Blue Jays re-sign RHP Marco Estrada (!)

The Toronto Blue Jays have officially announced the re-signing of RHP Marco Estrada, to a one-year $13-million contract extension.

Last night around 11pm EST, MLB insider JP Morosi tweeted out that the Blue Jays were close to re-signing Estrada to a one year deal. About 13 hours later, the Jays made it official!

Estrada has been pitching for the Jays since the 2015 “dream season”. Many fans don’t know (or remember), that the Estrada started as a relief pitcher for the Blue Jays, before being converted to a starter later in the 2015 season! In 3 seasons with the Jays, he has had a combined ERA of 3.82 and has played over 94 games for them.

This re-signing gives a head start to what seems to be like a challenging upcoming off-season for the Jays team/front office. With 4 (?) pending free agents on the current 40-man roster. Along with all of the outfield, backup catcher, and relief pitching priorities.

It’s nice to know that a quality starter in Estrada will be on our team for yet another season!

You can check out some Estrada highlights from his 2016 season down below! And from the 2015 season, here!

Alyssa Cohen

Biagini Optioned to AAA, Montero on the DL, and Special Announcement!

The Blue Jays made a fleury of roster moves, just a few days after the trade deadline.

  • C Miguel Montero placed on the 10-day DL
  • P Joe Biagini optioned to AAA Buffalo
  • P Danny Barnes activated
  • C Raffy Lopez recalled

Miguel Montero was placed on the 10-day disabled list, after being diagnosed with a groin strain. C Raffy Lopez’s contract was selected by the Blue Jays to join the MLB team. He was slashing .293/.368/.551 over 59 games at Triple-A Buffalo prior to his promotion. Last season, he joined the Cincinnati Reds for an 8-game stand, and was then optioned back to their AAA affiliate team. This will be Lopez’s first time in MLB since then.

The most surprising thing within this roster moves list is that the Blue Jays have optioned P Joe Biagini to AAA. He will be starting at least 3 games in Buffalo, before being called back up. The plan is to make Biagini a starter and a stable piece in the rotation, since the Blue Jays traded Francisco Liriano to the Astros during the trade deadline. They have added Cesar Valdez in the rotation already, to replace Aaron Sanchez who is currently on the DL. However, Valdez is a temporary pitcher in the rotation, while the Jays look to make Biagini a permanent one. Biagini was not a fantastic starter in his first try being in the rotation, but hopefully sending him to AAA Buffalo for a longer time will help him succeed in the Jays starting pitching rotation.

Blue Jays reliever Danny Barnes has been activated back onto the 25-man roster, after being on the DL due to a right shoulder impingement. Ryan Tepera, Dominic Leone, and Danny Barnes, have all been crucial parts of the Jays bullpen this season, so it was important to get Barnes back as soon as possible.

This morning, I found out that I was ranked #77 on the Top 100 MLB Blogs list! I am so thankful to all of you that read this blog, and follow me on twitter. Starting this blog is one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to see where the future takes it. You can view the entire list here:

Alyssa Cohen

Toronto Blue Jays trade Francisco Liriano and Joe Smith in 2017 Trade Deadline

The Blue Jays did exactly what they needed to do at the 2017 trade deadline.

The Jays traded LHP Fransisco Liriano to the Houston Astros for OF Noki Aoki and their #9 prospect Teoscar Hernandez. Noki Aoki has hit .285 with a .736 OPS over his career. He’s hitting .272 with 2 homers and 19 RBIs so far this season. Aoki adds a left-handed bat into a right-handed heavy lineup, with a career OBP of .350. However, he will be 36 next year in his final year of arbitration eligibility. Teoscar Hernandez is currently playing in AAA, but the Jays believe that he can be an everyday player. The 24-year-old is hitting .279 with 12 homers, 44 RBIs, and has an OPS of .854. In his MLB debut, he faced Liriano and the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre. His first MLB hit was a home run that came off of Liriano… what a coincidence! GM Ross Atkins says he’d expect Hernandez to join the MLB team in September when rosters expand and possibly before if needed.

The Jays also traded RHP Joe Smith to Cleveland for LHP Thomas Pannone and INF Samar Taylor. However, it was a bittersweet ending for Smith as a Blue Jay. Smith’s mother was recently diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, and Progressive Field is within driving distances to where his mother currently lives. He held a fundraiser just last week in Cleveland to raise money for the disease. In an interview with Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae, Smith shared that he “loved my time in Toronto”, but is looking forward to rejoining Cleveland to play for a contender. “That’s why we play.” was his response when asked about the situation. Thomas Pannone is a LHP with a 2.62 ERA and a 1.069 WHIP at AA. Pannone was a 2017 Easter League All-Star. When asked about the acquisition, Atkins said “… could be a major-league starting pitcher [eventually].” Samad Taylor is a 19 year old, 2016 10th round pick. He is currently playing second base in short-season A. He has a slash line of .297/.344/.432 with an OPS of .776 between Rookie and Low-A ball.

To many people’s surprise, Marco Estrada, J. A. Happ, and José Bautista were not traded. However, they were rumours about all three of them going to different teams.

Around MLB, Oakland traded Sonny Gray to the Yankees and Texas traded Yu Darvish to the Dodgers. Both teams got a variety of top prospects in exchange for the starting pitchers.

Overall, the Jays had a successful trade deadline. They got young prospects and a stable OF for two of their free agent pitchers. Did you like the way the Blue Jays approached this trade deadline, or were their moves that they didn’t make that you would have? Tweet your thoughts to @aalyssacohen!

Alyssa Cohen

Toronto Blue Jays 2017 MLB Trade Deadline: Buyers or Sellers?

With only a few days left until the MLB July 31 Trade Deadline, Ross Atkins and the Toronto Blue Jays management have many decisions to make about the short and long term future of this team.

Unlike last season, the fan base and MLB reporters are talking about which players they will be trading, not which players they will be trading for.

I imagine that Atkins and management will be in active talks with multiple teams to trade Francisco Liriano, Marco Estrada, and Joe Smith. Smith was my favourite off season move, so if he does get traded I will be sad to see him go. He has been very good in the bullpen thus far, and we should be able to get a solid player back for him. Estrada is a good pitcher in the regular season, but has stepped up to the plate over the past two seasons during the post season and has pitched phenomenally in October. Liriano seemed like he was going to be great this season, but things have not gone well. The Kansas City Royals seem to be the main team trying to pursue Liriano, since they are looking for pitching help as they try to advance into a wild card spot before many of their players go into free agency at the end of the season. There have been speculations about J.A. Happ getting traded, but unless the Jays can get something good for him in return, I don't think they will be eager to trade him.

What the Blue Jays need and have lacked for several years is speed and youth, but I'm not going to act as if you did not know that already. Since the Jays are essentially going to be giving other teams rentals (Liriano, Estrada, Smith), they should look for players that will help our team now, or go on a different route and try to acquire bonafide and promising prospects. It would also be beneficial to add another bullpen arm, as the bullpen has done so much work thus far into the season.

Will the sweeping of the Oakland Athletics this past week change the Blue Jays front office trade deadline mentality? Maybe. I've said for this past season that when they look good, they look fantastic. However, when they look bad, they look horrible. But we have to remember that on paper, the Athletics are a worse team than us, so anything other than at least a 3-1 series win would have been bad.

I don't believe the Jays will be going into this trade deadline trying to begin the process of the rebuild, simply because they cannot afford to. The fan base for the Toronto Blue Jays has become massive thanks to two very dramatic playoff runs. We were also the first American League team to reach 2 million tickets sold! By selling players like José Bautista and Josh Donaldson now, that would tell the fan base that they are thinking about the future, and ignoring them. And while that may seem bad, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea. However, Atkins and Shapiro should formally come out to the fans to explain there thinking before doing something as big as that scenario. In recent interviews, Atkins has said that he will NOT be trading Donaldson, and he wants him to stay a Blue Jay as long as humanely possible.

I do believe that they will be using this trade deadline to plan for the future, as this team will probably not be able to get a lock on a wild card spot come the end of September. They should try and trade for good players who are young and will be controllable for the next several years.

I am very interested to hear what you believe the Toronto Blue Jays front office should do during the 2017 trade deadline. As always, you can tweet me @aalyssacohen, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Alyssa Cohen

The Journey of the Smith’s

Ever since the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Joe Smith, it seems as though we have been attracted to a lot of Smith’s lately. One has been placed on the DL, 2 have been sent back to AAA.

Joe Smith

When the Toronto Blue Jays acquired RHP Joe Smith via free agency, I knew he would be great for the team. I listed him as my favourite off-season acquisition, and he has proved me right thus far into the season. In 34 games (31.2 IP), Joe Smith has an ERA of 3.41 and a BB/9 ratio of 2.3. Joe Smith has been one of the Blue Jays most reliable bullpen arms. However, just last week Joe Smith was placed on the 10-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. Hopefully he will be back in full force around the beginning of July.

Dwight Smith Jr.

After Kevin Pillar was given a 2 day suspension, the Blue Jays called up one of their well-known farm system prospects to join the MLB club. Dwight Smith Jr. is an outfielder that had been playing for the Blue Jays AAA affiliate Buffalo Bisons. In just 12 games played with the Blue Jays, he managed to get 10 hits and 2 doubles. He also had a hit streak of over 5 throughout the 12 games. He has since been optioned back to AAA, since the Blue Jays activated Ezequiel Carrera off of the DL. Although, it is quite odd as this means the Jays have decided to keep Ian Parmley on the roster, who has not shown the hitting that Smith has shown.

Chris Smith

Do you remember a few months ago when I interviewed a Blue Jays prospect? That was Blue Jays pitcher Chris Smith! Smith has played in a couple of Jays games over the past few days, and looked good in his appearances. He has since been optioned to AAA, in order to make room on the roster for Blue Jays Rule 5 draft pick Glenn Sparkman who has since been on the 60-day DL due to a broken thumb. We have yet to see him play for the Jays this season, but I am looking forward to it.

Other Notable Blue Jays news:

  • Jason Grilli DFA’d (😢)


Alyssa Cohen