Trade Deadline Primer: Looking for teams that can give the Blue Jays pitching depth and make them more left-handed

Last year around this time the Blue Jays’ trade deadline needs were shaping up to a left-handed bat, relief pitching help, and arguably another starting pitcher.

Funny enough, those are the same things the team could stand to add as this year’s trade deadline approaches. But what teams could represent an opportunity for Blue Jays to address two, or maybe all three, needs in one fell swoop? Well, that is what we are going to investigate here. Hopefully, these names could coalesce in a package that provides the kind of impact more in line with the Adam Cimber-Corey Dickerson trade than the Rowdy Tellez deal.
For example, former Blue Jays assistant general manager, and current general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ben Cherington probably still has a good handle on the Blue Jays prospect pipeline. But the Pirates also have players that could fill all three of the Blue Jays’ needs, making them a good match for each other at the deadline. To start, David Bednar is a monster out the bullpen, using a blistering fastball to put up elite strikeout rates. When hitters do make contact against him they tend to do damage, but he profiles as the kind of force the Blue Jays could stand to add to lock up games la …

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Author: Noah Vande / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays need to get some bullpen help

Around this time last year, the Blue Jays were losing games that features implosions from the likes of Tyler Chatwood and Rafael Dolis.

Everyone was shouting “Get bullpen help!” and the front office did exactly that by acquiring Adam Cimber from the Miami Marlins on June 29 and Trevor Richards from the Milwaukee Brewers on July 6. While Richards has fallen off a cliff this season, he and Cimber helped solidify the Blue Jays’ bullpen last summer and the team did much better from July onwards than they did in April and May.
The bullpen isn’t quite as much of a mess this year as it was last but the cracks are very clearly showing and the Blue Jays are again in need of some reinforcements.
This week’s series in Chicago was a difficult one for the ‘pen as Toronto’s relievers got tagged in all three games against the White Sox…
The Blue Jays nearly pulled off a comeback on Monday after a terrible start from Jose Berrios but the difference wound up being two runs that the White Sox scored off of David Phelps in the fifth inning.
Tuesday’s game featured three blown saves by the Blue Jays. Jordan Romano couldn’t hold a two-run lead in the ninth inning, Tim Mayza allowed the ghost runner to score in the 1 …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Maple Leafs have a problem at left wing and it needs to be fixed

As the Maple Leafs’ season progressed last year, the more it felt like Toronto needed a much better left side.
This isn’t a new problem either. Toronto has always had a more favourable right side with Mitch Marner and William Nylander in the top-six. On the left — it was Zach Hyman last year and Michael Bunting this year.
You might be reading this and asking yourself about Alex Kerfoot and why he isn’t a important left-winger (maybe you’re not). We can all be honest with ourselves and say he had a great regular season on all counts, but the playoffs were a different story.
The 27-year-old only had one goal and one assist throughout the seven games played in the first round. And that just can’t happen in a first round as big as this one was.
One of the main reasons why I believe the Maple Leafs went out against Tampa was because of their lack of depth scoring. Toronto had 24 goals in their series vs. the Lightning and only six goals came from their depth players. The rest came from the big four, a healing Michael Bunting, Morgan Rielly, and Jake Muzzin.
To me, it was also about the timing of those goals as well. Nick Paul only had fou …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Malgin? The Leafs could do worse

Every year there is some bizarre out of nowhere player who runs away with the scoring title at the World Hockey Championships, and it is followed by a feverish effort from NHL GMs to bring that player into their fold. This year that player is Roman Cervenka, who had 17 points in 10 games leading the tournament. I’m just kidding, that dude is like 36. He’s not an option. We’ll move on to the next name on the list, and that is Denis Malgin (Malgin?) who had 12 points in 8 games and the next best points per game in the tournament of players who played at least 6 games.
The advantage for the Leafs is that they’ve been sending qualifying offers to Malgin, and keeping him on Toronto’s reserve list. And Malgin is still technically a restricted free agent because of that. The Leafs have the first crack at Malgin if they want him. The question is do the Leafs want him (not does your uncle who makes decisions strictly off a player’s height want him.)
Since we last saw Malgin, he’s been in the Swiss League, and he’s been a point per game player over his two seasons there. He’s still only 25 years ol …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Tonight, Jack Campbell has a unique chance at Game 7 redemption

A little over one year ago, an emotional Jack Campbell fielded questions from the media after yet another disappointing first-round exit for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“For it to end on a goal… worst goal of my career to happen in Game 7…”
An emotional Jack Campbell after the @MapleLeafs Game 7 loss. pic.twitter.com/fdr2frILN0
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 1, 2021

It was the kind of emotion and vulnerability we rarely see from professional athletes. Campbell, having allowed a soft opening goal that the Leafs ultimately could never come back from, felt he had let his teammates and the fanbase down with his performance, one he deemed “the worst goal of my career”.
Regardless of how much of the previous Game 7 loss can be put on the shoulders of Jack Campbell, there is one thing that is certain. Tonight against Tampa Bay, Campbell has a chance to redeem himself as he faces off against one of the best goaltenders in the world yet again.
If you told Leafs fans going into this first-round series against the Lightning that Jack Campbell would have a higher save percentage than Andrei Vasilevskiy, they probably would’ve been ecstatic and figured Toronto would have wrapped up the series before a Game 7 was even possible.
And yet here we are, with Campbell posting a .893 SV% compared to Vasilevskiy’s .885 SV%, and we’re still headed to the dreaded Game 7.
While Campbell hasn’t been spectacular in this series, he’s made important saves over and over again when the Leafs have been staging a comeback or trying to hold on to a lead. Sure, there are goals that you would’ve liked him to stop, but overall Campbell has been better than his counterpart across the ice, and that’s about all you can ask for when going up aga …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Marlies prioritize development of players but remain focused on competing for playoffs next season

The Toronto Marlies will begin next year likely the same as they did this season — as a development team with a growing intention of getting to the post-season.
Toronto missed the playoffs this season for the first time since 2010-11, and while many fans might not think that’s good, the Marlies still had a great year.
When looking back, there were a number of players who got their shot to play with the Maple Leafs because of injuries, and a few others received NHL contracts after being signed to AHL deals last summer.
It seemed like there was a lot of displeasure from fans with the way Marlies head coach Greg Moore ran things at the AHL level, whether it be lineup decisions, in-game choices, and at times, just decisions in general. While there might have been more focus on him than some of the players this season, there was still plenty of development from him, too.
“I saw a lot of growth in him (Moore) this season,” said Marlies GM Ryan Hardy on locker cleanout day. “I think a lot of times from an outside observer, you recognize the games and the outcome and everybody wants to make the playoffs, and that’s certainly a part of the job.
“But he …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Jays closer Jordan Romano named AL reliever of the month

Jordan Romano’s red hot start to the year has been recognized.

Romano was named the American League’s top reliever of the month for April after leading the AL in saves.
For Romano, it’s his first time receiving the honour after a month that saw him save 10 of the Blue Jays’ 14 win in April. All the while, he recorded a 1.59 ERA through 11.1 IP. He struck out 13 opposing batters, while limiting them to a .195 batting average.
His play has been at a high level for a while, dating all the way back to May 11, 2021, as the MLB noted. Since then, he’s posted a 1.89 ERA and a 4-to-1 strike-to-walk ratio.

Jordan Romano has become one of the best closers in baseball and there’s nothing like a good closer entrance. This is a great thing they got going in Toronto. Place is electric! pic.twitter.com/LBxVzTJMOV
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) May 1, 2022

Romano’s been a huge storyline for the Jays early on this year and rightfully so. He’s stepped into a ton of games and has done a great job in helping the Jays close out games. His emergence as a great closer is going to pay dividends for this team down the road.
On top of all of that, with all the improvements made at the Rogers Centre, he’s now got some of his own entrance music like he’s a WWE wrestler.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.


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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Past playoff failures mean the Leafs are dealing with tough expectations

One year ago around this time, the Leafs were settling into clinching the North Division. They cruised through most of the season, and even when they took their foot off the gas the lead they had built was insurmountable enough that Toronto easily took the North. In contrast, the Canadiens spent much of their last month clawing their way back up the standings past a Flames team that had run out of gas. The Maple Leafs were primed to easily march through two rounds of North Division competition and face whatever the Pacific Division could throw at them. Seemingly there was never going to be a better year to believe in the Leafs as a Stanley Cup contender.
Obviously, the Leafs failed. There is no other way to put it. And that set off the vitriol of criticism around pretty much every member of the Leafs top four forwards, Kyle Dubas, Manny Malhotra, and eventually pretty much every Leaf at one point or another. Kyle Dubas doubled down on his group and was backed up by Brendan Shanahan. With that doubling down seemed to be the continuation of the preceding year’s expectations to not only win a playoff round but put forth a legitim …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

3 pivotal Masai Ujiri moves that made the Raptors a playoff team

3 pivotal Masai Ujiri moves that made the Raptors a playoff team

The Toronto Raptors are back in the postseason after one year in the lottery, as Masai Ujiri helped construct a winner from the ashes of the team that got burnt to a crisp in their temporary Tampa abode. Scottie Barnes and Fred VanVleet have this team playing red-hot basketball at the moment. Ujiri didn’t have […]
3 pivotal Masai Ujiri moves that made the Raptors a playoff team – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Nate Pearson has mono and will be out for “a while”

Nate Pearson can’t catch a break.

Last year, the fireballer suffered an injury in spring training and didn’t return until May. A week later, he came up and got rocked in his first outing with the Blue Jays, got sent down, took a few weeks to find his groove, and then got injured again. Pearson would wind up missing a month of action mid-season and finished 2021 pitching out of the bullpen.
This year, Pearson was limited to just two outings in Grapefruit play due to an illness. Charlie Montoyo confirmed on Tuesday that Pearson won’t start the season with the Blue Jays as he’ll miss an extended period of time due to a bout with mono.

Nate Pearson has mono and will be out “for a while” Charlie Montoyo says. Hard to put a timeline on that. #BlueJays
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) April 5, 2022

It’s difficult to put a timetable on a return from mono, which results in people feeling extreme fatigue, fever, and body aches for usually about two-to-four weeks, though some continue to feel symptoms of the illness for months.
Pearson, who turns 26 in August, figured to be a part of the Blue Jays bullpen this season, either as a high-leverage reliever or a hybrid type who could pitch multiple innings after an opener. While he’s struggled when taking on a starter’s load, the hope was that Pearson could thrive by taking on fewer innings.
It’s difficult to say what the right move is with Pearson. The upside is so incredibly high but various issues always seem to get …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation