Welp… that was one ugly looking season. But you already knew that, so let’s not rehash.
The Toronto Blue Jays 2018 team could look A LOT different than the 2017 team, which is not a bad thing at all! Another season over, means another year older. And eventually, those years can add up, especially to all of the big league players.
The Jays have 6 free agents on the current 40-man roster, including:
- Brett Anderson
- Darwin Barney
- José Bautista
- Marco Estrada (re-signed with the Jays!!!)
- Michael Saunders (club option)
- Miguel Montero
The Blue Jays also have 6 players that have arbitration eligibility. Players are eligible for arbitration if they meet a certain piece of criteria. These include: having at least three full seasons with MLB playing time. As stated on fangraphs.com, “If a player qualifies for arbitration, they can still reach a contract agreement with their team and choose not to go to a hearing. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, though, both sides submit their salary request to an arbitration panel. A hearing is conducted, and both sides are allowed to state why they believe the player’s salary should be set at the level they specified. The arbitration panel — an unbiased, third party — then decides which case is stronger, and awards the player the salary they deem most appropriate.”
The players that qualify for arbitration that were on the Jays 2017 40-man roster, include:
- Ryan Goins
- Tom Koehler
- Aaron Loup
- Roberto Osuna
- Kevin Pillar
- Marcus Stroman
- Darwin Barney
- Ezequiel Carrera
- Aaron Sanchez
- Devon Travis
- Josh Donaldson
The Blue Jays will be investing a lot of money into many of the players on this list, as well as others including Martin and Tulowitzki. There are a lot of players that the Jays will be looking at to base their contract offers on. For example, Osuna and the Jays front office can look at Trevor Rosenthal’s contract in his early years as a closer for the St. Louis Cardinals, to compare it with what he should be making for the 2018 season. Rosenthal entered arbitration for the first time in 2015 and saw his salary shoot up from $535,000 to 5.6 million.
As always, when news comes out about free agent contracts and arbitration eligible players, you can hear it on my blog (what you’re reading right now)! Don’t forget to follow me on twitter for 24/7 updates!
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  than the New York Yankees did  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!
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!
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/
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!