Archive for the ‘ Off Season News ’ Category

David Price’s Injury and What That Means to the Toronto Blue Jays (and Entire AL East)

David Price is a major key within the starting rotation for the Boston Red Sox. But, if David Price cannot pitch throughout the entirety of the season, what does this mean to the American League (East)?

On March 2, 2017, the Boston Red Sox publicly shared the news of David Price and his injury. After announcing that he was going to miss his first spring training start with the Red Sox of 2017, fans and writers a like demanded reasoning. News quickly spread about his apparent elbow soreness, and how he may not be able to pitch this season. The Boston Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell were quick in responding to the statements made about Price, and addressed the media in a respectful manner. They stated that they were going to be getting a “second opinion” for the matter, and have seeked the help of Dr. James Andrews to do so. Whenever Dr. Andrews is needed, that assures you that things are not doing well.

While the Boston Red Sox still have Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright, Price would still be a huge loss. David Price eats up about 200 innings every year, plus even more in the postseason. Meaning that he acts as two starters, rather than one (based on innings and previous statistics). And with the seven year contract that the Boston Red Sox gave to Price, they will essentially be throwing $33 million down the drain.

As a Toronto Blue Jays fan who was a huge fan of David Price while he was a Jay, I can’t say I am too upset about the circumstances. Sure, the whole event is sad, but I am sure glad that the Jays won’t have to face him for potentially an entire season. Regardless, I still wish him the best of luck (expect when facing the Jays!).

So what does mean to the American League East? Well, for one thing they won’t have to face a 2012 Cy Young Award winner every few weeks. David Price has shown major success while pitching in the American League East for so long. For teams in the American League that have a lot of left handed hitters, it definitely helps them out with the righty-lefty hitting match up.

For the Toronto Blue Jays specifically, the injury of Price means they are that much closer to being the potential favourites to with the division. While I still think the Boston Red Sox have a lock on it, losing a major starter in David Price evens out the playing field for the Jays and could potentially make our starting rotation that much better.

Alyssa Cohen

P.S. To vote on which blog post you would like to see next, follow me on twitter (@aalyssacohen) and watch out for my blog post polls!

Jays Sign Mat Latos (and Cat Latos) + Joe Biagini Being “Stretched”

Last night, tweets were coming out sharing the possibility of the Toronto Blue Jays signing RHP Mat Latos to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training camp. Those rumours have been confirmed and a deal has been signed according to the Toronto Blue Jays (who are the #1 reliable source in Jays land!).

If you are not aware of who Latos is, last season he played for the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals as both a starter and reliever. In his early career with the San Diego Padres, Latos was an excellent pitcher and finished eighth in Cy-Young voting in 2010. He had been with four Major League franchises before selecting a one year contract with the Chicago White Sox in 2016. While starting with the White Sox, he had an amazing start, but a not so great ending. He signed a contract with the White Sox in the beginning of 2016 (in the offseason), and was thought of as their 5th starter. In his first four starts he pitched to an ERA of 0.74, but then allowed 29 earned runs in his next 36 innings pitched. Around the end of May (2016), the Chicago White Sox picked up   James Shields (a starter essentially picked up to replace Latos) and was designated for assignment. He was then released. A few weeks later, Latos signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals, with whom he stayed with until just recently (recently as in today) signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. The route to pitching with the major league team was very slow, as he was assigned to their Rookie-level Gulf Field Coast League. After months of work in the minors to help improve him, he finally made his Nationals debut on September 4, 2016 against the New York Mets.

Today the deal was officially signed and announced (plus 30 minutes after it became official he walked onto the field wearing Jays Spring Training gear (it escalated very quickly needless today!). At this point, the deal seems to be a minor league deal with no word of how much it is worth or for how long. In short, this will give the Jays some potential pitching depth in both the bullpen and potential starting rotation (more to that in a moment).

Making it official this morning meant that over the course of today many Jays tweeters would think of some great puns about the guy (and his cat… Cat Latos). Trust me when I say they do not disappoint! Here are some of my favourites (to see all of my favourite tweets as soon as I see them, follow me on twitter here):

If you have been following the Jays closely throughout this long (and stress enduring) off season, you have probably seen talks somewhere about stretching out Joe Biagini to become a starter, or at least have a significant roll in the starting rotation (Joe has his own opinions on this subject matter, which I encourage you to watch here). If you recall, whenever a starting pitcher or a pitcher with a significant roll in the club became injured, the Jays would always call up Drew Hutchison. It is times like these that we forget the heavy roll that Hutchison played in the organization, although he spent most of his time with the Buffalo Bisons (the Toronto Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate team). With the signing of Mat Latos, the Jays can feel a bit more comfortable with the issue of not nessicarily having a back up pitcher to fill in the rotation.

Does the signing of Mat Latos affect Joe Biagini? The future is quite unclear with the answer to that question. If anything, it will leave the Jays with a tough decision (if Mat Latos shows real potential). If by chance Joe Biagini wins a fifth spot in the rotation, Mat Latos could fill the loss of Biagini in the bullpen, but I think that is a big risk as Biagini was one of the most effective players of the Jays bullpen last season. He was one of the star pitchers of last season thought the league, and being a rule 5 draft pick by the Jays made his story that much more interesting! Since the Jays have shared that they will not be limiting Aaron Sanchez like they did last year, the Jays need for a fifth starter is less significant than it was last year, but it’s reassuring to know that there are two guys that could fill the void, and do it successfully.

Alyssa Cohen

P.S. Here’s a picture of Mat Latos incredibly cute cat, “Cat Latos” which I expect to be a subject of discussion during some media interviews this Spring Training!


The Final 2017 Blue Jays Free Agent Updates

Can you believe that today is the last day without baseball for about 200 days?! This offseason has gone by quite fast, although looking back it was a long and stressful one. As you could probably tell, I took a short break from writing blog posts, since new ones will be coming out weekly from this point forward. Whether it may be truck day or seeing the newest workout videos from Marcus Stroman, Russel Martin or Josh Donaldson, and I think we can all agree that even the little things about Spring Training are making us more and more excited for baseball season!

I have done two posts about the 2017 free agent market, and everything revolving the Jays around it. You can read the original one here, and the first update here.

Since most of the free agents have been signed (minus Dioner Navarro, but I’m sure he will sign something soon since pitchers and catchers literally report tomorrow), I thought now would be the right time to see where everyone wound up after this crazy offseason.

NOTE: I will only be writing about free agents that signed after the last free agent post was made, therefore players such as Edwin Encarnacion and R.A. Dickey will not be talked about here.

  • Jose Bautista
    • I would say that the biggest stress of this offseason for all Jays fans (whether you may be a lifelong fan or a bandwagon fan) was in the fate of where Jose Bautista would wind up. Of course every Jays fan (or at least most) wanted Bautista back, and I cannot say that my opinion was different from this. To make things short, Bautista re-signed with the Blue Jays to a one year, $18 mil offer with – long and complicated – options for both 2018 and 2019. To read more about this (which I recommend), you can click here.
  • Scott Feldman
    • Just a few weeks ago, Scott Feldman signed with the Cincinnati Reds to a one year deal, $2.3 million.
  • Dioner Navarro
    • Navarro is still a free agent, and the only one left from the free agents on the 2016 Blue Jays roster.
  • Michael Saunders
    • Saunders signed a one year, $9 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Gavin Floyd
    • The Toronto Blue Jays signed Floyd to a one year minor league deal. He will once again be fighting for a spot on the 25-man roster to be a part of the bullpen.
  • Josh Thole
    • Thole signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

And that concludes the final Toronto Blue Jays 2017 Free Agent blog post series! Whenever Navarro signs, I will let you know via twitter.

I am incredibly excited for Spring Training to begin and to start seeing all of the boys back together playing baseball!

Alyssa Cohen

To Edwin Encarnacion

On December 22, 2o16 at 9:00pm, Edwin Encarnacion signed a 3 year/$60 million (plus an option) with the Cleveland Indians. Practically the same contract that the Blue Jays offered him weeks ago that his agent denied.

Edwin Encarnacion was one of the most consistent and memorable Blue Jays of all time, and it is very hard to seem him go. From hitting over 30+ home runs for the Blue Jays for the past five years, to being the 2016 playoff hero. He will be greatly missed.

My favourite Edwin Encarnacion moment happened in the 2015 season, when Edwin hit 3 home runs in one game on Saturday August 29. I personally will never forget that moment. It felt like a fairy tale, and it was one of the main pieces of the Jays making the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

But how can any of us forget the Wild Card game that ultimately changed the 2016 post season. I will never forget that moment either. With one hit, we were heading back to the playoffs for the second straight year. I screamed my head off with that one. My dad fell asleep and my mom said that no matter what happened that night, we both had to be quiet. But after that home run, all rules were thrown out the window. I’m surprised the whole world didn’t hear me!

This contract shows that everyone makes mistakes. I am not feeling sour directly to Edwin himself, but mostly his agent Paul Kinzner. I know more than half of you probably came to terms with this when both Morales and Pearce were signed weeks ago. And believe me, I am definitely not blaming the Toronto Blue Jays front office for this one either. They ultimately gave him the best contract, but he wasn’t ready to sign it yet. But, I always had a glimpse of “What if?”, although there was no way that was going to happen from the beginning. I guess this was just an unfortunate mistake, and I am sure Edwin is feeling that too. I for one hope he fires Mr. Kinzner right away, he deserved a better agent than this. Kinzner should have realized that teams are looking for speed, lefty’s and youth, non of those adjectives fall next to the name Edwin Encarnacion. However, we have to realize that this is not about the fans, this is a business. No real blame should be put on either sides, although you have to let me be sour for a day.

So Eddie, I’d like to thank you for the good times, the smiles, the laughs, the bombs, and most of all… the parrot.

Best wishes always.

Love your friend,

Alyssa Cohen

2016 Blue Jays Winter Meetings Recap

Everyone expected the Blue Jays to pull off some big moves, and well, they didn’t really do that. While others may not agree with the moves made, we know that Shapiro and Atkins have the best intentions for our team. Besides, we all want the same goal. Rings.

If you haven’t been following a long as intensely as I have, you are in luck! I have recapped days 1-4 below to take a look at all of the moves the Jays management managed to pull off. (Technically, December 4 was not day one because everyone was flying in and they had a big dinner at night. All of the real stuff started on the Monday which is where I am starting, just to clarify.)

Day 1 – December 5, 2016

The first day of the winter meetings started with quite a bang. Normally I find time to check my phone to see any Blue Jays news during my period 2 Geography class. Most of the time there is nothing new, but today was a shift from the norm.

The Blue Jays signed INF/OF Steve Pearce for 2 years, $12.5 mil. 

Pierce is a valuable player, who has played all positions in his career, excluding catcher and pitcher. The contract amount is not to bad, considering that he is an average defender and hitter. He will generate a lot more offence from first base than Justin Smoak, which we will all appreciate. This was the Blue Jays biggest Winter Meetings move.

Blue Jays reportedly offer Dexter Fowler $60 mil for 4 years.

According to multiple reports, the Blue Jays have offered OF Dexter Fowler a contract. Although, sources are saying that they are about $3-$5 million off. If that is the case, then I think Dexter Fowler will be a Toronto Blue Jays by the end of this week!

Blue Jays reportedly out on Edwin Encarnacion, after he declines $80 million/4 year contract offer. 

I think that the Blue Jays made a smart move when it comes to Edwin. After he declined the offer, they slowly took it off the table and moved on right away. With the money we were originally going to pay Edwin, we can fix up some holes in our roster (back up catcher, corner outfielders, relievers, etc.). I (like you) are sad about Edwin leaving, but it may be for the better. And this also makes my narrative almost 50% correct (I will tell you about it sometime later in the season)!

To recognize: Joaquin Benoit signs with the Phillies for 1 year/$7.5 million

As a free agent, Benoit signed a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. He is likely to pitch in the 8th inning.

Day 2 – December 6, 2016

Day two of the Winter Meetings was an interesting day for rumours and other team deals. Nothing major for the Blue Jays as far as adding new players.

Chris Collabello elects Free Agency.

Former Blue Jays starting first basemen Chris Collabello elects free agency instead of Minor League assignment. After testing positive for PEDs, Collabello was never the same. After the Jays took him off of the 40-man roster, he decided to elect free agency. It will be very interesting to see where he goes.

Toronto Blue Jays reportedly back in talks with Jose Bautista.

After rumours surrounding the Jays with Dexter Fowler, the Blue Jays have now been talking with Bautista’s agent/team. I guess the Jays are still interested in him being an outfielder for the team, as 1B and DH are pretty much taken already by Steve Pearce and Kendrys Morales.

Jose Bautista reportedly OK with a 2-year Contract.

It’s interesting to think that around this time last year Bautista was reportedly asking for $150 million/5 years. Now, he may be ok with a $25/2 year contract offer!

Edwin Encarnacion market slowly decreasing, Indians interested? 

Apparently, the Indians have suddenly become very interested in Edwin. They also apparently generated $20 million extra in revenue from the world series. Personally, I do not think that they will have enough money for Edwin and contract offer request.

To recognize: Red Sox trade for White Sox pitcher Chris Sale.

Suddenly, the Red Sox are the new favourites for the American League team in the 2017 World Series. They have David Price, Rick Porcello and now Chris Sale. Although, the Red Sox gave 4 major players away that were currently being developed in their farm system, which could possibly hurt them in the future.

Day 3 – December 7, 2016

Ross Atkins shares that Bautista is a great alternative and that there is definitely a way to “connect the dots”.

With Edwin Encarnacion most likely not coming back, Bautista would be a great alternative for the team as well as the fans who fill up the stadium.

Unless there’s a surprise entrant, slugger Edwin Encarnacion’s finalists appear to be the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians. 

Surprisingly, in the morning of day 3 we thought that Edwin would most likely not be coming back, but by the end it was reported that he could still possibly be coming back. A possible scenario could be Morales DH, Edwin 1B and Pearce OF. Or, they could ask to trade Pearce but I don’t think he will want to be traded since he literally JUST signed here.

Rockies interested in Marcus Stroman and would trade Charlie Blackman for him. Blue Jays say no to the offer and share that they wouldn’t be willing to trade Stroman straight up. 

With all of the work that Stroman does around the city and on social media, it would be a real shame to see him go. Earlier in the offseason Ross Atkins said that it would be unlikely to change the starting rotation. I really hope that he stays with us, but stranger things have happened.

Toronto Blue Jays sign Brett Oberholtzer to a minor league deal.

This was pretty much the only contract that the Jays had signed since Pearce, and it was only a minor league deal. Oberholtzer had a 5.89 ERA and a 3-3 record, while being a reliever for both the Phillies and Angels.

Jay Bruce has reportedly enlisted the Toronto Blue Jays on his no trade list. 

Just some random information for you all, especially the people saying that the Jays should try to sign Jay Bruce!

To recognize: Ian Desmond signs with the Colorado Rockies.

Ian Desmond, former utility player for the Texas Rangers has now travelled to the National League and is currently a member of the Colorado Rockies.

To recognize: Aroldis Chapman to New York Yankees 5 year/$86 million.

Now we have another team to beat in the AL East. Is it just me, or does it feel like every team is improving for the better but ours?

Day 4 – December 8, 2016

Toronto Blue Jays select Glenn Sparkman from the Rule 5 Draft.

Glenn Sparkman is 24, he posted a 5.22 ERA across four levels in 2016, reaching AA.

Dexter Fowler reportedly on his way to St. Louis for a physical. St. Louis reportedly offered him a huge contract, somewhere around $85 million for 5 years.

No wonder the Jays weren’t able to get him right away. If I were Fowler, I would have taken the Cardinals offer, too. Jays are reportedly still in “the mix” but I’m not sure how they could be.

After this week, the Blue Jays still have a ton to do. Encarnacion and Bautista are still on the market, and it will be very interesting where they end up. I still think one of them will come back to the Blue Jays, but I don’t know which one.

Personally, I think both the Red Sox and White Sox won the Winter Meetings. The Red Sox got a lot of all star players, and I assume that means that they are really going for it. The White Sox received multiple amazing prospects, they will be a team to bit within the next 5-10 years.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the 2016 Winter Meetings for the Blue Jays, I am not so happy.

Alyssa Cohen

PS. Big things are coming for Year 2 of Alyssa Cohen MLB! A lot of changes are currently in the works, and I think you will all love them! I will be explaining everything on the One Year Birthday/Anniversary of the blog in January. As of right now, I am currently looking for a Blue Jays Minor League/Farm system fan that likes to write. If you consider yourself that, please click here and fill out the form to let me know. Thank you!