Category Archives: Fake Blue Jays Jerseys

Roy Halladay Jersey

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Yesterday’s flurry of transactions ended an era of Blue Jays baseball: when Devon Travis was outrighted and removed from the 40-man roster, the last link to Hall of Famer Roy Halladay was broken.

Prior to the moves, Travis was connected to Halladay in a rare linear chain of trades: Travis was acquired in a trade with the Tigers for Anthony Gose, who was acquired from the Astros for Brett Wallace, who was traded from the Athletics for Michael Taylor on the same day that Taylor was moved to the Jays from the Phillies as part of the haul for Halladay.

The Toronto Blue Jays Roster Tree Route Map at the end of the 2019 regular season. Minor Leaguer
On the Toronto Blue Jays Roster Tree Route Map, the TRAVIS (Pink) Line operated a route to Halladay serving the intermediary stops at Gose, Wallace, and Taylor. However, the line has experienced severe service disruptions the past few years and was completely out of commission for 2019.

It was somewhat of a sad move to remove the Pink Line to Halladay, which had existed since the very first Roster Tree Route Map here. It wasn’t much of a surprise; I was dreading making that deletion ever since Travis’s injury.

Beyond this frivolity, I am genuinely sad that Devon Travis could leave the Blue Jays organization—he was outrighted, but has enough service time to elect free agency—as he seems to be one of the good human beings in the game. I have heard of many really thoughtful acts he has done for various people in the Jays organization behind the scenes. He will be missed.

Buck Martinez Jersey

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When I started this list thing, I really thought it would be enjoyable, you know, a walk down memory lane. Well memory lane isn’t so great, especially when it comes to the catcher position. The truth is, Kansas City has been a black hole for catchers. Sure, there’s been a couple of really good catchers, but for a franchise that is 51 years old, you’d think filling out a top five would be easy. Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Have them be a catcher because evidently there is a serious shortage of great ones.

I had no idea that Brent Mayne stuck around the bigs for 15 seasons. Buck Martinez and Jamie Quirk hung on for 17 and 18 years respectively. Mayne had 20 career home runs in 15 seasons. Buck Martinez had 15 career home runs in his 17 years. Compare that to Mark Belanger who carved out an 18-year career as a great fielding, no-hit shortstop for the Orioles. Belanger somehow stroked 20 career home runs and was good for 41 WAR, while Mayne, Quirk and Martinez were good for a combined 9 WAR. I know that’s comparing apples to oranges, but I came away amazed at how weak the Royals have been at catcher most years.

Another issue that complicated matters is that three former backstops I considered (Ed Kirkpatrick, Jamie Quirk and John Wathan) also spent considerable time playing other positions for the Royals. I ran over the stats of 11 different catchers and amazingly, those 11 have caught most of all games the Royals have played. Well let’s get to the ugly.

Honorable mention

Ed Kirkpatrick and Jim Sundberg. Sundberg had a fantastic career, good for 41 WAR. The problem was only 2 of his 16 years were spent in Kansas City. He played a huge part of the 1985 Royals winning the World Series. In the playoffs and World Series, he had timely hitting and expertly managed the young pitching staff.

5. John Buck
Buck was drafted by the Houston Astros in the seventh round of the 1998 draft. On June 24, 2004 he was traded to the Royals as part of the infamous three team trade in which Kansas City sent future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran to Houston in return for Buck, Mark Teahen, Mike Wood and cash. He made his Major League debut the next day at the age of 23.

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With the exciting pennant races of 1985 a fresh memory, the Royals traveled to Toronto for the American League Championship Series. The 1985 season marked the first year that the Championship Series went to a best-of-seven format. The Blue Jays, who started as an expansion team in 1977, won their first American League East crown by holding off the New York Yankees by two games. For the Royals, their West division title marked their seventh playoff appearance in the past ten seasons.

Conventional wisdom would seem to favor the veteran Royals, but this was a tough Blue Jays team. The Jays featured young stars Tony Fernandez, George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield along with ace pitchers Dave Steib, Jimmy Key and hard throwing closer Tom Henke. The Jays also had their share of former Royals – Rance Mulliniks, Buck Martinez, Willie Aikens and a 21-year-old first baseman by the name of Cecil Fielder. The series also featured the Iorg brothers – Garth for Toronto and Dane for Kansas City.

Vegas installed the Jays as the favorites in the series. The Blue Jays had homefield advantage, if you can call it that. Their home was Exhibition Stadium, a facility that had been built for the CFL Toronto Argonauts. Jays President Paul Beeston once called Exhibition “not just the worst stadium in baseball, it was the worst stadium in sports.”

They tried calling it “The mistake by the lake” but that name was already taken by Cleveland. The stadium sat near Lake Ontario and the weather was often cold at the beginning and end of the baseball season. In the Jays first game ever, on April 7, 1977, they had to borrow a Zamboni from the Toronto Maple Leafs to clear the field of snow. The main seating area was a bowl reconstructed from two grandstands that ran the length of the third and first base lines and was open to the elements. A huge covered grandstand ran the length of left field and extended well past center field. There were no seats in right field, just a fence and a whole lotta space. It was, and remains, one of the strangest baseball fields I’ve ever seen. Calling the first two games for NBC were former Yankee great Tony Kubek and a young Bob Costas.

Game One

The game was played October 8th in Toronto. The Blue Jays started their ace, Dave Steib. Steib only went 14-13 in 1985 but made the All-Star team and led the American League in ERA with a 2.48 mark. Kansas City countered with lefty Charlie Leibrandt, who had posted a sterling 17-9 record in his second season with the club. The Jays wasted little time, jumping on Leibrandt for six runs in the first four innings. The Royals finally got on the board in the ninth when Willie Wilson scored on a ground out by Pat Sheridan.

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The six runs were more than enough as Steib held the Royals to three hits in eight innings of work and Tom Henke, who looked more like a high school science teacher than one of the best closers in the game, worked around two singles in the ninth to preserve the win and give the Blue Jays a 1-0 series lead. Leibrandt gave up five runs in two innings of work before Dick Howser went to Steve Farr. Mark Gubicza and Danny Jackson for the final four innings. The odd pitching rotation highlighted a serious lack of depth in the Kansas City staff. Howser basically had five decent starters and Dan Quisenberry. Steve Farr, who had only thrown 37 innings in the regular season, emerged late in the year to give Howser a little more depth.

Game Two

Played Wednesday afternoon, October 9th with a 3:00 ET start time, the Jays started their number two-man, Jimmy Key. The Royals countered with Bud Black. Key had gone 14-6 in the regular season, while Black had an off year, finishing 10-15. Key and Black, both lefties, were nearly mirror images of each other, the only difference being Key often threw from a three-quarter arm slot while Black came over the top. The Royals struck first when Buddy Biancalana led off the third with a single to center.

With one out, Willie Wilson fouled off the first two pitches from Key. Key challenged him on the third pitch and Willie deposited it into the left field stands. Wilson had only hit four home runs during the regular season. The Royals increased their lead in the fourth when Daryl Motley walked and scored on a double by Jim Sundberg. Rain interrupted the proceedings in the fifth with the score 3-1 Kansas City. When play resumed, Black lost his rhythm. He hit Bell with a pitch and after a Cliff Johnson single, uncorked a wild pitch. Barfield then punched a single to center to score both runners.

Manager Dick Howser went to his closer, Dan Quisenberry, to start the eighth. Lloyd Moseby singled, stole second, advanced to third when Sundberg’s throw got by Frank White and score the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by George Bell. The Jays were only three outs from taking a two-game lead and with Henke on the mound, it looked bleak. Pat Sheridan, pinch-hitting for Daryl Motley, said no problem and wrapped a lead-off home run around the flagpole in right to stun the Toronto crowd.

Quisenberry worked around a two-out Mulliniks single to retire the Jays in the ninth. Kansas City took the lead in the 10th, when Wilson singled, then with one-out, stole second. With two outs, Frank White stroked a sinking liner to center. Moseby charged and appeared to have made a shoestring catch. Left field umpire Derryl Cousins didn’t see it that way and ruled that Moseby had trapped the ball, which allowed the fleet Wilson to easily score. Manager Bobby Cox argued vociferously, but to no avail. In those prehistoric days, there was no replay and even today, the YouTube video of the play is too difficult to make a solid ruling.

Howser sent Quisenberry out for the tenth and Tony Fernandez led off with a high chopper to Onix Concepcion. Concepcion fielded the ball cleanly, had the ball in his throwing hand, then for some mysterious reason double clutched, allowing Fernandez to beat the throw. It was ruled a hit but should have been an error on Concepcion. The error/hit proved costly as Fernandez moved to second on a ground out before a Moseby single to right drove him home with the tying run. Fernandez ran through third base coach Jimy Williams stop sign and easily beat Sheridan’s throw to the plate.

Quisenberry then tried to pick off Moseby but first baseman Steve Balboni forgot to catch the ball, allowing Moseby to take second. That brought Al Oliver to the plate. Oliver was a professional hitter in the last year of a brilliant 18-year career which saw him accumulate 2,743 hits and almost 44 WAR. With two strikes, Oliver went the other way, slipping a grounder to left to easily score Moseby with the game winner. The Royals committed three costly errors in the game, four if you count the freebie given to Concepcion, and it cost them the game.

Game Three

Game Three moved to Kansas City, a Friday night game with announced attendance of 40,224. The Royals started 20-game winner Bret Saberhagen while the Jays countered with Doyle Alexander, who had a fine 17-10 season. For the season, Saberhagen had recorded 158 strikeouts and only issued 38 walks. Game Three quickly became the George Brett show. Brett had worked out hard over the winter looking to avoid the injuries that had plagued him since his seminal 1980 season. Looking at that 1980 season, .390/.454/.664, where does a player go from there?

With one out, Willie Wilson singled to center. Wilson attempted to steal second and was called out. The replay clearly shows his slide beat the tag by Tony Fernandez but second base umpire Vic Voltaggio’s view was blocked by Fernandez and since replay didn’t exist yet, Wilson took a seat. Naturally, Brett drove the next pitch about ten rows deep to right to give the Royals a quick 1-0 lead.

It stayed that way until the fourth, when Brett narrowly missed another home run, as his lead off drive bounced high off the right field wall for a double. He advanced to third on a fly out by Hal McRae and came home on another fly out by Frank White.

The wheels came off for Saberhagen in the fifth. The inning went single, home run, fly out, double, single off Saberhagen’s leg and finally another home run, this one off the bat of former Royal Rance Mulliniks. Howser brought on game two starter Bud Black to put out the fire. 5-2 Toronto. Steve Balboni led off the Royals half of the fifth with a hard liner to left, but George Bell made a terrific running catch to rob Balboni of extra bases. Jim Sundberg picked his teammate up with a home run that barely cleared the left field wall. 5-3 Toronto. In the bottom of the sixth, Wilson led off with a sharp single over the glove of Alexander, bringing up Brett. Brett took a ball, then took a violent cut at a ball which he fouled off. On Alexander’s third pitch, Brett drove the ball deep over the left-center wall, up onto the grass to tie the score. The fans gave him a well-deserved standing ovation, getting a curtain call from Brett. Many believe Alex Gordon’s home run in the 2015 World Series was the biggest in Royals history, but this Brett shot was right up there. If the Royals lose this game, they go down three games to none and have to face Dave Steib. Game three was a must win for Kansas City and their star delivered. Again.

Paul Quantrill Jersey

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Canadian Cal Quantrill will make the start for the San Diego Padres against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday at Rogers Centre, the team has confirmed.

Scott Mitchell

@ScottyMitchTSN
Cal Quantrill, son of Paul, has been confirmed as San Diego Padres’ starter against #BlueJays on Saturday at Rogers Centre.
It will be the 24-year-old’s fourth-career start, and obviously first in Toronto for the Port Hope product.

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The 24-year-old son of former Blue Jays reliever Paul Quantrill will be making his fourth career MLB start, he currently has an 0-2 record with a 5.40 ERA in 15.0 innings pitched.

Quantrill made his MLB debut on May 1 on the road against the Atlanta Braves and threw 5.2 innings, surrendering two earned runs as he was tagged with the loss.

He made his second and third starts at home against the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates, picking up a no-decision and loss respectively.

The Port Hope, Ont., native was selected eighth overall in the first round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft by the Padres.

His father Paul pitched six seasons with the Blue Jays and also appeared for the Padres, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Florida Marlins over the course of his 14-year MLB career.

Cecil Fielder Jersey

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The Home Run Derby is the best part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities and the most entertaining aspect of the three-day event surrounding the Midsummer Classic. Over the years, the Blue Jays have had their fair share of players slug it out for the derby title.

No Blue Jay has won the title, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could become the first tonight at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Despite not technically being named an “All-Star,” he’s a write-in candidate for the Home Run Derby.

In total, 15 Toronto Blue Jays players have competed in Major League Baseball’s biggest slugfest, with a few players earning runner-up honours at the festivities. Here’s the full list of Blue Jays competitors dating back in 1986.

Year Player City Home Runs Place
1986 Jesse Barfield Houston 2
1987 George Bell Oakland 1
1991 Joe Carter Toronto 2
1992 Joe Carter San Diego 4
1996 Joe Carter Philadelphia 2
1999 Shawn Green Boston 2
2000 Carlos Delgado Atlanta 6
2003 Carlos Delgado Chicago 2
2006 Troy Glaus Pittsburgh 1
2007 Alex Rios San Francisco 19 Runner-Up
2010 Vernon Wells Los Angeles 2
2011 Jose Bautista Phoenix 4
2012 Jose Bautista Kansas City 20 Runner-Up
2014 Jose Bautista Minnesota 14
2015 Josh Donaldson Cincinnati 18
For the most part, Blue Jays players did very little damage from the Home Run Derby from 1986 to 2006. Joe Carter participated in three separate seasons but failed to make an impact against his competitors.

For two decades, the Blue Jays’ biggest claim to fame at the Home Run Derby was that Skydome was the birthplace of the infamous Cecil Fielder derby performance. Fielder sent two home runs sailing above Windows restaurant, with distances in excess of 450 feet each.

All that changed in 2007 thanks to a budding young Blue Jays outfielder facing off against the father of future Home Run Derby participant, Vladimir Guerrero.

Alex Rios (2007)

It wasn’t until 2007 when an All-Star outfielder named Alex Rios put his name on the map by finishing runner-up to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Interestingly enough, Rios hit the most home runs of any single player in the 2007 Derby with 19 total, but narrowly lost in the finals by a score of 3-2 from Guerrero Sr.

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TORONTO – To put some context on where the Toronto Blue Jays stand as they prepare to open spring training with Thursday’s first workout for pitchers and catchers, look all the way back to the early 1980s, when the franchise was just emerging from its expansion beginnings.

Back then, former general manager Pat Gillick had already amassed a horde of young talent that was just starting to percolate up to the big-leagues, providing what became the framework for the most successful period in team history.

The likes of Dave Stieb, George Bell, Tony Fernandez, Lloyd Moseby, Jesse Barfield, Willie Upshaw and Jimmy Key capitalized on the impermanence of the roster to break through, and in 1985 helped land the team’s first American League East title.

Now, president and CEO Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins are looking to leverage a new generation of young talent, led by potential superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr., along with other top prospects such as Bo Bichette, Anthony Alford, Cavan Biggio, Nate Pearson and Eric Pardinho. They’ll need to support the charge already started by youngsters such as Ryan Borucki, Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Brandon Drury.

At the Letters
Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.
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If the well of talent is deep enough, and the Blue Jays smartly augment the base through more trades and free agency, perhaps they can rebound quickly into another window of opportunity. If not, well, this could mark the beginning of another era out in the playoff-less wilderness.

So, yeah, no big deal.

One interesting difference between now and then is Blue Jays fans haven’t been through this type of teardown before, one that’s happened stunningly fast after the highs of the 2015-16 post-season runs.

Following the back-to-back World Series championships of 1992-93, the Blue Jays didn’t rebuild, they simply hit a wall, and their subsequent attempt to rebuild around Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green, Alex Gonzalez, Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter and Kelvim Escobar never came to fruition.

J.P. Ricciardi aggressively turned over the roster after the 2001 season but had to keep Delgado, who had a no-trade clause, and held on to Halladay, never going down to the studs and getting the Blue Jays into the top of the draft.

After a subsequent window built around Halladay, Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, A.J. Burnett, Aaron Hill and Lyle Overbay never made it over the hump, Alex Anthopolous again transitioned the club after the 2009 season, but never bottomed it out, instead pushing forward his timeline when Jose Bautista unexpectedly developed into a superstar.

That led to the period that brought the Blue Jays to where they are now, essentially in “soft-tank” mode, having already collected assets for a rebuild, looking to add more on the way back up. They’re not actively trying to lose 90 games, but they haven’t totally built a roster to ensure that doesn’t happen, either.

As a result, the 2019 season is going to be a different kind of experience for the fan base, which conceptually has seen rebuilds play out for other teams – with the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros serving as the models to emulate. On the flip side, there’s the risk of landing in rebuild purgatory like the San Diego Padres, who have the game’s deepest farm system but haven’t had a winning season since 2010, or the Cincinnati Reds, who have suffered through four straight 90-loss years with more tunnel before the light.

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A postseason dud notwithstanding, Rocco Baldelli’s first season as a major league manager was a huge success.

Baldelli led the Minnesota Twins to a regular season record of 101-60 and their first American League Central title since 2010. They withstood a late-season challenge from the three-time defending division champion Cleveland Indians before being swept by the New York Yankees in three games in an AL Division Series.

The San Diego Padres are on the verge of hiring someone who could be the National League version of Baldelli. Multiple sources are reporting that the Padres have decided on Texas Rangers player development coach Jayce Tingler to replace Andy Green, who was fired with eight games remaining in the season.

Tingler, like Baldelli, is young as both are 38. Also, like Baldelli, Tingler has a varied background in his professional baseball career.

Tingler spent four seasons playing center field in the minor leagues from 2003-06 with the Toronto Blue Jays and Rangers. Following his playing days, Tinger stayed in the Texas organization.

Among Tingler’s duties have been managing at the lowest levels of the farm system in the Arizona Rookie and Dominican Summer leagues, serving as the minor league field coordinator, a one-year stint as an assistant to general manager Jon Daniels and three seasons on the major league coaching staff.

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A.J. Preller was Daniels’ right-hand man with the Rangers until becoming the Padres’ GM in 2014. Thus, Preller knows Tingler well.

In fact, the industry perception is that Preller made a convincing argument to hire Tingler to ownership, which wanted a more seasoned manager such as former Rangers skipper and current Atlanta Braves third base coach Ron Washington.

PROMOTED

It remains to be seen how Tingler will fare as a major league manager. The same questions surrounded Baldelli at this last year when the Twins hired him to replace Paul Molitor, a Hall of Famer and Twin Cities legend.

One of the main concerns was if Baldelli was too young for the job. Unlike Tingler, Baldelli had not managed at any level.

However, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine believed Baldelli’s other experiences would help him adjust to managing. Baldelli worked in Tampa Bay’s baseball operations, minor league and scouting departments after injuries brought an end to a once-promising playing career with the Rays when he retired in 2010.

The Padres were 70-92 in 2019, extending their streak of losing seasons to nine. The franchise also hasn’t been to the postseason since 2006. Worse, the players seemed to quit on Green in the second half of the season when the Padres went 25-47 after having a 45-45 record at the All-Star break.

Yet Tingler walks into an enviable situation as the Padres have plenty of young talent on their roster, a group that includes left-hander Joey Lucchesi, right-handers Chris Paddack and Cal Quantrill, catcher Francisco Mejia, second baseman Luis Urias, shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., and center fielders Manuel Margot and Franchy Cordero among others.

Tatis has the look of a generational talent and Paddack could blossom into a No. 1 starter next season following a strong rookie year. Yet when the 2020 preseason predictions start being made, it’s doubtful many will pick the Padres to capture the NL West, which has been won by the Los Angeles Dodgers each of the last seven years.

However, few thought the Twins would win the AL Central this year under such a young manager. They did and long-suffering Padres’ fans might be able to find some hope in that.

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After a successful but brief stint in late 2018, Rowdy Tellez returned to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, where he experienced the highs and lows of a full year in Major League Baseball.
In 2018, Rowdy Tellez was called up to the Toronto Blue Jays during the September roster expansion, and he took advantage of the small window of opportunity.

No stranger to adversity with his mother’s passing to cancer just weeks before his MLB debut, Tellez would absolutely rake in his first taste in the MLB. In 23 games, he would slash .314/.329/.614 with four home runs, 14 RBI’s, and nine doubles, with his extra-base hits breaking two MLB records in the process.

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It was quite the introduction to the big leagues.

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Rowdy Tellez is the first player in the live-ball era with 4+ XBH in his first 5 career plate appearances. He is also the second player in the live-ball era with 4+ doubles in his first two games – Oakland’s Ben Grieve had four in 1997 (courtesy STATS).

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In 2019, Rowdy Tellez was on the bubble to make the squad for opening day, but veterans Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak were in his way. Fortunately for Tellez, Morales would be dealt to the Oakland Athletics just before opening day, creating room for the 1st baseman on the 25-man roster.

For the rest of the season, the power-hitting first baseman/designated hitter would slash .227/.293/.449 in 111 games. He would smash 21 home runs while also gathering 54 RBI’s, 29 walks, and 19 doubles, along with 116 strikeouts.

Tellez would split time between the 1B and DH position with Justin Smoak for most of the regular season. In mid July, the Toronto Blue Jays would send Rowdy back down to the AAA Buffalo Bisons, a month long assignment on the heels of a stretch where he was sitting consistently between a .210 and .230 AVG while striking out at-least once a game (minimum).

The demotion would only prove to be a confident boost for the left-handed hitter, as Tellez would destroy the competition on the way to a ridiculous .366/.450/.688 with seven home runs and 21 RBI’s in just 26 games.

He would return to the Blue Jays on August 14th and would continue to play at a consistent level similar to before his demotion, not wavering from his eventual season-ending slash line over the next month and a half.

While 2019 did see Rowdy Tellez improve in some areas, the jury still seems to be out as to whether the power hitter will be the first baseman/designated hitter of the future Blue Jays core.

On one hand, Tellez possesses natural power in his swing that you don’t naturally see with just any regular baseball player. He has the ability to take pitches out of the zone and find a way to put them in play, sometimes even over the fence or into the gap for an extra base hit. When he was able to put the ball in play, 48% of hits would be for extra bases, a stat that really benefit the Blue Jays this season.

Sportsnet

@Sportsnet
“It’s pretty special,” Rowdy Tellez said of becoming just the fourth rookie in @BlueJays history to hit 20 home runs.

“It’s one of those things that a lot of people dream of that’s hard to do. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

(Via @bnicholsonsmith)https://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/little-line-orioles-blue-jays-plenty-stake-players/ …

Little on the line for Orioles, Blue Jays, but plenty at stake for players
Long after the possibility of a collective accomplishment disappears, these games still matter on an individual level. Roles, roster spots and reputations are still at stake, after all.

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Rowdy also found a way to improve midseason against left-handed pitchers, with first glimpses being an awkward exchange where it appeared that he was outmatched most of the time. This led to Tellez being pitch hit for when lefties were brought into the game in the later innings.

He would improve his game against lefties as the season wore on, and by the end of September, Tellez was able to put the ball in play for a .270 AVG with 6 home runs and 23 RBI’s in 115 at-bats

On the other hand, Rowdy Tellez does strike out quite often with 28.4% of his at-bats in 2019 ending in this result. This is kind of normal for ‘power hitting’ types like Tellez, but unfortunately can be a trend that teams may be looking to avoid. With it being his official rookie season and first real taste of a full season in the MLB, he will need to improve this statistic or at least try to stay par for the course considering opposing teams will have more video to develop a plan against Tellez with the more at-bats he takes.

Tellez is also an average fielder, which isn’t the worst thing in the world considering he could be a prime candidate for the DH position moving forward. His fielding percentage is indeed solid at .996%, but it’s his abilities to save teammate throwing errors or pick balls in the dirt is something that needs to be worked on.

To be fair, the Blue Jays did have an exceptional fielding first baseman in Justin Smoak (gold glove nominated again), and fans have been a bit spoiled with tough plays being made to look routine.

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Some small improvements both in the batters box and on the field could see an increase in reps for the power hitter, but there is the potential for increased competition both internally and externally (via trade or free agency).

Other prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays organization are looking for playing time on the active roster, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the organization starts giving some other prospects some playing time on the right side of the diamond (coughVladdycough). There also is the potential that Smoak does return to the Blue Jays if the deal is right, re-creating the platoon that was featured through the 2019 campaign.

The 2020 season will be the callback audition in trying to find a role for Rowdy Tellez in the Toronto Blue Jays rebuild musical (off-Broadway). While fans can debate back and forth whether to put their faith in the California native, the rebuilding years will be a proving ground for prospects like Tellez, so fans will definitely be seeing Rowdy and other prospects over the next few years.

NEXT: Anthony Alford and his biggest opportunity yet
Whether he remains with the squad after the rebuild depends on how he can progress and improve his slash line and/or his defensive ability moving forward, with the ultimate goal to be convincing the Blue Jays brass he deserves a spot on the roster.

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TORONTO — As we just saw with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, expansion drafts can be a ton of fun. The chance to assemble a team from scratch offers exciting possibilities and endless opportunities to debate roster construction.

went through the process in November 1976, participating in an expansion draft along with the Seattle Mariners ahead of their inaugural seasons.

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Toronto made several impactful selections and even came away with a few franchise-forming players. Catcher Ernie Whitt was drafted with the No. 34 pick, and his 131 homers still rank 10th in club history. Slugger Otto Velez, taken 53rd overall, had an .834 OPS with the Blue Jays that’s ninth in the organization’s record books — one point better than Roberto Alomar’s mark.

Roy Halladay would have turned 42 today.

Roy, was either the best or the second best Jays starter of all time, depending on who you ask, but there is no doubt he and Dave Stieb are the 2 best starters in our history. In my mind, Stieb was the best AL pitcher of the 1980s and Halladay was the best AL pitcher of the ‘aughts’. Doc is second on our franchise wins list at 148 (Stieb had 175), second in BWAR at 48.5 (Stieb 57.2), third in starts at 287 (behind Stieb 408 and Jim Clancy 345).

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Roy won 2 Cy Youngs (one as a Jay, one as a Philly) and finished in the top 5 in voting 5 other times and he was a member of 8 All-Star. For many of the years that he was a Blue Jay, he was one of the few bright spots on a rather average team. I always looked forward to his starts. Beyond all the ability, he was a competitor. On days he was going to pitch, he was locked in. Teammates and, especially, press didn’t talk to him. He kept focused on the job at hand.

His death made me sadder than it really should have. I was depressed for days. It is funny how the death of a person I never met could effect me so much. He was too young and he was enjoying retirement so much.

Doc gets inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame July 21st this year. I’m thinking I might go for the ceremony, I’m not sure when the next Blue Jay will make the Hall, but I doubt it will be anytime soon. The only downside is that Roy won’t be there to give his speech.

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Pat Borders turns 56 today. Borders was never a great player or a great hitter. He only had one season as a Jay where he hit better than average. In 1990 he had an OPS+ of 120 and a batting average of .286 with 15 home runs and his only on base above .300 (.319) in his time as a Jay. His Jay career offensive win percentage is .458. He did have decent power, if he could have learned to take a walk it would have helped. But he was a tough catcher and a good handler of pitchers. He had a decent arm but was never really a candidate for a Gold Glove.

Pat played 747 games for the Jays, putting him second in games played by a catcher to Ernie Whitt. And he would play for 8 other MLB teams. He was still playing ball at age 42.

Likely most of you remember that he was the World Series MVP in 1992 and Jay’s fans owe him a beer or two for that alone. I’m sure, if he wants, he could have a career as a coach or manager somewhere, but after a 17 year major league career he deserves to relax after wearing the ‘tools of ignorance’ for so long. He always seemed like one of the guys you’d like to talk to. Just a good guy, hard worker.

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One other birthday I have to mention is Dennis Martinez, who turns 65 today. Dennis was never a Jay, in his 23 year career, but he did spend 8 years as an Expo. He has 245 wins to his credit, but one I’ll never forget is the perfect game he threw against the Dodgers in 1991. Dave Van Horne who was, I guess still is (he does the Florida Marlins games), a terrific play-by-play commentator did a great job at the end saying “El Presidente, El Perfecto”. He was a very popular pitcher, he beat alcoholism to become one of the best pitchers of his time.

Also having birthdays:

Hosken Powell, who turns 64 today. Powell had a 6 year MLB career, 4 with the Twins and the last 2 with the Jays.

He played for the Jays in the 1982 and 1983 seasons. He was pretty ok in 1982, hitting .275/.304/.389 in 112 games. 1983 didn’t go as well, hitting .169/.213/.205 in 40 games, before being released on July 10th. Career he hit .259/.314/.349 with 17 homers (and 17 triples) in 594 games. He also had 43 steals, playing mostly right field. He was a left-handed hitter, but career he hit much the same vs. LHP (.649 OPS) as RHP (.665 OPS). I don’t remember much about him, other than I liked his card in Strat-0-Matic Baseball.

Mark Dalesandro turns 51 today. Mark was a backup catcher for us for parts of 1998 and 1999, playing a total of 48 games for the Jays, hitting .266/.276/.383 with 2 home runs. He also played a handful of games for the Angels and 1 game for the White Sox.

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40 in 40: Greatest Blue Jays
The Blue Jays celebrated their 40th anniversary on April 7, and we’re taking a look back at the players who shaped the franchise.
Rank the 40 greatest Jays of all time.
However, perhaps no player in the team’s ’76 class provided better value than right-hander Jim Clancy. The Blue Jays selected the Chicago native from the Texas Rangers with the No. 6 pick, and came away more than pleased.

“Clancy was one of the most unique guys I’ve ever met,” said former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston during an interview in March. “He was a tower of strength. Take the ball whenever you wanted him to, didn’t really care who he was playing.”

Clancy developed a reputation as a workhorse during his 12 seasons with the team. In 1982 he led MLB with 40 games started, an astonishing mark by today’s standards. Clancy then started 36 games in 1984 outpacing the rest of the American League.

“He had supreme confidence and was a guy you always wanted on your side in a battle,” said Beeston. “He would take the ball and pitch until his arm fell off.”

Here’s a look at Clancy’s contributions in relation to the rest of the hurlers chosen by Toronto in the ’76 expansion draft.

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11 years ago today, April 20, 2008, the Blue Jays released Frank Thomas.

The Jays signed Frank Thomas to a two year deal, plus vesting option for a 3rd year before the 2007 season. Frank had had a really good 2007, hitting .277/.377/.480, with 29 home runs. Then he started 2008 slowly, hitting just .167/.306/.333 in his first 72 at bats. Thomas was a notoriously slow starter for much of his career. As late as June 3rd, 2007, Frank was hitting just .217. After that he went on a roll.

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So when he started slow in 2008, most of us figured he’d get it together at some point, but manager John Gibbons (likely with the input of GM J.P. Ricciardi) decided Frank should sit on the bench. Frank did not react well.

Here is how Hugo put it at the time:

Thomas did not shake hands with his teammates after the game and spoke angrily to reporters, indicating his belief that the decision was based on money, not putting the best team on the field.

Frank figured he was being benched so that he wouldn’t reach the number of at bats needed to vest his option for the next season. He was likely right. They replaced Frank, that night, with Joe Inglett, a nice enough player but not someone that would give you a lot of production.

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Hugo put up a poll, and most BBBers didn’t think releasing Frank was a good move. We were wrong. The A’s picked up Thomas, after his release and he hit .263/.364/.387 for them in 217 at bats. Decent OBA, but he was being paid to drive in runs and his power disappeared. That would be the end of his career.

The Jays saved $10 million for 2009.

The Jays finished 86-76 that year. Matt Stairs was the primary DH, after Frank left, and he wasn’t great, hitting .250/.342/.394.

The season became a bit of a mess, we expected to contend and we didn’t. Gibbons was fired on June 30th, when we had a 35-39 record. Cito Gaston was hired and things got better. The best thing he did was put a young Adam Lind into the lineup, saving us from watching the stylings Brad Wilkerson and Kevin Mench in the outfield.

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We had a 51-37 record under Cito and we had a bit of hope for awhile but we never got closer than 7.5 games from the top of the division and finished 4th, with a 86-76 record. 2009 went worse with us finishing 75-87 (despite scoring 27 more runs than we allowed) and Ricciardi was fired.

Ex-baseball star Frank Thomas – AKA ‘The Big Hurt’ – has teamed up with the producers of a CBD pain cream.

The Major League Baseball Legend and Hall of Famer says he is no stranger to pain having endured six sports-related surgeries.

Thomas partnered with Eco Sciences to develop and release ECODERM that the company claims utilises the healing properties of CBD and other phytocannabinoids to relieve sore muscles.

Frank Thomas in his White Sox heyday
Thomas, who played for the Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays and most notably 16 years with the Chicago White Sox, tested different variations of ECODERM for more than a year.

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He said: “After years of being approached to do endorsement deals, I’m skeptical in ever putting my name on anything unless I have thoroughly tested first.

Millions of Americans suffer daily pain
“To be honest, at first I was completely turned off just by the word ‘CBD’. I have always been a clean athlete, and I associated CBD and hemp with negative connotations.

Beneficial
“But once I met with the team at Eco Sciences and learned that Hemp CBD is a clean product and that hemp extract and CBD contain so many beneficial properties, I was intrigued.”

Eco Sciences says phytocannabinoids, including CBD, contain a multitude of beneficial properties, such as anti-inflammatory and analgesic characteristics.

“So many Americans have misconceived notions about CBD,” said Sam Sugura chief executive officer of Eco Sciences.

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“We are proud to partner with a legendary athlete like Frank to help educate people on how these plant-based properties can actually help them have more productive lives.

“This product is backed by extensive research and testing, and we are excited to see it come to fruition and help people live without the ‘big hurt’ in their daily lives.”

An estimated 50 million Americans deal with chronic pain and soreness daily.

Thomas added: “Being the Big Hurt on the field isn’t the only reason why that name is so relevant.

“My sports injuries have been ongoing all my life and have made it hard to move as I got older.

“Finding Eco Sciences and using all their products for the last couple of years has changed my life.

“Together created a custom product for all my aches and pains and want to share it with the world.”

Numerous sports stars have endorsed CBD as effective non-opioid pain relief.