free agent.
The posting rules for Asian leagues are different as of 2018. Teams no longer bid on players, as you’d remember from situations like Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka. Instead, posting teams will get 20 percent of a player’s first guaranteed $25 million, 17.5 percent of the next $25 million, and 15 percent after that.
Circling back to Szymborski’s post at FanGraphs, Kim’s projected numbers according to ZiPS …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Day Two of Free Agency hit a bit different for the Leafs

So here’s the thing. The Simmonds and Brodie signings were what we were promised. We need a right side defenseman was coming, we knew that Kyle Clifford was going to be replaced. We might have been left expecting more, and Day two might not have been about necessarily giving us what we want or what we were promised, but it was about Kyle Dubas doing what he had to do for the salary cap, for Sheldon Keefe, and for establishing that the 2021 Leafs won’t be what we’ve been used to.
Now more than ever it seems that the core of the Leafs will be the core of the Leafs. Beyond Tavares, Matthews, Marner, and Nylander, it seems that Rielly and Muzzin as part of that vision as well. Add in the commitments to Simmonds, Brodie, and even Spezza, about half the lineup card was looking established before anything began to happen on Day Two. Of course it wasn’t quiet.
Rather than going chronologically, we’ll go with the biggest event first, and that was the decision to trade Andreas Johnsson to the New Jersey Devils straight up for Joey Anderson. On the surface this might have …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A productive first day of free agency shouldn’t mark the end of the Leafs moves

Well, the Leafs were certainly active in free agency. Kyle Dubas managed to bring in fan favourite, Wayne Simmonds sharply at noon and followed up with a defensive upgrade later in the day by adding T.J. Brodie to the Leafs blueline. Two solid players that certainly provide an upgrade from Tyson Barrie and Kyle Clifford. Calling them mere replacements wouldn’t be fair, but neither would saying the Leafs are done because of these transactions.
To be fair, I don’t think Kyle Dubas would say that either. He’s very aware of the realities of his team. And aware of the salary cap. Carrying the bare minimum 20 man roster the Leafs would find themselves approximately $500k over the top of the cap ceiling and that’s before signing Ilya Mikheyev and Travis Dermott. The Leafs will likely need to shed around $4M to make room for these players, and a bit more to address the current overage and desire for a reserve player. This probably puts all of Johnsson, Kerfoot, Holl, Dermott, Mikheyev, and Andersen at risk for finding new homes in the coming weeks.

Dubas: “Brandon [Pridham] has carved out a number of ways that we can …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Mitch Marner and a line change that might just fix the Leafs

It has been over two months since the Leafs were eliminated in the qualifying round by the Blue Jackets, and the time since has sparked an array of ideas trying to determine what went wrong and how the team can solve it. These range from signing a noted defenceman on the Blues, all the way to ludicrous armchair trades that involve moving the stars for grit.
I’m no stranger to this line of thinking (look no further than my post on Frederik Andersen’s future) and it is something we will all experience as sports fans on numerous occasions. But there are sometimes where you come up with a potential solution that seems so ludicrous in theory that it may just work if done in practice. The kind of ideas that makes you look like a conspiracy theorist as you attempt to explain your rationale. Those schemes that only a person with too much free time on their hands would dare to think up in their heads.
I recently had one of those ideas come to me during a conversation with a friend and I believe that it might just crazy enough to work in reality. The title suggests …

Read More

Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Find out who Toronto picks in The Leafs Nation 2020 Mock Draft

It’s mock draft SZN. We’re sorry. Still we’ve decided to add to the noise of the mock draft season with our own mock draft. We did so knowing that most of you will immediately go to pick 15, see who the Leafs picked, check to see where the player you wanted the Leafs to pick was picked, and be done with this after briefly calling us idiots on the way out. Far enough. Mock drafts are pretty self indulgent, but for a lot of us their pretty fun too, and if there’s any takeaway from it, when you get a few different people picking with either similar players or differing views, you sometimes get a more accurate list than you’d get with a straight forward draft ranking, so here you go…
1. (NYR) Alexis Lafreniere W
Mark Norman:
What else is there to be said? Obvious pick is obvious.
2. (LA) Quinton Byfield C
Nick Richard:
Byfield has all the tools to be a premier center in the NHL. He’s a big kid who skates very well, has outstanding vision to go with excellent puck handling skills, and the smarts to be a force at both ends …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays’ controversial pitching strategy works out, but the bats couldn’t solve Blake Snell and the Rays’ bullpen

The Rays, man. There’s a reason they were the No. 1 team in the American League. Tampa takes Game 1 by a score of 3-1, meaning the Jays are suddenly facing elimination on Wednesday.

Things worth mentioning…

The pitching was the big story in today’s game, so I’ll start with that. Rather than using their ace, Hyun Jin Ryu in Game 1, the Jays opted to roll with Matt Shoemaker. The plan had to do with the fact Shoe had plenty of success against the Rays in his career and Ryu is better on an extra day of rest. The Shoemaker part of the plan worked to perfection as the veteran was amazing through three innings, scattering just a couple of hits. But that was the end of the line for Shoemaker as the Jays opted to bring in Robbie Ray. How did you feel about that, Shoe?

Not great! Ray came in and promptly allowed Randy Arozarena to smack a triple, causing concern that we were in store for a Ray meltdown. Arozarena would end up scoring on a wild pitch (one that Danny Jansen probably should have come up with) which gave the Rays a 1-0 lead. But …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Taking a look at the trades you want the Leafs to make

Here at TLN we’re all about keeping it fresh, and that’s why we thought we’d mix things up a little and rather than look for questions, we decided to ask for some trade proposals for us to evaluate this week. We received so many trade proposals that we’ll likely be splitting the mailbag in two, and addressing some more of the trade proposals later this week.
The lesson that should have been evident even before this exercise is that trade proposals are inherently bad. We go into them addressing the Leafs needs, the Leafs cap situation, and with our own ideas for what comes next. So naturally we are as harsh on your proposals as you are on ours when we post our speculation articles. So without further adieu, here’s what we received…

Nylander for McAvoy
— Rose (@StUziRoRo) August 30, 2020

Brian: This honestly feels like a move that makes sense for both teams that neither team would do. Value doesn’t feel too far off, but I don’t think the Leafs are eager to trade a 30 goal scorer to their closest division rival (who are …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation