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An End to a Disappointing Season… and the Start of an Intriguing One for the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays

On October 1st, 2017, the Toronto Blue Jays ended the regular season with a 2-1 win against the New York Yankees, who will be hosting the 2017 American League Wild-Card game tomorrow night at 8:00pm EST. They will be playing the Minnesota Twins. Whoever wins tomorrow night, will be facing Edwin Encarnacion and the Cleveland Indians in the American League Divisional Series.

This will be the first season that the Jays will not be making an appearance in the MLB playoffs since their back-to-back appearances in the 2015 and 2016 season. Within the past three seasons, the Blue Jays have captured the hearts of 36 million canadians with their constant success and luck. And while this past season they had neither of those, the Jays finished second in the American League in attendance, with 3,203,886 fans watching live at the Rogers Centre. Trailing behind the New York Yankees with 3,146,966 fans in attendance (while the Jays had more fans in attendance, they had 2 extra home games [81] than the New York Yankees did [79] this season). Toronto came #5 overall, behind the LA Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, and New York Yankees. Toronto has turned into a baseball city thanks to the names of Joey Bats, Bringer of Rain, Superman, Stro-Show, Go-Go, EE/Eddie (😱), Price, and many more meaningful players that the Blue Jays have had. I know I will never forget the past few seasons, and I’m sure you never will either.

While it may seem weird how the Jays will not be in the 2017 playoffs, it is definitely not a shock. Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, and General Manager Ross Atkins stated during the 2017 offseason that they wanted to acquire more players to make the team more fast and athletic. They believed this would make the Jays 2017 playoff contenders for the third straight season. And while this probably would have worked, they did not follow through with their words and instead re-signed José Bautista, and gave contracts to Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce. None of which are fast and/or in the peak of their athletic years. However, they did play quite mediocre as a collective group offensively this season. During the 2017 trade deadline, the Jays traded away starting pitcher Fransisco Liriano, and acquired Nori Aoki (who they later released), as well as top-prospect Teoscar Hernandez from the Houston Astros. Teoscar Hernandez was on fire for all of September, and I am ecstatic to see where he will end up playing for within the Blue Jays organization next season. He looks like a very promising player, that checks off all of the things the Jays need to look for in players for the 2018 season (faster, athletic, power, etc.).

The 2018 offseason shall be a very interesting one for the Toronto Blue Jays. There is just one more season left until some of the hottest players in the league become free agents (in 2019), so I assume a lot of trades will be made during the 2018 Winter Meetings and Trade Deadline. The Jays have a lot of decisions to make, focusing mostly around the futures of Josh Donaldson and José Bautista. Will the Jays sign Donaldson to a $100 Million contract extension? Will the Blue Jays re-sign José Bautista to his final contract of his career, so he can retire as a Blue Jay? These questions will be answered within the next 5 months, and I am looking forward to seeing how these narratives will play out.

Could the Jays be playoff contenders for the 2018 season? Potentially. The front office and staff have a lot of work to do… but I believe in them. If Shapiro, Atkins, and management can bring together a great core group of talented veterans and rookies, they will be able to compete alongside the Red Sox and Yankees in 2018.

Obviously, this season was miserable for both the fans, and staff of the team. But I tend not to dwell on the past, and instead be optimistic for the future of the team. Let’s not forget about our AMAZING Low-A, High-A, and AA teams that are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. Both “A” teams were champions of their division, and with names like Vladdy Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, who can hide their excitement for the long term future of the Toronto Blue Jays?!

As always, I will continue to tweet regularly about the Toronto Blue Jays throughout the off-season, as well as occasionally tweet about both the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and the Toronto Raptors (NBA). Alongside social media, regular blog posts will be going up weekly about the Jays offseason news and other Jays related shenanigans.

Thanks to everyone who made this MLB season more tolerable, and I look forward to the upcoming post-season, as well as 2018 season!

Alyssa Cohen<<<<<<
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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: http://blog.feedspot.com/baseball_blogs/

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

Blue Jays release C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

It’s official, the Toronto Blue Jays have released backup catcher Jarrod “Salty” Saltalamacchia.

Saltalamacchia was originally signed by the Blue Jays to a minor league deal, but was brought up to the major league team once the season began. He was brought up to give everyday catcher Russel Martin more frequent off days. Last year, Jays backup catchers Dioner Navarro and Josh Thole were on the team to give him more rest, but they both lacked offensive and defensive power that Martin brought to the lineup every game. When the Jays signed Saltalamacchia, they thought they were going to be getting good defence and mediocre offence, but that did not seem to be true.

With his time in the Jays organization, .Saltalamacchia had a 040/.077/.040 batting line with 16 strikeouts to one walk across 10 games played.

On April 28, the Jays DFA’d Saltalamacchia, and on May 3 he was officially released.

With Saltalamacchia now officially off the roster, the Blue Jays have selected the contract of C Luke Maile. He has already played his first game as a Jay, and did an excellent job catching Marco Estrada through five innings on Monday.

The Blue Jays have a couple of options they can choose from here. There is always an option to trade for a decently good catcher, but since it is still early in the season not many clubs will be willing to trade any players right now. Another option would be to call a player up from within the organization, but all of the AA/AAA minor league catchers still need quite a bit of time to develop. As of right now, the most obvious route would be sticking with Maile until a better option rises.

As of right now, there should be less of a concern with finding a new backup catcher, and more of a concern with finding out why the Blue Jays are not winning nearly as many games as they had been expected to win.

Alyssa Cohen

Baseball and Books: Bat Flip – The Greatest Toronto Blue Jays Stories Ever Told & GIVEAWAY!

Hello friends, it has been a while since I have written a post for you all! You can thank the lack of the Blue Jays front office activity for that (although according to Steven Brunt “something’s cooking” inside the Jays front office).

I have been wanting to make this post/series for a while since some of you know that I have a book blog, and love to read books… especially about baseball! I get a countless amount of people (whether it be in real life or social media) asking about the best baseball/Blue Jays related books that I have ever read. And now I will be creating a series of posts all about it! (FYI: Regular Jays related content will be posted once something major happens. Rather than rumours about the “Strochez” break up and Donaldson’s potential new girlfriend.) (#2 FYI: These posts will not be going out regularly, just when there is not much Jays news like now.)

In September, I received a copy of a book from Mr. Keith McArthur entitled “Bat Flip: The Greatest Toronto Blue Jays Stories Ever Told“. It is a compilation of some of the best Jays related stories (ever told). I was lucky enough to receive the book to review, and giveaway one! To find out my thoughts and how you can win a copy, keep on reading!

DISCLAIMER: I received the book “Bat Flip : The Greatest Toronto Blue Jays Stories Ever Told” for review purposes only. I am not being payed or influenced in any way. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Here is the synopsis taking off of Goodreads.com:

When Jose Bautista homered and flipped his bat in the 2015 playoffs, Blue Jays frenzy reached a fever pitch not seen since Joe Carter’s 1993 World Series home run. Those two home runs still bring tears and chills to Jays fans. And each season, each game, each at bat holds triumphs, heartbreaks and surprises of its own. In Bat Flip, editor Keith McArthur curates the very best writing about the Toronto Blue Jays, from the tragic postscript to Doug Ault’s 1977 opening day heroics to John McDonald’s emotional Father’s Day tribute. This collection brings together writing from players, journalists and fans. With a cast of characters that includes heroes, zeros, cheats and liars, Bat Flip is a must read for every Toronto Blue Jays fan.


This book was so great. It included a great collection of stories from around the entire organization, as well as some writer/fan stories.

My personal favourite story was “The Bat Flip 2: Baseball and Belonging” written by Keith McArthur. The story was about taking his son to a ballgame, and all of the things that happened there. It was a wonderful story, and showed how amazing the organization is.

I personally connected to many of the stories inside, and it made me very excited for spring training (which is only 34 days away!!!!). You could tell that each author connected to their story, and were writing from their heart. All of the writers are either Jays fans or organization members, so it was easy to connect to their opinions.

Inside, you will find stories written by respected Blue Jays members of the organization, such as R.A. Dickey, Buck Martinez and Stacey May Fowles. All of the stories are great, and will sure make any Blue Jays fan happy!

I really have no “constructive criticism” to talk about for this book. All of these stories were very professionally written and had a great source of both statistics and personal opinions/emotions.

Overall, I would recommend this book immensely to all fans of the Toronto Blue Jays!


GIVEAWAY:

I have teamed up with author Keith McArthur to giveaway one physical copy of the book Bat Flip: The Greatest Toronto Blue Jays Stories Ever Told! In order to enter to potentially win, you must follow these rules:

  • Entries are open from January 11, 2017 at 5:30pm EST, to January 31, 2017 at 11:59pm EST
  • You must have be a legal resident of Canada, over the age of 18 or have permission from your parents/guardians.

To enter, you must be following me on Twitter @aalyssacohen and RETWEET my current pinned tweet! If you do not have twitter, you can just fill out the next step (but following me on twitter/retweeting my pinned tweet counts as an additional entry). You must also fill out this quick form below, verifying that you have read this post and giving me your email address so that I contact you if you win.

I hope that you are all excited for the giveaway! If you win, you will be contacted via email on February 1, 2017.


I hope you all enjoyed this review and giveaway! Thanks to Keith McArthur for the incredible book, and I hope that you will pick up a copy of it soon. You can follow the twitter account of the book here, which I greatly encourage!

Alyssa Cohen