Moving Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen, you must be crazy?

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What’s the one thing Blue Jays fans are frustrated about? The offence? They were but it seems to be picking up. The defence? Yes, they’ve had their injuries but they’ve kept it together. Their starting pitching? No, it’s actually been very good overall. Their relief pitching? Ding ding ding we have a winning. They always say “Don’t worry, the bullpen will lose this one for us”. Well maybe it’s because the Jays’ pen is NOT scary in the slightest.

They have no weapons in there that makes other teams nervous. Yankees have Miller, Betances, and Chapman, man is that scary. Kansas City, Boston, are other teams which have fantastic bullpens. Don’t forget the Orioles who have the second best relief ERA at 2.76 and the most wins with 17. Toronto’s bullpen, has just 7 with an ERA of 3.78.

I know Cecil and Loup are there but that’s not good enough. Cecil isn’t the All Star he was at one point and Loup has yet to be consistent to rely on for three straight outs.

Now imagine moving Sanchez to the pen with his numbers. If he pitched that way every 2nd or third day for 2 innings in the 7th or 8th inning, and Osuna to close. Don’t things look a little better?

Fans have been saying the pen has been blowing leads this season, put Sanchez in there to take some pressure of Storen (6.38 ERA) and Chavez (3.20 ERA), as well. These guys have the experience to be great and were expected to have sub 3 ERA’s. They’ve been feeling the heat. Then if Cecil and Loup regain their potential and pitch consistently, the Blue Jays have a much better shaped pen. One main guy to rely on and have a sure 3 outs with Sanchez then a supporting cast of Loup, Cecil, Storen, and Sanchez.

The Jays are the worst in 1-run games. They sit with a 6-10 record in that category. No doubt Sanchez could make those numbers improve.


Now if Sanchez does get pushed to the pen, who’s going to fill in you ask? I know Jays fans won’t like it when I say this but Drew Hutchison isn’t a bad option, if not the only option. His numbers in AAA this season with the Buffalo Bisons say enough for me. 10 Games Started, 2.93 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 58.1 IP, 61 SO, 22 BB, and opponent avg of .194. To me, those aren’t bad numbers at all. And I already hear Jays fans say ‘that’s in the minors, that’s not the MLB’. True! But what do you all think of Stroman? Or what did you think of his potential BEFORE he became an everyday MLB starter? There was so much hype for this guy.


Here’s Stroman’s numbers in his two AAA seasons (which he didn’t pitch much btw). 8 Games Started, 3.72 ERA, 1.371 WHIP, 38.2 IP, 50 SO, 13 BB, and opponent average of .267. So, say what you want about Drew but just see my point here. Fans praise Stroman for his pitching, they praised him before he made the jump to the big leagues. He’s now there as the ace (that’s another topic of conversation) and a fan favourite, but his numbers didn’t shout that to me before the MLB.

So moving Sanchez in my opinion to the bullpen AT SOME POINT is a no brainer. Help the pen out, bring up a starter to finish the season (Drew Hutchison) and let him focus on those 6 or 7 innings. To me, he’s proven he can come up to the Jays, use his past MLB experience and his newfound confidence across the boarder, and fill the role of Sanchez so the TEAM can be better and keep the starting pitching where it is.

It’s a win win.

Why the young Toronto Maple Leafs should have every fan excited

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I have touched on this topic a little bit in the past few months but that’s because it is a little hard to ignore; especially living in the city of Toronto.

The Maple Leafs aren’t a good hockey team, at least not yet, and it remains to be seen if they will be elite one day but I can assure you this: they’re definitely headed in the right direction.

The current version of the Leafs isn’t ideal nor is it a group you’ll see together next season but there are a number of players up right now who will be part of the Leafs now and in the future. From my assumption, this is who is here for the long haul barring anything drastic.

Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, William Nylander, Nikita Soshnikov, Zach Hyman, Martin Marincin and Frank Corrado. A strong argument can be made for the currently injured James Van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri; two forwards on the younger side along with goalie Garret Sparks. Overpaid veterans like Joffrey Lupul, Milan Michalek and Tyler Bozak could be moved if the Leafs find any suitors and Jonathan Bernier fits into that group as well. It remains to be seen what they intend to do with Leo Komarov and Peter Holland but my guess is they’ll be around next season along with the recently acquired Brooks Laich. After all despite Lupul, Michalek and Laich being paid a lot of money next season, it’s only on the books for that same amount of time and last time I checked, the Leafs need to fill some spots albeit temporarily. Let’s not forget a number of intriguing prospects developing in the AHL who have also seen time with the Leafs this year. Players like Josh Leivo, Kasperi Kapanen, Brendan Leipsic, Viktor Loov, Stuart Percy and goalie Antoine Bibeau.

Some of you may be saying “Well this group doesn’t seem that great on paper” and most of you are right but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if anything has been proven it’s this: the Leafs won’t rush into anything. They’re getting there at a slow pace but that is exactly how you build a sustainable hockey team with resources that are aplenty. Let’s dig deeper, shall we.

Heading into the off-season, the Leafs will be drafting someone in the top 5. That includes Auston Matthews, Patrick Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi, defenceman Jacob Chychrun and potentially Keith Tkachuk. Realistically you can’t go wrong with a top prospect but assuming the hockey Gods are on Toronto’s side and not Edmonton’s for the 100th time in a row, they’ll draft one of Matthews, Laine or Puljujarvi. That instantly adds a potential franchise player to an already evolving group of young talent. Let’s assume for the sake of being audacious they land Matthews. There’s the possible franchise and number one centre the Leafs have been searching for for years. So along with Nylander, Marner, Soshnikov, Kapanen, Rielly etc. you’re adding a significant piece to the pile. Let’s continue.

I have yet to touch on or mention a handful of good prospects that have yet to crack the AHL (the exception being Connor Brown). Along with Brown, who by the way burst onto the scene last year with the Marlies as a rookie, the Leafs have Dmytro Timashov (QMJHL), Andrew Nielsen (WHL), Andreas Johnson (SweHL), Nikita Zaitsev (KHL) Jeremy Bracco (OHL) and Travis Dermott (OHL) who are all regarded as B prospects in many people’s eyes barring a huge fall off in development. Other than Brown and Zaitsev who will likely compete for a spot on the Leafs next fall, these young players are still a few years away from contributing to the Leafs but that’s the beauty of prospect depth; once you have it and you have an NHL team already loaded with talent, you can afford the patient approach.

*Zaitsev technically isn’t a Leaf yet but all indications are the 24 year-old free agent is going to sign in Toronto as he confirmed this to be true a little while back.

Let’s also add on to all of this with me reminding you all that the Leafs have 12 picks heading into this summer’s draft along with their own first round pick, Pittsburgh’s 1st from the Phil Kessel trade assuming of course the Penguins make the playoffs and a handful more. With an already solid group of front office talent evaluators, the Leafs are poised to add even more to an already solid group of prospects. Considering how thin the group was a few years back, this is a huge step.

Ozzy is going to be proud of me. I wrote a future based article on the Leafs without mentioning the possibility (and likely outcome) of the Steven Stamkos saga in Tampa Bay. Stamkos is a free agent at summer’s end so I’ll leave it at that.



A.A. to L.A. and why it’s a brilliant move for the former Blue Jays general manager

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Download the podcast on iTunes

By L.C.

Okay Blue Jays fans y’all can stop with the bitterness.

Just kidding you have the right to officially be as bitter as you want but only for a limited time. It has an expiry date.

Most of the Toronto sporting world supported the Blue Jays and their wild run to the playoffs, a feat that hadn’t be accomplished since 1993. Finishing with a record of 93-69 and clinching a division title in the process was a team constructed by the man in charge named Alex Anthopoulos. He brought with him the swagger and willingness to go for it all; something that hadn’t been seen in quite a long time in Blue Jays land.

Russell Martin, Marco Estrada, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe are all players (all of them good ones in fact) that were brought in last year to help Toronto make a run at a World Series. On top of that, the Blue Jays and their fans were able to witness the second most memorable home run in team history thanks to Jose Bautista’s bat flip seen round the world which clinched them the ALCS. Yes, times were good.

But then they quickly turned sour after the Jays were beaten up by the Kansas City Royals and eventual World Series champions. Anthopoulos’ contract was a hot topic and Mark Shapiro, formerly the Cleveland Indians team President and GM, was hired as the fresh face in the 6 after long time Jays team president Paul Beeston announced his retirement at season’s end. In a true turn of events, AA declined to return to Toronto – the organization he had been with 2003 – and stepped down as general manager. It caused havoc. Media outlets buzzed, fans screamed and cried and a ton of people wanted to know the answer to the simplest yet most debated question.


No one truly knows other than AA himself and his close family. Maybe Shapiro has an idea too. But the truth of the matter is, Anthopoulos probably made the right decision if his most recent promotion was a possibility before he declined to return to the Blue Jays.

On January 12, 2016, it was announced that AA had been hired to be the Los Angeles Dodgers’ vice president and director of baseball operations. It was actually reported before that he had accepted a role with the Dodgers but the position wasn’t specified. Well now we know and if people were expecting him to accept a scouting role with LA they were wrong. Big time.

Anthopoulos being hired by the Dodgers isn’t surprising. He has maintained a good relationship with current President of Baseball ops Andrew Friedman and fellow Canadian and current Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi. The Dodgers, you should know, have a crowded front office loaded with roles filled by fairly well known and accomplished individuals, which is why the Anthopoulos hiring isn’t at all out of the woods. The job presented him and his family the opportunity to move from Toronto to LA all the while working for one of the most prominent and historic franchises in sports. Similar to Price signing in Boston for record breaking money, who could say no to that?

I will not for a second chastise and say that Anthopoulos getting hired by the Dodgers is a bad move because it isn’t. Were the Jays perfect under his guidance as general manager? No. Did all of his decisions and moves work out? No. Is every GM perfect? Never. Was this past season memorable? It sure was. Fans should embrace what he accomplished during his time here, respect it and move on. Shapiro and current Jays GM Ross Atkins are in charge now and it’s probably best to give them time to see what can be done to help continue on the path of success.

Anthopolous’ decision to go to LA is a great one for him and his career moving forward. The man had a terrific past season in Toronto, didn’t get what he wanted and moved on. For Blue Jays fans, you all have a right to be at least a little mad (even bitter) right now, but in time you should all get over it.

What’s done is done. Let’s move on.