Digging into eight proposed trades involving Blue Jays catchers!

It’s the time of year when we all make hypothetical trade suggestions. It doesn’t help that this off-season has felt incredibly slow. Grab a snack and get curled up, this article is going to be a long one.

A few days ago, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic wrote an article pitching eight trades involving Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk. She spoke with the other team’s beat writers of The Athletic to compile these trades, while former general manager Jim Bowden gave his assessment.
As a somewhat rational Jay fan, I also wanted to take a look at these trades and give my opinion. The fact of the matter is that some of these trades actually make sense, and I want to dig into those ones in particular.
We’ll start by looking at Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk by the numbers and attempt to gauge their value.
Danny Jansen:
The 2022 season was a career year for the 27-year-old catcher, at least with the bat. He slashed .260/.339/.516 in 248 plate appearances and had a 10.1 K% and 17.7 BB% during that time.
Where he really impressed though, was the fact that he hit a career-high 15 homers in such a short span, which was good enough for a 140 wRC+ and 2.6 fWAR.

FREE TIP: To shift Danny Jansen, place your outfielders BEHIND the wall pic.twitter.com/N7y35YnNoG
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 27, 2022

Defensively, he just hasn’t been the same as his 2019, whe …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Nick Nurse calls out Gary Trent Jr. for bad defensive effort

Raptors: Nick Nurse calls out Gary Trent Jr. for bad defensive effort

The Toronto Raptors were taking a big risk when they acquired Gary Trent Jr. from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Norman Powell, as the Duke alum was regarded as one of the league’s worst defenders. That’s not ideal for a team that is committed to this unique style of defense. Trent’s turnaround last […]
Raptors: Nick Nurse calls out Gary Trent Jr. for bad defensive effort – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Jakob Chychrun is being connected to the Leafs again

Jakob Chychrun is being connected to the Leafs again

When rumours repeatedly connect Kyle Dubas to a defenseman for the Leafs it seems like we better prepare ourselves for that rumour becoming a possible reality.
Jake Muzzin was rumoured to Toronto from pretty much the moment that Kyle Dubas took over as GM. TJ Brodie was nearly acquired for Nazem Kadri, and now here we are again with the on again off again speculation about Jakob Chychrun out of Arizona.
Nick Kypreos just did what we’ve done a couple of times on this site, and that was writing a column basically gazing at Chychrun like he’s a pie cooling on a window sill. Like most of us when looking at Chychrun, Kypreos’ argument boiled down to three things: Jakob is only 24, he eats minutes and a $4.6M cap hit looks very doable. Most of his underlying numbers can be forgiven because of his role and his team, and he’s a defenseman who puts up points. People like points.
Also to Kypreos’ credit, while he was talking about Chychrun as a replacement for Muzzin’s injury-laden career, he acknowledged that Chychrun is very much in the same boat injury-wise, just at a different stage in his career: “His body has been through a lot the last few years — surgeries on both knees, his shoulder, and most recently his wrist and ankle.”
I swear, if people ever got past those bad y …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Zach Britton is a Blue Jays’ prospect to keep an eye on, plus more prospect news!

When I say the name “Zach Britton”, you may be thinking of the Yankees closer. I’m here to tell you otherwise that the Jays’ prospect, Zach Britton, is the real deal.

Selected in the fifth round (and last round) of the 2020 draft, Britton has quietly become the best catching prospect in the Jays organization (if you consider Moreno graduated). Not just that, but he also played significant time in both of the corner outfields. 
Britton’s 2022:
The 23-year-old catcher/corner outfielder slashed .239/.390/.441 in 236 plate appearances with High A Vancouver in 2022. He added seven homers and stole 10 of 12 bases. While his 29.7 K% was on the high side, Britton had an outstanding 17.4 BB%, which easily made up for the elevated strikeout rate. Overall, he had a 136 wRC+ in High A.

@zbritton33 (Zach Britton) WITH AN ABSOLUTE NUKE TO TIE THE GAME AT 6 IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 8TH!#BlueJays #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/Aau5Onilq5
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) August 5, 2022

Upon his promotion to Double A, he slashed .234/.355/.453 in 76 plate appearances. His K% dropped to 22.4%, while his 15.8 BB% was still brilliant. He added three homers and had a 123 wRC+.
This alone, led me to add him to Blue Jays Nation’s Top 60 prospects, where he ranked as the Blue Jays’ 37th prospect. As you’ll read shortly, that was far too low.
Arizona Fall League MVP?:
There may still be a few weeks remaining in the Arizona Fall League, but Britton has emerged as one of the contenders to take home the MVP for the fall league.
In 38 plate appearances, Britton is slashing .500/.553/.750 with a homer and five extra-base hits. No matter who we’re talking about, batting .500 is unsustainable, but to do so over 38 plate appearances is absolutely spectacular. 

Zach Britton (@zbritton33) with a 101.4 mph dinger.
Remember the name.#BlueJays #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/KBfkE2BKYe
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) October 21, 2022

Not just that, but he hits the ball hard. Out of batted balls measured by stat cast, he has an 86.24 mph av …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs need to improve their mentality to become tough by committee

The Leafs need to improve their mentality to become tough by committee

When it comes to the playstyle of the Leafs, one thing that consistently gets brought up in terms of an area of weakness is the lack of the team being tough to play against.
Meaning that players on the Leafs can be cross-checked, high-sticked, or slashed and their teammates will not put up much resistance to let the opposition know that they won’t get off scot-free.
It is true that the Leafs are among the leaders in hits to begin the 2022-23 season as they currently sit third with 149 behind only the Predators and Capitals. Much of that has to do with new additions like Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Zach Aston-Reese, and some of the mainstays like Rasmus Sandin and Auston Matthews.
It’s a good place to start, but dishing out hits is not the only thing that defines team toughness. A big part is sticking up for your guys when one of them gets hit or standing up for yourself. This is something that the Leafs have struggled with on a consistent basis for years and do not have enough players that instinctively stand up for themselves, support their teammates, and protect the crease to prevent the screen.
It is for this reason that you hear a significant portion of the fanbase complain about how the Leafs do not hav …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Big bats show up on Sunday as Blue Jays earn series split in Tampa

When George Springer was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays, one of his biggest additions to the Blue Jays organization was his performance in big games. His contributions to three AL West titles, five playoff appearances, and two World Series appearances with the Houston Astros brought a wealth of successful culture to a team loaded with young talent.

Fast forward to September 2022, with the Jays in the heat of a playoff race, looking to split a series at the Trop, facing one of the AL’s best in Shane McClanahan. Springer did what earned him the $150 million contract, as he posted a 3-for-4 day with two home runs and three RBIs. Springer’s day, as well as homers from Teoscar Hernandez and Alejandro Kirk propelled the Blue Jays to a 7-1 drubbing of the Tampa Rays on Sunday afternoon.
Toronto earned the split of the four-game series down at the Trop, maintaining the two-game lead they had over Tampa Bay when the series started. Thankfully, the Blue Jays don’t play the Rays anymore in the regular season, however a Wild Card round matchup in the postseason is looking more and more likely as the days go on.
A split in Tampa equates to a series win in any Blue Jays fan’s book, but more importantly, it leaves the fanbase with a better taste in their mouth …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays kick off Texas series with a 4-3 win

When the Blue Jays needed a RISP hero tonight, it was Danny Jansen who was up to the task.

Jansen’s RBI single in the ninth inning served as the game-winning hit, as the Blue Jays dodged a late rally from the Rangers and took the series opener 4-3.
Toronto led for most of the game, but their inability to deliver with runners in scoring position through the late innings allowed Texas to eventually tie the game. The Blue Jays stranded the bases loaded in the 6th and also a one-out triple by Bo Bichette in the 8th. Nonetheless, the Blue Jays were able to rebound, and it was bottom-of-the-order bats who got the job done.
After the Rangers tied the game at 3 in the 8th, Raimel Tapia led off the 9th with a walk. He stole second, and then advanced to third on a deep flyout from Santiago Espinal. With a hope of literally just a sac fly or a slow grounder to score the run, Jansen lifted a slider from Jose Leclerc into left field to give the Blue Jays the lead.
The Rangers rally overshadowed another great offensive outing from Bo Bichette. He scored George Springer on an RBI fielder’s choice in the first inning, which is the first time the Blue Jays have s …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Assessing the roster and making predictions (The final part of our Leafs reader poll)

As I mentioned when we started sharing the results from the poll, I am greatly appreciative of the level of participation we received from our readers on this. I’m hoping that we can have a bit more back and forth like this in the future and begin establishing a bit of a sense of community around this site. Look for us to revisit mailbags as part of that throughout the season, as well as us firing you some questions on social media as well. Perhaps a midseason pulse poll will make some sense or given that its all about the playoffs, we’ll check back on how confident everyone is feeling post trade deadline too.
As for now, this last bit focuses largely on the players as well as some predictions for the upcoming year. As you may remember from yesterday’s post, reliable goaltending is the biggest need for the Leafs, so let’s start by talking about that position.

There are a few ways of slicing this data depending on how you want to feel. 60% said goaltending is the same or better. 53% said it was the same or worse. Or 48% thinks there was no change or it is impossible to know if there was a change at this point. I like to believe goaltending remains as voodoo as ever, but while I can appreciate that there are Jack Campbell fans out there, I don’t think there are too many Leafs fans that will be missing Petr Mrazek. There is also the fact that Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek at $8.8M would have been a tough pill to swallow and some change was required. Now, Jack Campbell and Ilya Samsonov at $6.8M might have been a fine compromise to many and that also points …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

What more can the Leafs’ core give to move the team forward?

Happy September 1st. We are officially in the month when training camps open, rookie tournaments occur, and the preseason starts. It’s the dry humping stage of the hockey season. It’s also the part of the year when we aggressively start previewing the season and asking some burning questions about the Leafs. We’ll have a number of these previews throughout the month, and this is the first. The question I’m asking myself, you, and the Leafs is whether more can realistically be expected of the core players on the Leafs?
The first thing that immediately needs to be clarified here is the definition of the Leafs core. Given that outside five clear cut guys it starts becoming debatable, we’ll go with those five guys or as they are sometimes called, the first powerplay unit. Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Tavares, and Morgan Rielly should be undebatable as the Leafs core. If you wanted to throw TJ Brodie in there I wouldn’t blame you, if you feel like a goaltender should be part of the core, I hear you, but for now the core are the guys who have been through the continuous stretch of playoff heartbreak and have seen their supporting cast change around them.
Next, it’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays beat the Yankees again 5-2 behind big hits from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Alejandro Kirk

This morning when the lineup card was published, there were some mixed reactions.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was given an off day, and George Springer was still out of the lineup as he continues to nurse his sore knee. Raimel Tapia was batting lead off, and Jackie Bradley Jr., although batting ninth, was probably playing the full game today. Add all that up, plus a date with Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, and it certainly was going to be a challenge for Toronto this afternoon against the Yankees.
The Blue Jays were up for the task, as they won their fourth game in a row, defeating New York 5-2. With this win, Toronto clinched their first series win against the Yankees this season, and continue to send the Yankees sliding down a dark path. The Blue Jays now find themselves only seven back of the Yankees in the AL East.
Cole had not allowed a hit through the first four innings of the game, but it was the bottom of the order that gave Cole fits. Santiago Espinal started things off in the 5th inning with one out, as he launched a double off the left field wall. The Sportsnet cameras looked to fool us once again, as they showed us nothing but the fans in the left …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation