November 2016

Injury Update: Kevin Pillar

On October 28, 2016, Kevin Pillar posted an Instagram picture of himself with a cast covering his entire forearm.

If you weren’t aware, last season Superman played with a broken wrist starting in May. This is not a rumour, and I still don’t know how he made all of his unreal catches. He really is superman!

This year, the Blue Jays publicized his thumb/finger injury throughout the season. It seemed as though he was constantly getting hit in his hand, as well as sliding through bases “fingers” first.

It seemed as though he couldn’t get a break (as well as Devon Travis, but we will talk about that another time).

Kevin Pillar got thumb surgery to repair a torn tendent.

Pillar batted .266/.303/.376 in 146 games (in 2016) and was named a finalist for the American League Gold Glove in centre field.

Hopefully he will be back and ready to go for the 2017 season!

Alyssa Cohen

The First Loss of the 2016 Season

Do you remember the Toronto Blue Jays first loss of the season in 2016? Well I sure do, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

It was the third game of the Toronto Blue Jays season, and we were in the series up 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays. If you were’t aware, this was the first and only time the Jays were in first place until the end of July.

We headed to the bottom of the ninth, down 3-2. With the bases loaded for Edwin Encarnacion, he hit a grounder to third and on an error while trying to attempt a double play, the Blue Jays (thought) they scored 2 runs, and were leading 4-3. Kevin Cash, the Rays manager asked for a replay review to check for any evidence of an illegal slide at second base/interference. THE CALL WAS OVERTURNED. Meaning, the two runs never scored and the double play was automatic, as Jose Bautista was called interfering with the second base man to try and break up the double play. This resulted in a throwing error to first base that would have score the tying and go-ahead runs. Since the call was overturned and the double play was called, the game ended then and there, and Tampa Bay won 3-2, there first win of the regular season.

Had this been any other season in the MLB, the two runs would have scored indefinitely. The only reason the runs didn’t score was because of the newest rule that MLB had added for the 2015 season known as the Chase Utley Rule. The exact rule (6.01(j)) consists of: “If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate.”

Many people are claiming that this rule ruins the roughness of baseball. In the early days, you would see many illegal slides trying to break up a double play when you needed a run most, and that was just the game of baseball as we knew it. Now a days, the game seems to be getting safer and softer, limiting the injuries and oddities of baseball. Could this be ruining the game of baseball? Could there be more rules limiting how baseball is played today?

I think that the reason I will never forget this game is because it reminded me of how the season ended last season. Our season ended on an inning ending double play in ALCS game six against the Kansas City Royals, with Dalton Pompey on third base, needing just to score that runner to tie the game. The double play was completed and the Royals were headed to the World Series (which they eventually won in six games).

Since the season has now ended, we can look at many games that this rule has affected. While the Blue Jays were the first, there were many more and I’m sure they will be many more to come in 2017.

Alyssa Cohen

(EDIT: Yesterday, I was officially “inducted” into the Baseball Bloggers Alliance! I am very excited to be apart of it, and feel very honoured. Thanks to all of you for making this happen!)

F.A. Kendrys Morales signs a 3 Year, $33 Million Contract with Blue Jays

Well, the Blue Jays sure gave Jason Grilli an interesting birthday present.

On November 11, 2016, the Toronto Blue Jays signed free agent Kendrys Morales to a 3-Year $33 Million deal.

When coming home from school, I always check Twitter to see if there have been any interesting things going on in MLB, but normally I don’t find anything interesting related to our Blue Jays. But today, that trend changed!

My first reaction when finding out that Morales had signed a deal here was “S**t!!” As I immediately thought that meant that the Blue Jays were not pushing hard enough to sign Encarnacion. Then again, Edwin has proved that he could be a potential every day first baseman, leaving the option open for the Blue Jays. I think that the Jays will continue to try their hardest regarding Edwin and his future contract.

Like any contract, there were many mixed reactions, including mine (as shared above). All in all, people were quite excited. When acquiring a switch hitting DH onto a team with the majority of right handed batters, it is very exciting. Also, Morales is an “RBI Hitting Machine”, and hit 30+ home runs this past season.

I believe that adding Morales to the Blue Jays organization is going to benefit overall. This starts the hunt for the 2017 Blue Jays playoff push/offseason for the Blue Jays, and it started with a bang!

Alyssa Cohen

Note: The Blue Jays also signed top Cuban prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for 7 years, $22 million. Quite an exciting day to be a Blue Jays fan!

RA Dickey signs a One Year Contract with the Atlanta Braves

Many mixed feelings are shared among Blue Jays fans today.

Whether you only liked him for his pitching, or only liked him for his back story, RA Dickey will be missed.

About an hour ago, the Atlanta Braves (officially) announced that they have signed former Blue Jay RA Dickey to a one year contract, with a club option for 2018. No word of how much the contract is worth yet.

I will never forget the day that the Blue Jays traded for the reigning Cy Young Award winner RA Dickey for many prospects, including the infamous Noah Syndergaard, on one winter day in December 2012. That was supposed to be a Blue Jays “dream team”, but we all know what happened that year.  He was the first “big name player” that I was really excited for the Blue Jays to sign, that year I started to understand Baseball, and he was a big reason why.

To much of my surprise, many Blue Jays fans were quite saddened by the news. Even though, I thought I would be the only one. He may not have been a great pitcher for the Blue Jays, and if it were me I would not have offered him a big contract. But, he was definitely a great human in general, and offered motivation and consultation for people that had dealt with child abuse and suicidal feelings.

On behalf of the entire Blue Jays fan base, I wish RA Dickey the best on his career in the Atlanta Braves Organization, and going forward. He is one of the most genuine players in the game, and he will be greatly missed.

Alyssa Cohen

2017 Free Agent Priorities

On Friday, I wrote a blog post all about the 2017 Blue Jays free agents. Although there are many free agents, there are a few who are priority on the list that the Blue Jays should try and sign ASAP.

First up on the list is Jason “Grill Cheese” Grilli. Grilli is not a free agent this year, but he may go on to free agency if the Blue Jays do not extend his contract via club option. In order for them to extend his contract, they must commit to giving him $3million for the 2017 season. Personally, I don’t think this is a large amount of money to offer him. He was a key for the Blue Jays during their postseason push, and I believe he will be a key to the next upcoming postseason push as well.

Next, I would definitely try to sign one of the two main sluggers of the team, either Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion. As told here, the Blue Jays will extend qualifying offers to both members and will try to take the exclusive time that the general manager of their former team can talk to the free agents. Although I would hope that Encarnacion would come back, I believe that Jose Bautista would take a 1-2 year contract offer because of all of his commitments and sponsorships that take place in Canada and the city of Toronto. He would probably take it because he didn’t have a great season, and wants to make a comeback. Encarnacion has stated that the Blue Jays are still his top choice in free agency, and would like to comeback to the Blue Jays next season. I believe that at least one of them will come back, and I have been saying so since the end of the 2015 season.

Then, we should look to re-sign either Brett Cecil or Joakin Benoit, who are both free agent relievers. Brett Cecil has been in the organization since 2007 when he was drafted by the Blue Jays . He got married here, and raised a family here. 10 years later, and he is not sure what to do. Cecil has been a very big asset for the entire organization and was very important to the Jays in the 2015 post season push, as well as the entire 2016 post season. On top of that, Cecil is not super old and is also a lefty, two things the Blue Jays have to focus on during the offseason this year (not just for pitchers, but for the offence as well, if not especially).

There are also other things that I may have missed that we should do. There have also been a lot of rumours surrounding who the Blue Jays want to sign this offseason. As we speak, the general manager’s of all 30 ball clubs are gathered in Arizona discussing possible signings with one another. This offseason should be a very interesting one, so be prepared for anything!

Alyssa Cohen