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Photo courtesy: The Canadian Press

It’s here.

On Monday, hundreds of MLB players hit the open market. It’s not as robust and filled with star power, but there will be several front offices aggressively pursuing a number of guys hoping to improve their club’s outlook.

The Toronto Blue Jays should be in a position to do just that.

It’s unclear just how negatively, if at all the Blue Jays were impacted financially by the pandemic, but president Mark Shapiro’s recent comments suggest Rogers would be willing to match the team’s 2020 payroll, which is estimated to have been around $118 million.

Roster Resource through FanGraphs currently estimates Toronto’s payroll to be around $81 million. That’s including Travis Shaw, a non-tender candidate, resigning with the club at around $4.8 million. After Shaw, FanGraphs predicts Teoscar Hernandez will earn $4 million, Ross Stripling signing for 3.1 million, and A.J. Cole at $900,000. If Shaw isn’t brought back, we can eliminate the $4.8 million from that current figure, rounding it to roughly $76 million. Assuming ownership approves a similar payroll to the one from last year, the Blue Jays should have just over $40 million to work with this offseason. …


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Photo courtesy: Getty Images

November 2.

It’s when free agency officially kicks off but there has already been a ton of movement from around the league.

Charlie Morton, Brad Hand, Carlos Santana, Kolten Wong and Jon Lester are among the most prominent players whose club options were declined meaning it’s open market for them all. This precedes the action coming on Nov. 1, which is the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers.

Financial issues aside, the free-agent crop lacks the superstars we have grown accustom to seeing in years past. Manny Machado landed in San Diego with Bryce Harper shipping up to Philadelphia. We also saw Gerrit Cole take his talents to New York and Anthony Rendon heading to Los Angeles with the Angels. J.T. Realmuto, George Springer and Trevor Bauer are this year’s big-3, followed by a complement of talent that includes the likes of Marcus Semien, Marcell Ozuna and D.J. LeMahieu. …


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Photo credit: Paul Sancya/The Associated Press

Do you really need a detailed explanation as to why the Toronto Blue Jays ought to trade for one of the game’s best players?

Of course you do.

Francisco Lindor is going to be traded. If not soon then sometime within the next few months, and almost certainly when the season gets underway.

Lindor, who will be a fresh 27-year-old shortstop by next year, has been in what you may call an awkward position in Cleveland. Similar to Manny Machado and Mookie Betts before him, Lindor is a star entering his final year of arbitration, thus, team control. …


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Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Reminiscent of 2016, when the Toronto Blue Jays won 89 games and eventually advanced to the American Championship League Series, the front office decided against using too much of its prospect capital in deadline deals. Instead, general manager Ross Atkins opted for a similar approach; acquiring low-risk players (Francisco Liriano, Joaquin Benoit, and Melvin Upton) without blowing it up.

Two of the three worked out great down the stretch, as Benoit and Liriano proved to be worthy acquisitions at the time. This season, overseeing a highly motivated group with playoff aspirations, Atkins did much of the same in terms of philosophy, trading for three rental players (Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray and Jonathan Villar) with Dan Vogelbach* and Ross Stripling under team control beyond next year. …


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An elite quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

NFL front offices dream about it. Fans revel in the thought of cheering for terrific athletes that can change the course of a game with one play.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had that. A three-headed monster that made up one of, if not the best offense in football. Ben Roethlisberger is an aging quarterback, albeit one with two Super Bowl’s to his name, and an incredibly troubling off-field history. LeV’eon Bell is the most dangerous runner in football without factoring in his ability as a playmaking receiver out of the backfield. …


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The formula of sustainability in today’s NHL isn’t as strenuous as it’s made out to be. The league’s best teams almost always find ways to plug its holes by filling them with prospects or established players from within the AHL. They’re production is often overlooked mainly due to responsibility and playing time.

When a player is recalled from the AHL, it’s usually to take on a small role — typically in the bottom six. Sometimes, one will take off and stay in the lineup a lot longer than expected. …


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Now that William Nylander has been signed, it’s time for everyone in, or even outside of Toronto, to speculate as to what the next big move will be for the organization.

Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner lead a group of pending restricted free agents that need to be signed. In an effort to avoid what happened with Nylander, one would assume the Maple Leafs will attempt to get a jump start in its negotiations with both young stars, though it’s unclear if these talks have begun.

While that will be the most pressing task at hand for Kyle Dubas and the front office, the Maple Leafs core isn’t being split up anytime soon. With the cap situation not nearly as precarious as it will be once the season ends, that means the time to add to an already dangerous team is now. …


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The first thing that came to mind when it was announced that William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs had agreed to a six-year contract extension was this Kyle Dubas quote from a few months ago.

“We can, and we will,” Dubas said when he was asked about the daunting task of locking up all of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and Nylander for the foreseeable future.

After months of lethargic and painful deliberation, Dubas made good on his promise — at least, the early portion of it. Resigning Nylander has been the club’s priority for months. As difficult as it was for many to see this drag on, all the way to 4:55 p.m. …


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The most fitting introduction would be to start by saying — it wasn’t supposed to come to this.

Before the current season, everyone expected the Toronto Maple Leafs to re-sign William Nylander. A bridge deal or a long-term contract, it didn’t matter, something was going to get done.

Then the puck dropped, and Nylander wasn’t on the ice.

And then October passed, and still nothing.

And now it’s November 1st, and both negotiating parties are at a “deadlock” according to Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman. There appears to be no resolution in sight with new reports coming out every day that Nylander wants a lot more AVV (Average Annual Value) on a long-term contract than the Maple Leafs can agree to. Bridge deal? Who knows? …


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Photo courtesy: Getty Images

The 2018 season saw the Toronto Blue Jays get starts from 14 different pitchers. Of that group, only rookie starter Ryan Borucki (3.87) and reliever Tyler Clippard (3.67) finished with an ERA below 4.00, with no others — J.A. Happ as the exception— surpassing 2 fWAR. The only one that came close was Borucki (1.7 WAR), who arrived at the total in less than 100 innings pitched, and Marcus Stroman (1.5 WAR); a former building block that dealt with separate shoulder and finger issues.

Not to say the Blue Jays would have contended had their pitching been better, but it’s hard to come to a different conclusion. Blue Jays hitters were above average for most of 2018, ending the campaign with 101 wRC+ and a respectable .319 wOBA — good for a top-15 finish in each category. Another positive was the club’s home run totals. The Blue Jays slugged 217 of them, just under the previous season totals from 2017 and 2016 that saw the team finish with 221 and 222 home runs, respectively. …

About

Luke Casaletto

Journalist/Reporter. Current: @680News | Published work: @thescore, @CDNbaseball | Contact: lukecasaletto@gmail.com

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