Page 6ix Wednesday, December 2nd: Kane You Believe It?

Hello there drama fiends. I won’t lie, your author took a Twitter break and wasn’t super aware of the latest happenings until last night, when our TLN blog daddy Jon told me to check out what had been happening with Evander Kane the last few days. So, everyone, while there are a few other little tidbits to touch on first, we will of course be diving deep into the Kane situation(s).
But first, as is custom, we check in on how our Leafs lads are doing.
Leafs Lads (and Ladies)
Mitch Marner and the Marner Assist Fund will be hosting a stream-a-thon later this month raising money for families in need this winter. I caught a screengrab on Instagram, so be sure to check that out!

Elsewhere, Tessa Virtue and Morgan Rielly are preparing for the holidays, which includes a stocking for each of them and their adorable pup:

Doggie Christmas stockings for the win! #TessaVirtue pic.twitter.com/6rZVGBwcKs
— Ann Ice2 (@icetalking2) December 2, 2020

To be honest our Leafs have been a bit quiet this week, so I’m sure they’re all resting up to prepare for the upcoming holiday season and possible training camp. Speaking …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Trent Thornton was placed on the Injured List with elbow inflammation

If you like roster moves, today’s your day.

First, the Blue Jays trimmed their roster from 30 players down to 28 players by sending Santiago Espinal and Jacob Waguespack to the Taxi Squad. A few hours later Waguespack was called back up to the Blue Jays as Trent Thornton got placed on the Injured List with elbow inflammation.
The team doesn’t have any plans for Thornton to have an MRI, so it doesn’t look like anything serious. Thornton said that he felt funny during a bullpen session, so the Jays are ultimately just deciding to be cautious with the young righty.
Having Thornton on the IL could also answer the question of where Chase Anderson is going to play when he returns. It’s expected that Anderson will be activated in the coming days, so he could just grab Thornton’s spot in the rotation. We could also see Thomas Hatch and Anthony Kay in a piggyback role again, though that does weaken Charlie Montoyo’s bullpen options.
We’ll see on Sunday what happens as Tanner Roark is scheduled to start in Boston on Friday and Matt Shoemaker will go on …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays 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

Woah, look, something happened! (It’s Joe Panik getting added to the 40-man roster)

Losing your mind without sports to talk about? No need to Panik!

The Blue Jays have selected the contract of Joe Panik, thus adding him to the 40-man roster for whenever the season gets up and rolling. In a corresponding roster move, pitcher Yennsy Diaz has been placed on the 60-day Injured List with some undisclosed injury.
Panik, of course, was in camp as a non-roster invitee on a minor-league deal. He had an opt-out clause on his deal for March 15 that would have allowed him to test the open market again, so the Jays unsurprisingly added him to the roster.
So, yeah. That’s the news. It isn’t overly exciting, but it’s something! It’s really not surprising at all that Panik was added to the 40-man. He had a very good spring, going 8-for-21 with a couple of homers. Had the Jays not added him to the 40-man, I’m sure that performance would have been good enough to earn him a gig somewhere.
I think if once the season gets going, we’ll see him used as more than just a backup infielder off the bench. If …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Announcing the Absolutely, the Leaf’s Madness” bracket

In case you were wondering what your favourite Leafs blog was going to do for content during this hiatus, look no further. Well, keep looking, we’ll have other stuff too, but also look at this. It’s our official March Bracket…
ABSOLUTELY, THE LEAF’S MADNESS!!!!
Okay, so you aren’t particularly excited about this yet, but hopefully you will become very invested in this because you have absolutely nothing else to going on regarding sports outcomes.
We’re starting off by asking you, our valued reader to submit your 5 favourite Leafs from 5 distinct eras of the team that will make up our regions. It’s going to be those votes that influence who winds up on the bracket and establish the seeding. And you know because it’s the Leafs, we can’t just go with 64 player bracket, IT’S 67, BABY!!! WOOOOOOO!!!! There will be three play-ins so we can do this right.
Here are the regions:
Your Grandpa’s Leafs region: This covers off everything 1967 and earlier. The glory years when a team didn’t really need to be good, you just needed …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Shapkins Defender – I Want My MLB TV

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
This time, I really wanted to be writing about projections again. In a previous post, I had talked about projections and how the Jays were the kind of team that could wind up ahead of their projections. And I was going to tie that into this similarly-bullish piece at FanGraphs.
And I was also going to talk about Baseball America still having the Jays in the number 6 slot on their organization talent rankings in spite of graduating so many prospects last year. And I was going to talk about the FanGraphs top 100 prospects having four Jays on the list. And then there’s Keith Law’s list also having four Jays on it, but in a slightly different way. And it was all going to be sunshine, lollipops and rainbows about the coming season and the even rosier picture beyond that and so on and so on.
Unfortunately, I have to talk about this MLB TV bullshit.
Sigh. Defeated sigh.
This is …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – Looking Back to Look Forward

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
Spring training is finally arriving this week. (Well, the part with the stretching and jogging and whatnot.  The actual games are still a ways away.)  And as the players show up and start tossing the ball around, our focus will shift away from the front office and towards the players, with stories about position battles and which guys are in the best shape of their lives and all that. The team has already tweeted out video of their big offseason prize, Hyun-Jin Ryu, half-assedly getting loose on the grass down in Dunedin. 

The content RYU need to brighten your day pic.twitter.com/qQq1IapPyB
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 8, 2020

But just before we do that, this seems like a good time to take a moment to reflect on what has transpired over the past few months, while the suits in the front office were the ones in the spotlight. The reason I started doing this whole Shapkins Defender thing …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

Kaskisuo recalled, the worst is assumed for Freddie Andersen

After your starter goes down and you doesn’t return the last thing you want to see is that a goaltender has been recalled from your farm team.
Bad news, everyone…

The @MapleLeafs have recalled goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo from the @TorontoMarlies (AHL). pic.twitter.com/NM93xi6HCp
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 4, 2020
Yes, that’s a thing that just happened.
Before we completely start panicking, this could be a recall just to get Kaskisuo some work with the Leafs while Andersen receives a full evaluation from the Leafs medical staff today. It could also be an opportunity to give Andersen the next game off, and Kaskisuo will back up Hutchinson, which isn’t the absolute worst thing that could happen.
There’s the fact that if you ignore his relief outings, Michael Hutchinson has been pretty good when he starts lately. There’s also the fact that Kaskisuo hasn’t been bad on the Marlies, and maybe, just maybe he’s gonna surprise us all someday.
That’s the end of the optimism.
The reality is the Leafs are very possibly in a situation of their own making, where …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Shapkins Defender – 6 to 8 Breakout Men

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
Well, the offseason is winding down. The coldest days of the year are now behind us and most of the free agents have signed. With the Reds signing Castellanos today, that leaves only three names from MLBTR’s Top 50 still without a home. And those three names are from the bottom of the list, with #37 Yasiel Puig, #41 Brock Holt and #49 Pedro Strop being the remaining wanderers. So, though there might still be a trade or two, that means the business of the offseason is mostly done and us fans can look forward to pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, which is barely over two weeks away now.
And that also means it’s time for a classic baseball tradition: making futile attempts to predict the future that will look very foolish almost immediately. Your favourite source of baseball charts and graphs will soon reveal projections about the upcoming season, from FanGraphs to 538 and Baseball Prospectus and on and on. One …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – The Blue Jays’ Connection to the Sign-Stealing Stuff

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
By now, you’re surely aware of the Astros sign-stealing scandal and the recent fallout. I don’t want to spend too much time summarizing it, both because it’s been written about extensively by people with actual sources and also because new stuff seems to be coming out by the second. But the Astros definitely cheated in 2017 with the garbage can stuff, leading to a whole bunch of people being suspended and fired and probably more penalties still to come.
What I do want to dwell on, because I’ve seen it casually mentioned on Twitter a few times, is how the Jays are connected to all this. As far as I know, there are two strands to follow.
First, there’s the Hudgens thing. Dave Hudgens was the Astros hitting coach during the 2017 cheating season. The Blue Jays hired him as a bench coach after the 2018 season. As Shi Davidi reports, Hudgens is not mentioned by name …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation