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Teoscar Hernandez Jersey

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Teoscar’s BABIP was down slightly (.293, from .313). with the hard contact up you would think is BABIP would be up too.

He hit LHP (.246/.341/.493) much better than RHP (.222/.287/.462). Career he has been better against RHP.

With RISP he hit .315/.390/.707, which is pretty terrific

He hit about better at home (.240/.316/.514) as on the road (.220/.296/.431).

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Teoscar was much better in the second half (.259/.346/.592) than in the first half (.204/.267/.361).

Hernandez by month:

April: .217/.291/.337 with 2 home runs in 28 games.
May: .114/.184/.200 with 1 home run in 11 games.
June: .214/.276/.443 with 4 home runs in 19 games.
July: .284/.346/.662 with 8 home runs in 22 games.
August: ..224/.337/.513 with 6 home runs in 25 games.
September: .271/.238/.571 with 5 home runs in 20 games.
He was sent to Buffalo May 16th and came back June 5th.


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He played 635 innings in CF. He had a -13.2 UZR/150. We were told how much better he was in center than left. Well, I’m not sure that is true. He didn’t make any errors in center but then he didn’t get to as many balls as your average CFer would. I thought he was a little too careful at times, giving up on catchable balls.

In left, he played 356 innings. He had a 13.3 UZR/150. Yeah, that’s a positive UZR. It might be the small sample size but it’s a lot better of a number than last year’s -13.8. I didn’t think he looked all that much better in left. He made 3 errors in left.

FanGraphs has him a 0.7 runs better than average as a base runner. That’s much better than the -1.3 from last year. He stole 6 bases, caught 3 times, so that’s about even, so he must have been good running the bases at other times.

In games he started Teoscar hit:

Conversely, it wouldn’t surprise many if Luke Maile was non-tendered by December 2nd given the effective Danny Jansen/Reese McGuire platoon, plus top thirty Jays prospects at catcher in Gabriel Moreno, Alejandro Kirk, and Riley Adams. That would save the Jays an estimated $800,000 and free up a 40-man roster spot.

Free Agents

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My colleagues have contributed some great work on who the Jays should target in free agency this offseason, so I won’t go in to too much detail here except to say that, sadly, it appears unlikely the Jays will be legitimate contenders in the Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg sweepstakes. Given the draft pick compensation (after the first round) associated with signing one of the players who received a qualifying offer, it’s also probably unlikely that Atkins will pursue free agent starters Jake Odorizzi, Zack Wheeler or Madison Bumgarner, 1B Jose Abreu or OF Marcell Ozuna.

There’s has, however, been lots of discussion around top-tier starters not tied to a QO, including Hyun-Jin Ryu (MLBTR predicts 3 years/$54mn), Dallas Keuchel (3 years/$39mn), Cole Hamels (2 years/$30mn) Julio Teheran, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles, as well 1B/OF types like Nicholas Castellanos (4 years/$58mn) and 28-year old Japanese posted player Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. There are great players available here; if Atkins can get creative, he could front load a ton of money now with the added payroll flexibility.

To illustrate why now may be the time to splurge on top of the rotation talent, note the Cubs added 30-year-old free agent Jon Lester on a 6 year/$155 million deal the December after losing 89 games in 2014. Two years later, Lester would go 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA over 32 starts (202 2/3 innings), win the NLCS MVP award, and go 3-1 over 35 2/3 innings that post season to help Chicago win its first World Series since 1908. Plus there’s no guarantee that top pitchers will be willing to sign with Toronto in the 2020-21 offseason when James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman and Jose Quintana are the best available free agent starters.

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MLBTR predicts that only one 2019-20 top 50 MLB FA will sign with Toronto this offseason: back of the rotation starter Tanner Roark for 2 years/$18 million. They see the same 2 years/$18 million being offered to Kyle Gibson and Julio Teheran, or one year deals around $8 million for veteran starters coming off injury like Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Ivan Nova and Michael Wacha.

There was an interesting MLBTR live chat with Tim Dierkes held November 5th on the top 50 free agents, with the transcript here:

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The key Blue Jays related comments were – no surprise – that Toronto is “not a top free agent destination, so they need to overpay to get guys. Like a second year for Roark, or a third for Keuchel.” In addition to saying he likes Keuchel to the Jays, Dierkes also said he “thought that if the Braves had picked up Julio Teheran’s option, the Jays would have traded for him” despite his “deteriorating profile, with so many walks and declining velocity” including a below average 89-90 mph fastball and 82-84 mph off speed stuff. Perhaps the Jays pitching coaches could get him to throw his 75 mph slow curve – with an above average spin rate – more than 6.4% of the time?

Dierkes thinks the Jays “won’t go hard” on Odorizzi, MadBum, or Wheeler. As for “low key” starting pitching targets like what the Astros previously found in Charlie Morton and Wade Miley, he likes Wood, Wacha, Brett Anderson, Martin Perez, Drew Smyly and Matt Moore, as well as Josh Lindblom who hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2017 with Pittsburgh, but has had success in the Korean Baseball Organization over the past three seasons. “Buy low” starting pitching targets include Lyles and Moore. And let’s not forget that Shapiro and Atkins may have interest in seeing if their former Indians starter Danny Salazar – whose best season in Cleveland was their last year there in 2015 – has anything left? Could the soon to be 30-year-old get an incentive-laden minor league deal, with an invite to spring training, given his injury history and only four major league innings since 2017? As for potential free agent 1B/OF targets like Castellanos and Avisail Garcia (2 years/$12mn), the Twins, White Sox and Marlins are seen in on them.

Rule 5 Draft on December 12th

A number of minor league prospects still need to be added to the 40-man roster by November 20th to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, like RHP Thomas Hatch, OF Forrest Wall, and 2B/3B Santiago Espinal. The Jays could non-tender reliever Derek Law and save an estimated $1.3 million and another roster spot, plus save another $2.5 million and roster spot by non-tendering utility IF Brandon Drury, who they could then re-sign to a minor league deal as a depth move? Or two roster spots by waiving Derek Fisher and Anthony Alford, who are both out of options?

Given 2020 will be another rebuilding year to assess players and see what’s available internally, plus the fact that the active roster expands to 26 players, will Atkins target another young arm like 26-year-old Joe Biagini in 2015 and 19-year-old Elvis Luciano in 2019? The Jays pick fifth. Remember the Cubs got former minor league starter Hector Rondon from Cleveland in the 2012 Rule 5 draft. He became their closer in 2014, with 77 saves over the next 2.5 seasons.

Jays Journal Contributor David Corcoran already took a great look at left-handed reliever options for 2020; with Tim Mayza injured and Buddy Boshers outrighted, Thomas Pannone and Anthony Kay are the Jays only current lefty options with major league experience. Assuming he won’t be chasing Giants lefty closer Will Smith who received a QO, could Atkins target a LHR in the Rule 5 draft? Or an OF like when Pat Gillick picked up George Bell from the Phillies in the 1980 Rule 5 draft, or when the Phillies drafted CF Odubel Herrera from the Rangers in 2014? We’ll know more about who mighty be available after the 40-man roster deadline for Rule 5 draft protection.


Trades have been an effective way to find aces and closers in MLB. Justin Verlander, Cole, Zack Greinke and Roberto Osuna were all acquired by Houston via trade. Detroit traded away David Price, Justin Verlander, and Rick Porcello. Tampa traded Price, Odorizzi and Chris Archer.

As we’ve already seen with Chase Anderson, Atkins is willing to use his payroll flexibility to add salary and club options via trades. Whether he’s moved in a 2020 trade deadline deal to get a better prospect than who we gave up in AA prospect Chad Spanberger, or whether this is a sign that the Jays front office is committed to upgrading their starting pitching talent, instead of signing placeholders like Jaime Garcia, Clayton Richard, Edwin Jackson and Clay Buchholz, remains to be seen. It’s likely too early in the process to trade top prospects for elite talent, but the added payroll should give the front office options to get creative in upgrading their talent.

For example, the Twins traded for two years of control of 28-year-old starter Jake Odorizzi for only 21-year-old High A SS prospect Jermaine Palacios. Odorizzi made 62 starts and pitched 323 1/3 innings at a 4.01 ERA for the Twins over the past two seasons and stands to get a rich contract this off-season. The Mets got 1.5 years of control of 28-year-old Marcus Stroman for prospects Anthony Kay and 18-year-old Simeon Woods Richardson.

Ideally, Atkins will at least ask what it might take to get a future ace like Luis Castillo from the Reds or Noah Syndergaard from the Mets when they’re ready to move prospect capital? Castillo looks like a future Cy Young winner, will only be 27 in 2020, has awesome velocity (average fastball 96-97 mph, change-up at 87 mph and slider at 86 mph), is well above average on all Baseball Savant pitch mix metrics, and had an xFIP 3.48 and SIERA 3.95 in 2019. Wouldn’t he look good on our mound as Juan Guzmán 2.0?

So what would it take to get a future ace like Luis Castillo from the Reds? Something like a package of three prospects (including consensus top 100 prospect Daz Cameron) plus catcher Jake Rogers that the Astros traded for Justin Verlander? A package of four players, including MLB top 100 prospect J.B. Bukauskas and 2018 1st round pick Seth Beer that the Astros traded for Zack Greinke? Or the package of Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and consensus top 100 prospect Shane Baz that the Pittsburgh Pirates sent to the Tampa Bay Rays for Chris Archer?

Bad Contracts

As Jays Journal Contributor Tyson Shushkewich recently wrote, a creative use of 2020 payroll flexibility might be to take on a bad contract in exchange for players with high ceiling upside? Preferably Atkins won’t be helping AL East peers by taking on a bad contract like Jacoby Ellsbury or J.A. Happ from the Yankees, or David Price from the Red Sox.

Atkins could find creative ways to use that payroll space to get prospects along with a bad contract once Strasburg, Cole and Anthony Rendon are signed? For example, if the Padres are able to sign one of Strasburg or Cole after adding Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer in the past two off-seasons, maybe they would look to move an expensive contract like the $22.5 million due annually to 28-year-old 1B/OF Wil Myers through 2022, with a $20 million club option for 2023? He has a career .327 OBP which improves on the Jays .305 team OBP in 2019, and was a finalist for a Gold Glove at 1B in 2016, with 303 games played there in 2016-17 before Eric Hosmer was signed in 2018.

In exchange for taking on his contract, could Atkins ask for a young starter like Port Hope, Ontario native Cal Quantrill, who made 18 MLB starts in 2019, and pitched 103 innings with a 5.16 ERA, but an xFIP 4.53 and SIERA 4.58 suggesting likely improvement? He features an above average 94.5 mph fastball, 85-86 mph off-speed stuff with a slider and change-up, and profiles above average like Chase Anderson on exit velocity and hard hit balls percentage.

Or maybe Atkins can just use that budget to trade for former stars coming off of injury-plagued seasons, i.e. former Gold Glover Ender Inciarte from the Braves to play CF?


The next month through the Rule 5 draft on December 12th offers a clear opportunity for Jays management to accelerate their rebuild with talent upgrades via free agency, trades, and adding a player to the 40-man roster with the 5th pick in order of selection in the Rule 5 draft. They can also wait to see how the market shapes up and look for lesser talent ahead of Opening Day next March 26th, as they’ve done the past two off-seasons. Their ~$142 million in payroll flexibility under the luxury tax threshold and additional $50-60 million salary budget ahead of the 2020 season gives them lots of ways to be creative in acquiring talent, whether it be taking on a bad contract for prospect upside, buying out the arbitration eligibility of their younger core in exchange for more free agent years, or looking for players like Chase Anderson with club options that could prove to be valuable trade chips heading in to the competitive window from 2021.

Or Atkins could continue to have his coaching staff work with what’s already here in terms of in-house 1B/DH (Rowdy Tellez, Brandon Drury, Teoscar Hernandez), OF (Anthony Alford, Derek Fisher, Billy McKinney, Socrates Brito, Jonathan Davis and Hernandez), and pitching options (Trent Thornton, Jacob Waguespack, Anthony Kay, T.J. Zeuch, Nate Pearson, Wilmer Font, Sam Gaviglio, Thomas Pannone, Jordan Romano, Justin Shafer, Jason Adam, Derek Law), and then look to make bigger upgrades after the 2020 season?

If they can spend another $50-60 million on payroll this off-season, it’s possible Atkins could get:

a 3 year extension done for closer Ken Giles, taking him through the 2023 season
one of Ryu and Keuchel, and one of Teheran, Wood or Gibson as top of the rotation starters
Castellanos or Tsutsugo as 1B/OF options
Ender Inciarte (and his former Gold Glove in CF), or a salary dump like 1B/OF Wil Myers (former Gold Glove finalist at 1B) if the Padres included a young gun like Cal Quantrill
NEXT: New and notes: Anderson, Russell Martin and more
An off-season like that would be a home run for Atkins and the front office given Strasburg and Cole are most likely pipe dreams, and Bumgarner, Wheeler, Odorizzi, Abreu, and Ozuna would all cost a draft pick after the first round. Now is the time to start upgrading the talent level of this team if the competitive window really is supposed to open in 2021 as promised.
9th: 7 games.
He hit in every spot in the order.

The Jays were 48-71 in games he started.

His longest hitting streak was 9 games. Longest on base streak 11 games.

Favorite team to face? He did well in interleague games with OPS numbers of 1.333, 1.115 and 1.472 against the Marlins (3 games), Mets (4 games) and Nationals (3). He hit .308/.308/.654 in 7 games against the Mariners.

Least favorite? He hit .063/.167/.063 in 4 games against the A’s.

The Jays were 50-61 in games he started.

His longest hitting streak was 9 games. Longest on base streak 14 games. Longest he went without a homer was 15 games.

His favorite team to face? Teoscar hit .276/.389/.690 with 4 home runs in 10 games against the Red Sox. He hit .271/.364/.646 with 5 home runs in 15 games against the Rays. Gotta like anyone hits those two teams well.

Least favorite? He had a rough time in inter-league play, hitting .154/.195/.308 in 14 games.

I’m not sold on him in center field. I think we need to do better there. I’m, as always, a Anthony Alford fan, but it seems that the team isn’t.

Teoscar is athletic enough to be a good outfielder but he turns 27 tomorrow and has played outfield since 2011 (when he was 18, in the Dominican Summer League), if he hasn’t become good in the outfield yet, I don’t see it happening now.

It is tough to give up on a guy who has that much power. He could DH, but then he’s going to have to hit better. He could play first, I guess, but that isn’t the position I’d want a guy who seems to have mental lapses far too often. First basemen are in on a lot more plays than outfielders. And he’s had 9 seasons (in MLB systems, likely more than that before) to learn outfield. I’m not sure he’d pick up first base in a month and a half of spring training.

It would be great if he could cut back on the strikeouts some. You have to be pretty good to successful if you strikeout 1 out of 3 at bats.

After his return from Buffalo Teoscar hit .248/.325/.548 with 23 home runs in 86 games. A full season like that would be pretty great, and wouldn’t care so much about how he fields.

I wonder if there is a 40 home run season in his future?

I’m still not a fan of the sunflower seeds thing.

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After the Yankees extended Aroldis Chapman’s contract on Saturday they may no longer be interested in Ken Giles, but it won’t hurt the Blue Jay reliever’s trade market.
Despite all kinds of rumours last July, the Blue Jays ended up hanging on to their closer in Ken Giles, who still has one year remaining on his current contract. With that in mind, there’s a good chance the 29-year-old will be traded sometime this winter before he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season.

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As was the case for most or even all of the Blue Jay veterans that were still on the roster in July, Ross Atkins and the rest of the front office reportedly had talks about dealing Giles this past summer. There was even a rumour that a trade was close with their division-rival Yankees, but Giles’ uncertain health likely didn’t help the two clubs work out a compensation that would work on both sides. As a result, he ended up finishing the year in Toronto and thankfully he proved that he’s healthy and should be ready to dominate again next spring.

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Will the Brewers Sign Madison Bumgarner or Zach

Assuming the Blue Jays do shop their veteran closer again, there’s a good chance that his trade market just improved on Saturday, even if the Yankees likely took themselves out of the running. The Bronx Bombers ended up extending the contract of Aroldis Chapman, who is now under contract for $48 million over the next three seasons. Instead of exercising an opt-out on the last two years and 30 million of his deal, the Yankees elected to give him an extra year and more money. That obviously was enough to make Chapman happy enough to stay.

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Who will close for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020 if the team decides to unload current closer Ken Giles during the offseason?
The Blue Jays were shopping Ken Giles before the trade deadline, however, his health prevented a deal from being consummated. The 29-year old is projected to earn $8.4 million this season and could be dangled as trade bait as the Blue Jays attempt to add starting pitching.

Giles had an impressive 2019 campaign going 2-3 with a 1.87 earned run average while compiling 23 saves. The closer struck out 83 hitters in 53 innings of work while accumulating a 2.4 WAR.

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Will the Brewers Sign Madison Bumgarner or Zach

So who will close for the Blue Jays if Giles is dealt?

Jordan Romano
Romano was plucked from the organization via the Rule 5 draft but returned to the Blue Jays at the end of March. The Canadian had an inflated earned run average of 7.63 in 17 games at the major league level last season but fanned 21 in 15.1 innings of work.

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Romano has closer stuff and seems to have the necessary makeup to pitch late into ball games.

Sean Reid-Foley
Reid-Foley is an intriguing arm who has struggled the last couple of seasons pitching in a rotation. SRF also has closer stuff and could be a viable candidate if he can harness his emotions on the bump.

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The 24-year old sports a 4.71 earned run average in 16 games with the big club over the past two seasons.

Ryan Tepera
Tepera battled injuries for much of last season but does have ten career saves to his name. The 31-year-old has been relied upon heavily in past seasons making 68 and 73 appearances respectively in 2018-17.

Tepera is projected to earn $1.6 million next season and is an affordable option for backend duties.

Wilmer Font
The 29-year old proved to be a valuable commodity for manager Charlie Montoyo after being purchased from the Mets in late July. Font was utilized as an opener 14 times in 2019 and fanned 53 in 39.1 innings of work.

He could be definitely in the closer conversation and will be an important part of the bullpen next season.

NEXT: Blue Jays: Who has impressed in Arizona Fall League play?
Who do you think will get the nod as the next closer should the opportunity present itself in 2020? Have your say in the comments below.

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As for the Blue Jays, Chapman being removed from a potential free agent market as a closing option should help bring back a better return for Giles, should they end up trading him. Outside of a few less than premium options like Will Smith, Sergio Romo, and Daniel Hudson, there really won’t be a lot of closer’s experience on the free agent market this winter. There are guys like Dellin Betances, or Steve Cishek who could arguably do the job, but Giles would easily be viewed as a better option, even if he would have to be acquired through a trade.

That is, assuming there is a team out there willing to fork over the type of trade package that Atkins and company are looking for, and it shouldn’t be a small ask, even with just one year remaining on his contract. He can be a real difference maker, finishing last season with a 1.87 ERA, a 1.000 WHIP and 83 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched, also collecting 23 saves. Had it not been for some shaky health, including around the time of the trade deadline, those numbers could have been even better.

The Yankees likely won’t be in the market for his services, but one would think there will be plenty of suitors. Off the top of my head I would guess that teams like the Braves, Mets, Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox, and more could have a need, and that’s far from an incomplete list. Even those teams that already have a solid closer could be talked into bolstering their bullpen at the right price, especially given the way teams have built power bullpens in recent years.

There is a good argument for hanging on to an elite closing option like Giles for the future in Toronto, but with just one year left on his current deal, it’s certainly understandable that the front office would be shopping him right now. When asked whether they think he’ll be traded this off-season, pretty much all of the Sportsnet staff acknowledged that he’ll likely be dealt this winter, so it’s something we should brace ourselves for, even if it may not be a popular decision.

NEXT: Blue Jays begin their roster tinkering
The key will be getting the right return to help this team in the not so distant future, as the rebuilding process is already starting to come together around a young core that includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and more. Having Chapman off the market will certainly help his value, and if they can add another piece to the future of this team, then so be it.

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Next week will be the 16-year anniversary of the deal that brought Shannon Stewart to the Minnesota Twins. That move always comes back to me when the Twins are in a position to add around the trade deadline. Let’s take a look back at that trade, share some memories and reflect on some of the best midseason additions in Twins history.

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Image courtesy of Tom Froemming (not the actual Shannon Stewart, but a bobblehead doll made in his likeness)
It was the final day of the 2003 All-Star break. The defending American League Central champion Twins had limped out to a 44-49 record and were 7.5 games back in the division, sitting in third place.

The front office/ownership hadn’t made any big moves the previous two seasons despite the team being competitive, so there seemed to be little reason to expect any motivation to build up the roster. There was still just as much discussion about the potential for contraction as there was contention during this time.

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But prior to the start of the second half, Terry Ryan struck a deal. The Twins acquired Shannon Stewart from the Toronto Blue Jays to serve as the team’s leadoff hitter. July 16, 2003 ended up being a momentous turning point for not only that season, but in some ways you could argue for the entire organization/future of the Twins.

Shannon Stewart turns 45 today.

Shannon was drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round of 1992 amateur draft, the 19th pick overall, out of Miami Southridge High School. He was a compensation pick for the Dodgers signing free agent Tom Candiotti. He rose quickly thru the Jays farm system and was a September call-up in 1995 and 1996. In 1997 Shannon was called up in mid-August and was given the full time CF job for the rest of the season after Otis Nixon was traded to the Dodgers.

In 1998 Stewart spent the whole season with the Jays. He played 44 games in CF and 110 games in LF. He had plenty of range to play in center but didn’t have the arm strength. He mostly hit lead off but did bat some in the 2 and 3 spot in the order. He had a really good season batting .279/.377/.417, hit 12 home runs, stole 51 bases (third in the AL), scored 90 runs and drove in 55. He was also 4th in the league in being hit by pitch with 15. He was just the 5th player in team history to steal 50 bases in a season.

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1999 Stewart played 145 games and again hit very well .304/.371/.411, he scored 102 runs, drove in 67 and stole 37 bases, 4th in the AL. An often injured player, this season he hurt an ankle in September and missed 10 games.

In 2000 Shannon had his best season with the bat setting his career high in batting average (.318), slugging (.518), runs (107) and homers (21). He also had 43 doubles, 69 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He started the season off right by hitting a leadoff home run in the first game of the year. He hit .381 when leading off the game that year with 5 homers. But again he missed playing time being on the DL, playing in 136 games.

Stewart set his career high for games played (155), at bats (640) and hits (202) in 2001. He had another great season with the bat hitting .316/.371/.463 and scored 103 runs and received an MVP vote. He came in 8th in the AL in batting average, 3rd in hits and doubles. And was only the 4th player in team history to get 200 hits.

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In 2002 Stewart had another very good season batting over .300 (.303) for the 4th season in a row and scored over 100 runs (103). Again a terrific leadoff hitter getting on base at a .371 rate, though he wasn’t the base stealer he had been in the past, stealing only 14 bases. He hit third in a handful of game as well. He did miss time on the DL again with hamstring troubles. He played left field mostly though he DHed 38 times.

His 2003 season started well, but on July 16 the Jays traded him to the Minnesota Twins for Bobby Kielty. Trading him wasn’t a bad idea; he was 29 and did have injury issues and he did everything well but didn’t do anything very well, players like that tend not to age well. I thought, at the time, we could have done better than Bobby Kielty in exchange for him, but then we flipped Kielty for Ted Lilly, so it turned out ok.

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The Twins got a couple of good seasons out of him but he lost more time to injury and his numbers declined quickly, but he did get into the post season, in 2003 and 2004. From the Twins he went to Oakland and had an ok season there, then the Jays picked him up for the 2008 season. The less said about that the better, though I still don’t understand what they thought they were getting, the man hadn’t slugged .400 since 2004 and the only position he could play was left field, where a .400 SA wasn’t going to cut it.

Shannon had a good career, 14 seasons, 1653 hits, 853 runs and a .297 average. Without the injuries his career could have been that much better but such is life.

Another thing that could have helped his career out would have been if the Jays had a different manager. Cito Gaston, back in those days, didn’t like to go with young players and Stewart is one of several that lost a season or two at the start of his career. In 1996 and 1997 the Jays had an aging Otis Nixon in center field. Nixon wasn’t a bad player but he wasn’t the sort that should have kept Shannon Stewart out of the lineup. In fairness to Cito the team was in ‘win now’ mode during his first stint with the team.

When you search for pictures of the man, you will find some interesting ones, there is a ‘model’ named Shannon Stewart. She looks somewhat different from our Stewart.

Stewart hit .322/.384/470 (.854 OPS) for the Twins as the team went 46-23 in the second half. That season-ending surge also saw the team post an insane 24-9 record over its final 33 games. There was an 11-game winning streak included in that stretch. The Twins ended up charging back to win the division by four games. For his efforts, Stewart finished fourth in AL MVP voting.

Things turned out about as good as could have been imagined, but that was actually somewhat of a controversial trade at the time that it happened. The player Ryan sent to Toronto had actually been performing basically as well as Stewart, was younger and had many more years of team control.

At the time of the move, Bobby Kielty was hitting .252/.370/.420 (.790 OPS) for the Twins while Stewart was posting a .294/.347/.449 (.796 OPS) batting line for the Blue Jays. It was essentially a challenge trade, a very gutsy move.

After accounting for a 125 wRC+ over his time with the Twins, Kielty never came even close to that production elsewhere. He posted a 92 wRC+ over 367 career games from that moment forward. Stewart ended up signing a three-year deal to remain with the Twins the following offseason.

Stewart was excellent when healthy once again in 2004, helping the Twins to yet another AL Central crown. His first Opening Day in Minnesota was a memorable one, as he delivered a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th inning, sending the Metrodome into a frenzy.

Stewart’s my personal all-time favorite among Twins midseason additions. I’d love to hear your memories from that time, but I’m also interested in your own personal favorites from over the years. A certain hitter on one of the World Series champion teams certainly sticks out, if anyone else cares to share some memories from 1987.

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Troy Tulowitzki turns 35 today. I’d have guessed he was older.

You’ll remember, we traded for Tulo back at the trade deadline in 2015. Jose Reyes had fallen out of favor (he says putting it as nicely as he can) and the Jays worked out a big trade to get rid of him.

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It worked out well at the time, We made the playoffs that year and the next. And none of the prospects we sent to Colorado have turned into anything yet.

The last 2017 and 2018 didn’t go as well. He’s was injured most of the time, missed all of 2018.

As a Jay he hit .250/.313/.414 in 238 games, good numbers if he was playing good defense. And if we weren’t paying $20 million a season for it.

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We released him January 4th of this year. and he was signed by the Yankees. When he hit a spring training home run off Marcus Stroman, my Twitter was full of people wondering how we could have released him. I said wait. He played 5 games for the Yankees, went on the IL and then, when he was healthy again, the Yankees told him to stay home. He has since announced his retirement.

I think his time in Toronto would have gone a lot better if it wasn’t for the bad ankle injury suffered trying to beat out a ground ball, when he stepped on the side of C.J. Cron’s foot on the bag, on July 28, 2017. It was one of the most painful looking injuries I’ve ever seen on the baseball field. Between that and bone spurs, the rest of 2017 and all of 2018.

He played 10 seasons for the Rockies. Hit .299/.371/.513 with 188 home runs in 1048 games. I was at the games in Denver when he played there for the first time after the trade for the Jays. It was nice to see the love the fans had for him.

If he could have a couple of decent, injury free seasons, he would easily make it into the baseball Hall of Fame.

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Danny Ainge, 1979-81
Wait, what sport is this again? The former NBA shooting guard and current Celtics president of basketball operations started his professional athletic career in baseball. Ainge spent parts of three seasons in Toronto and hit .220/.264/.269 while playing second and third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions. Ainge stepped away from baseball at age 22 to focus on basketball, and he went on to make one NBA All-Star team and win two championships. He now runs the Celtics’ front office and won an NBA title in that capacity as well.

Phil Niekro, 1987
There are seven players in the Hall of Fame who wore a Blue Jays cap at some point during their careers. A lot of fans would be able to name six — Jack Morris, Frank Thomas, Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson — but even the die-hard fans would struggle to get Niekro. The accomplished knuckleballer made three starts for the Blue Jays in 1987 at the age of 48. Niekro finished his career after that season with 318 wins and a 3.35 ERA, but those Toronto days have long since been forgotten.

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Jose Canseco, 1998
Has anyone ever hit 40 home runs for the Blue Jays and made less of an impact? Considering there are only six other names this list — Carlos Delgado, Jose Bautista, Shawn Green, Edwin Encarnacion, George Bell and Tony Bautista — it might be a toss-up between Canseco and Tony Bautista. Some Toronto fans will remember that Canseco hit 46 home runs in 1998, but the rest of Major League Baseball probably doesn’t. Canseco spent just the one year in Toronto and later had stops with the Rays, Yankees and White Sox before retiring in 2001 with 462 career homers.

Watching him make a throw on the run, well, it was a thing of beauty.

Happy Birthday Troy. I hope it is a good one.

It is also Lourdes Gurriel Jr’s 26th birthday.

Back in November of 2016, we signed Lourdes to a 7-year, $22 million contract as a free agent coming out of Cuba.

He didn’t have a great 2017 season, hitting .229/.268/.339 in 64 games, split between Dunedin and New Hampshire. I don’t know how much of that you can put off on homesickness.

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2018 went better. He hit .301/.330/.466 in 51 games split between New Hampshire and Buffalo.

He got a callup April 20, played in 20 games before being sent back down in the second week of May. He hit .206/.229/.309, with 2 home runs.

He came back up for a game in June. Then up for good in July. He had a great run in July, hitting .423/.438/.648 with 4 home runs in 17 games. He had a streak of 11 multi-hit games, before hurting his knee trying to avoid a tag, and missed 3 weeks.

He missed about half this season with injuries. When he did play he hit .277/.327/.541 with 20 home runs in 84 games. At that rate, if he could have played the full season, he could have been close to 40 home runs

I’m hoping next year we get to see him play a full season.

Happy Birthday Lourdes.

There are a couple of former Jays with birthdays:

Francisco Cabrera turns 53 today. We signed Francisco as an amateur free agent, back in 1985. He made it to the Jays in 1989, played 7 games, hit .167/.231/.250. And was traded to the Braves in August with Tony Castillo for Jim Acker.
Cabrera played 193 games over 5 seasons with the Braves, hitting .257/.296/.460. He played in the 1992 World Series against us, getting a good view of the Blue Jays first World Series win.

He, famously, had the game winning hit in the 1992 NLCS against the Pirates. In the 9th inning of game 7 he hit a 2-run single scoring David Justice and Sid Bream. Here is the play:

Don Gordon turns 60.
Don was a right-handed pitcher. He made 19 relief appearances in 1986 and 87, with a 6.06 ERA. He was traded to Cleveland with Darryl Landrum for old knuckleball pitcher Phil Niekro. Niekro was 48 at the time. He made 3 starts for us, and then was released.

Happy birthday Francisco and Don.

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George Bell turns 60 today.

George Bell was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. His brother Juan Bell also made the majors as a utility infielder for 7 seasons for several different teams. He has 2 other brothers that played professional baseball. George was signed as an amateur free agent by the Phillies in 1978. The Jays picked him up in the 1980 rule 5 draft. It must have been one of the best rule 5 pickups ever.

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Rule 5 draft pickups have to spend the season on the major league roster or they get offered back to the team that they were drafted from, so George played with the Jays in the strike shortened 1981 season. He didn’t do terrible, though a little over-matched at the major league level; he got into 60 games and hit .233/.256/.350. But somehow, he got a couple of Rookie of the Year votes. Yankee Dave Righetti won it that season.

George felt he had earned a spot on the Jays the next season, but the Jays didn’t and sent him off to Syracuse. He had a pretty tough year, he contacted mononucleosis in April and then wrecked his left knee in June. When he got back from that he had his jaw broken by a pitch. Getting hit by that pitch might explain why he was overly sensitive to being hit by pitches; he was ejected a number of times for charging the mound. He started 1983 in the minors again but was called up for good in July of that season.

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In 1984 Bell became a full timer with us. He was part of a pretty complicated platoon system Bobby Cox used in the outfield, against left-handed pitchers Bell would play left field and Jesse Barfield would play right, against right-handers Bell would play right field and Davey Collins would play left. As a young player Bell had a decent arm and ok range as an outfielder, course Barfield had a better arm and Collins a terrible arm. George played 159 games, hit .292/.326/.498, with 39 doubles and 26 homers, 87 RBI and 11 steals. He received some MVP votes. He was 8th in the AL in total bases and 3rd in doubles.

After the season Dave Collins was traded to Oakland to allow Bell, Moesby and Barfield all to play full time and the best outfield in Jays history was born, they played together until Barfield was traded early in the 1989 season. They were a great unit, all three were terrific offensive players, all three had good to great arms. Moesby and Barfield were good defensive players, Bell, far less so, he didn’t have much range as he aged as his knees suffered from playing on the hard artificial surface in Toronto. He also made too many errors

Bell had another very good season in 1985 hitting .275/.327/.479, 28 homers, 95 RBI and 21 stolen bases, the most in his career. Bell won the Silver Slugger award for batting and came in 8th in MVP voting, one spot behind Jesse Barfield. Don Mattingly won it that season. Jays made the post season for the first time that year, likely many remember Bell catching the last out in the game that clinched the AL East title and fell to his knees. Bell did ok in the 7-game series hitting .321, 9 hit, 3 doubles, no homers, but the Jays lost to the Royals.

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Bell’s bat improved a little again in 1986, he hit .309/.349/.532, had 31 homers, 108 RBI, 101 runs, won the Silver Slugger award again and this time came in 4th in the MVP voting, this time one spot above Barfield in the voting. Our favorite player Roger Clemens won that year.

1987 was the big season for Bell. He hit .308/.352/.605, had 47 home runs, 134 RBI and 111 runs. He again won the Silver Slugger award and made the All-Star team for the first time. And, of course, he won the MVP award, just beating out the Tigers Alan Trammell, the first league MVP from a Canadian team. The vote was a little controversial because that was the less than fun year that the Jays fell into a bad slump at the end of the year, losing their last 8 games and the Tigers past them by at the finish to win the AL East. Those last 8 games were a train wreck; Bell hit just .111 over them, but then the only Jay to hit well over that period was Lloyd Moesby.

The next season was an interesting year for Bell and the Jays. Jimy Williams became manager and he decided that Bell would DH and top prospect Sil Campusano would play in the outfield. Only two things went wrong with the plan. One, Bell didn’t want to DH and Bell wasn’t one to be unhappy quietly and two, Sil Campausano was terrible. Williams’ time as manager didn’t last long and it wasn’t happy at least partly because of George. Bell’s numbers fell off a lot that year despite becoming the first major leaguer to hit 3 home runs on opening day.

1989 saw some bounce back in Bell’s offensive numbers, he hit .297/.330/.458 with 18 homers, 41 doubles, and 104 RBI. He came in 4th in MVP voting in a very tight 4-way race for the award. Robin Yount won the award with 256 vote points, Bell in 4th had 205 points. The Jays made the playoffs again that year, but Bell didn’t do well in our 5 game series loss to the A’s hitting just .200 with one home run.

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1990 was his last season with the Jays and it wasn’t very good, he hit .265/.303/.422 with 21 homers and 86 RBI. After the season he signed with the Cubs as a free agent, had one good season there and then was traded to the White Sox for Sammy Sosa. The Cubs won that trade. George played for 2 seasons with the White Sox and was released after the 1993 season after making some nasty remarks about Sox manager Gene Lamont when Lamont replaced him in the playoff lineup with Bo Jackson.

The Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to a 5-year, $82 million contract. I was on holiday at the time, but I remember being surprised that we spent that much money. It seemed out of character for the team. At the time we were pretty happy with the trade:

Seven Year Ago:

With the unveiling of the new Blue Jay uniform, Minor Leaguer took a look at the franchise history of uniforms and logos. Part two came along a the next day.

Also a year ago, Marc Hulet suggested Casey Janssen ‘Could Be the Key Man in the 2012 Bullpen’. Turns out he was right.

Eight Years Ago:

The Jays traded for Rajai Davis, sending Trystan Magnuson and Daniel Farquhar to Oakland. Both Magnuson and Farquhar have made it back into the Jays system, at one point. It turned out to be a pretty decent

Ten Years Ago:

Hugo and some guy with the unusual name of Rincewind talk about the problem spots that Jays needed to fix before the 2009 season.

Also ten years ago, Hugo talked about who the Jays should pick up to fill the shortstop position. J.J. Hardy would have been a heck of a pickup. I mostly point it out for the headline, possibly the longest headline in BBB history.

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Eleven Years Ago:

Actually, eleven years ago tomorrow, but close enough, J.P. Ricciardi traded Kristian Bell (gone to the Good Place?) and Graham Godfrey to the A’s for Marco Scutaro.

Thirty One Years Ago:

Long before Bluebird Banter, back in 1987, George Bell became the first Blue Jay to win the AL MVP award for his .308/.352/.605 seasons, with 47 home runs and a league leading 134 RBI. Bell had finished 19th, 8th and 4th in the voting the 3 previous years, and would finish 4th in 1989. And 20th in 1992 with the White Sox.

He likely wouldn’t win the award with today’s voters. He finished 10th among AL hitters with a 5.0 bWAR. Even if you take just offensive bWAR, Bell was still 10th in the AL. Wade Boggs had a 8.3 bWAR and Alan Trammell an 8.2. Boggs hit .363/.461/.588 with 24 home runs and 105 walks. Trammell .343/.402/.551 with 28 home runs, playing a good defense at short.

But Bell had all those RBI.

Bell wasn’t so terrible defensively, at that point in his career. His knees would play the price for playing on the carpet covered cement in Skydome and his defense would suffer from it.

Bell had a good 12-year career, finishing with 265 homers, 1002 RBI, .278 BA. He was a free swinger, didn’t walk much and his defense was best described as terrible. His arm was underrated, he had more outfield assists from 1984-1987 than any players other than Barfield and Glenn Wilson. He wasn’t a terrible outfielder when he came up to the big leagues but playing on artificial turf wrecked his knees and he lost his speed, costing him range. Of course, it didn’t help that he considered it an insult to his manhood when they wanted him to move to DH.

But he could rake. He held the Jays single season record for home runs with 47 until Jose Bautista his 54 in 2010. Gene Mauch who was manager of the Angels called him “the intimidating hitter in baseball”. He was your basic first pitch fastball hitter, if he could reach the first pitch, he’d hit it and he was good at it.

Bill James had him as the 62nd best left fielder of all time in his New Historical Abstract, likely he has dropped a few spots since then. Rob Neyer in his Big Book of Baseball Lineups has him as our best left fielder ever. And he is up on the Roger Center’s Level of Excellence.

He also had, how to put it, a bit of a temper. Likely most of you remember him taking a flying kick at pitcher Bruce Kison after Kison hit him with a pitch. He was ejected from 13 games in his career. He didn’t get along with the media or with managers. And there was the time he ‘invited’ Canadian fans to “kiss his Dominican ass”. Likely some of his troubles with umpires, opponents and almost everyone else, had to do with the difference between the Dominican culture and ours, but most of it was because he was a hot head. Likely his career would have been longer if he hadn’t had such a bad reputation. But from everything I’ve read he was a great teammate, great friend.

Bell helped with the Dominican’s World Baseball Classic team and apparently has become a good golfer. He is married with four sons.

Bell’s place on our all-time leader’s lists:

WAR among position players: 12th (21.3).

Offensive WAR: 8th (22.5).

Slugging average: 7th (.486).

Games Played: 7th (1181).

Home runs: 6th (202).

RBI: 4th (740).

Happy Birthday George. I hope life is good.

Original Blue Jay lefty pitcher Jerry Garvin turns 63 today.

He was our 4th pick in the 1976 expansion draft, taken from the Minnesota Twins.

Jerry started our 3rd game (and our 7th and ….). He was a rookie in 1977. His first start he went 8 innings in a 3-1 win over the White Sox. He allowed 5 hits, 4 walks with 2 strikeouts. Pete Vuckovich got the save. Canadian Dave McKay drove in 2 runs and Gary Woods drove in the other.

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The White Sox begin a weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Guaranteed Rate Field. Both teams are entering the series with records below .500.
While the White Sox have announced their three pitchers for the weekend series, the Blue Jays have not. Only Marcus Stroman is scheduled to pitch on Friday night.

The Sox rotation includes Reynaldo Lopez on Friday, Lucas Giolito on Saturday, and Carlos Rodon on Sunday.

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Giants: Could Eric Thames address the need for more

According to the Blue Jays website on, most of their pitching rotation is on the DL. This leaves only three regular starters including Stroman, Sam Gaviglio, and Ryan Borucki. That third starter, Borucki, is the one who has been compared to a young Mark Buehrle. And, he might get to start against his favorite team on Sunday at his favorite ballpark on the South Side of Chicago.

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Growing up a Sox fan
Borucki is a 24-year-old left-handed pitcher from Mundelein High School. The Blue Jays drafted him in 2012 and he made his MLB debut on June 26 of this year against the Astros. He has also pitched against the Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, and Tigers. Despite facing some of the best offenses in the game, Borucki has an impressive ERA of 2.79.

White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle was a frontline starting pitcher for 15 of the 16 years he pitched in the Majors, posting double-digit victories and at least 30 starts each season from 2001 to 2015. He came up 1 1/3 innings short in 2015 of producing his 15th-straight year with at least 200 innings pitched.

Yet during that amazing run of excellence — with five All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves and 214 victories — Buehrle was not the guy anyone thought was capable of throwing a no-hitter, which he did, or a perfect game, which he also did. And the perfecto happened 10 years ago on July 23, 2009.

“I can’t believe that happened to me,” Buehrle recalls. “I’m not a guy who should be throwing perfect games, with not striking guys out, not hard throwing. Just same thing with the no-hitter. I said I would never throw a perfect game, or a no-hitter, and I ended up doing both of them. So, it was, ‘No way. That just didn’t happen.’”

You can be forgiven then, for not remembering this perfect game, one of only 23 such games thrown in the great history of Major League Baseball. In fact, he doesn’t remember it much, either.

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“A lot of times someone will say, ‘Hey, Happy Anniversary’ and I’m like, ‘It’s not my anniversary, dude,’” Buehrle said. “I wouldn’t have even told you on that date of the perfect game or no-hitter, and I wouldn’t have told you I knew it was six or 10 or 15 years. I don’t pay attention.”

The White Sox lineup on that Thursday afternoon series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays featured Josh Fields at first base, Jayson Nix at second, Paul Konerko at designated hitter and Scott Podsednik in center. One thing Buehrle did recall about the game was the fine defensive work by third baseman Joe Crede. Only it was rookie Gordon Beckham manning the hot corner that day.

“See, I don’t even remember,” Buehrle joked.

It is the three outs of the ninth inning that tell the whole story, each in its own way, for those who remember it. Dewayne Wise made the catch of his life. Ramon Castro, catching Buehrle for the first time, called the game of his life. And shortstop Alexei Ramirez nervously recorded the final out on a gimpy ankle.

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Buehrle’s ninth inning
Buehrle’s ninth inning
Jul. 23rd, 2009
Catch of his life

There were only a few tricky plays among the 27 outs recorded by Buehrle, including a hard-hit ball from Melvin Upton, now B.J. Upton, to Nix on the very first pitch of the contest. But the play everyone remembers is the catch made by Wise to rob Gabe Kapler, leading off the ninth, of a home run. Quite simply, the catch saved the perfect game, not to mention the no-hitter and shutout.

“Some people don’t remember that Wise wasn’t in that game, and then he was the guy who made that great catch and the guy who saved the game for Buehrle,” said Jose Contreras, a fellow member of the White Sox rotation in ’09. “That ball was over the fence. And he caught it. That was a very special moment.”

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But, that’s not what makes this kid worthy of being discussed on a site dedicated to White Sox fans.

This is: Borucki loves the White Sox and his favorite player is Mark Buehrle. He loves Buehrle so much that he even wears #56. So, if Borucki gets to pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field, it will be quite an event for him.

Inspiring a young pitcher
In a radio conversation on MLB Network Radio, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that there are some similarities between the two pitchers. But, it’s not their size. Buehrle was a big guy at 6’2 and 240 pounds. Borucki is tall and lanky at 6’4 and 175 pounds (Chris Sale is 6’6, 180 pounds).

Where they are similar is in the way that they speed through games. In an article by John Lott with The Athletic, Borucki was quoted as saying about Buehrle:

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“For some reason, I swear, every time I went to a White Sox game, he was pitching. I hated it because I’d want to be at the game for three or four hours and he’d get done in like two hours. I’d say, ‘Dad, can we get a game without Buehrle pitching?’”

Borucki does work quickly. In his debut, the game lasted 2:42. His other games lasted 2:44, 2:51, 3:43, and 2:30. According to Baseball Reference, in 2018, the average baseball game is 3:05. Borucki’s only long game was against the Red Sox where he pitched three innings and gave up seven runs. But, the Jays did end up winning 13-7. When Borucki goes six or more innings, he keeps the games quick, just like Buehrle did.

Their rookie season numbers are close. In 2000, Buehrle finished with an ERA of 4.21 and a WHIP of 1.442 in 51.1 innings. To date, Borucki has 29 innings under his belt with an ERA of 2.79 and a WHIP of 1.482.

NEXT: What White Sox player will be traded next?
If he does get to pitch against his favorite team, fans might get to see some that Buehrle inspiration. Of course, the game is different than when Buehrle enjoyed a World Series win in 2005, but watch Borucki’s pitching style, changeup, and attitude on the mound. It might bring a few fans back.

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Dave Collins turns 67 today. We don’t have a picture of him in a Jays jersey, unfortunately.

Dave (they called him Davey a lot back then, I think if I was a Dave I’d punch anyone who called me Davey) was with the Blue Jays for 2 seasons of a 16-yeah MLB career.

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How we ended up with him was a pretty interesting story. Collins came up with the Angers, played a couple of seasons there, played for the Mariners for a year and then played four seasons for the Reds. He became a pretty interesting player there. No power, but he got on base well and he had speed. In the strike shortened 1981 season he hit .272/.355/.381 with 26 steals in 95 games (a bit of a down year for him). In the off-season after that year, Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner decided the way to win was with speed. Power hitters were out, and base stealers were in.

Being the boss, he got his way and the Yankees signed Collins to 3-year, $2.5 million contract, which was a fair bit of money back then. Pinstripe Alley picked it as the Yankees’ fifth worst free agent contact in team history. Here is some of what they said:

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After the Yankees lost the 1981 World Series to the Dodgers, George Steinbrenner decided that the team’s offense was focused on power a bit much and instead needed to develop their small ball game. Yes fans, it was the accursed #TooManyDamnHomers trend before Twitter co-founder Evan Williams was even 10 years old. Reggie Jackson’s time with the Yankees came to an end, and in came, among others, former Reds speedster Dave Collins. Following a few seasons of promise with the Angels and Mariners, the 29-year-old outfielder made a name for himself in 1980, when he stole 79 bases for Cincinnati.

Even though he slipped to 26 steals in 95 games for the Reds in ‘81 and the Yankees didn’t really have a definite position for him, Steinbrenner made sure that GM Bill Bergesch added Collins to his ‘82 “Bronx Burners” squad. It was bizarre from the get-go, with the Big Stein reorganizing spring training drills to focus on speed and just generally causing all sorts of idiocy. Turns out, the big plan was a failure! (But please, go on about the “if the Boss was alive” nonsense.) The Yankees’ powerful pennant-winning offense from ‘81 slipped to mediocre in ‘82, and they ended the year under .500. Collins only hit .253/.315/.330 with an 80 OPS+ and -0.7 WAR in 111 games, which were confusingly split among four positions, and he stole just 13 bases in 21 attempts.

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I don’t think George ever heard of building the team to suit your park.

Not surprisingly, the Yankees had a bad season and George decided that speed might not have been the way to build a winner.

TORONTO — It was the year of the rookie for the Blue Jays in 2019 as the club set the foundation for what it hopes is a return to playoff contention in the coming seasons.

For an organization that’s developed far more pitchers than position players in recent years, it was a refreshing change for Blue Jays fans to see a lineup stacked with talented young bats, led by the MLB bloodline trio of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.

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The Blue Jays led baseball in rookie games played, hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, walks and the list goes on. Along the way, they also became the first team in Major League history to have six rookies hit 10 or more home runs in a single season.

Here is a look back at 43 years of Blue Jays rookies, ranking the best seasons in the organization’s history.

10) 1B Fred McGriff in 1987 — .247 / .376 / .505 (20 HR, 43 RBIs)
McGriff’s lack of defensive value as a first baseman ranks him behind some more recent rookies when it comes to Wins Above Replacement, but his 1987 season stands as one of the most impressive offensive performances on the list. The Crime Dog’s 20 home runs over 107 games set him up for seven consecutive seasons of 30-plus homers, during which time he was dealt from the Blue Jays to the Padres with Tony Fernandez for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter, a move that set the stage for Toronto’s back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993. McGriff ended his 19-year MLB career with 493 home runs.

9) SS Bo Bichette in 2019 — .311 / .358 / .571 (11 HR, 21 RBIs)
Bichette’s rookie season is a case study on valuing a partial season of great play versus a full season of decent play. The 21-year-old shortstop only appeared in 46 games in 2019, but his .930 OPS and endless stream of extra-base hits made him the story of the season for the Blue Jays. From Clayton Kershaw to middle relievers, Bichette hit everyone, and he hit them hard. His 1.7 WAR (FanGraphs) over such a short span was a burst that the Blue Jays have been missing since their playoff runs.

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After the season Collins was shipped to the Blue Jays along with Fred McGriff, Mike Morgan and cash for Tom Dodd and Dale Murray. Murray was an averageish middle reliever. Dodd played in 8 MLB games, none of them with the Yankees.

We got a player who should be in the Hall of Fame in McGriff. He spent 5 seasons with the Jays hitting .278/.389/.530 with 125 home runs and then was part of the trade that brought us Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter.

Morgan had a disappointing 1983 season and was lost to the Mariners in the Rule 5 draft after the season. He’d go on to have a pretty good MLB career, with 4.23 ERA in 597 games, 411 starts.

And Collins played 2 seasons with the Jays.

In 1983 he hit .271/.343/.328 with 31 steals in 118 games.

He had a better year in 1984, hitting .308/.366/.444 with 60 steals and 15 triples. The 60 steals is still a team record. The 15 triples is the second most ever for a Blue Jay, Tony Fernandez had 17 in 1990.

In 1884, he was part of a pretty complicated platoon in the outfield. Collins, a switch-hitter would play left against RHP, pushing George Bell to right field, Willie Aikens and Jesse Barfield to the bench. Against lefties, Collins would sit, Bell would play left, Barfield right and Cliff Johnson would DH. As the season went on Barfield got more playing time.

But with Bell, Barfield and Moesby being younger and much better players, the Jays traded Collins to the A’s, along with Alfredo Griffin, for closer Bill Caudill, who had one good season with us, 2.99 ERA and 14 saves in 1985 and one awful season, 2 saves and a 6.19 ERA before being released in April 1987..

Collins would go from the A’s to the Tigers, Reds and Cardinals before his career ended in 1990. He’s coached in the MLB and the minors since and has also coached college and high school ball.

Career he hit .272/.338/.351 with 395 steals (91 of them with the Jays, good for 10th on our all-time list, one ahead of Vernon Wells) in 1701 games, mostly in left field, but he also played right, center and some first base.

Happy Birthday Dave.

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Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Raul Mondesi was sentenced to eight years in prison on corruption charges.
Every baseball player eventually needs to find something to do once their career comes to an end. Some go into coaching, others go into business, or just sit back and enjoy retirement. For former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Raul Mondesi, the call of politics was far too strong.

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As it turned out, the call of money and grift was also irresistible for Mondesi. The former Dodgers outfielder, and mayor of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic, has been sentenced to eight years in prison and fined the equivalent of $1.19 million.

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BREAKING NEWS: Former National League Rookie of The Year Raul Mondesi was convicted on charges on corruption, has been sentenced to 8 years of prison time and forced to pay a fine of 60 million pesos. …#ZDigital #[email protected] @ZDeportes

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Dave Martinez is now the skipper of the Washington Nationals, but as a player he made a brief stop as a Blue Jay back in 2000.
We’re down to the final two teams for the 2019 season, and the World Series has the Houston Astros pitted against the Washington Nationals.

The Astros have been there before, but for the Nationals, playing in the fall classic is something this group has been just shy of for a few years now. For guys like Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Ryan Zimmerman, it’s the payoff they’ve been working to achieve for years.

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Behind the bench if a relatively new skipper for the Nationals, but not exactly someone who is unfamiliar with the world of Major League Baseball. Dave Martinez has helped push the Nationals from several early playoff exits into a team that is just three wins away from a World Series championship. And since there isn’t much going on in the world of the Blue Jays right now, I thought it might be fun to look back at his brief time spent as a player in Toronto.

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It was back in 2000 when Dave Martinez joined the Blue Jays for 47 games, joining a team put together by then-GM, Gord Ash, featuring guys like Carlos Delgado, Raul Mondesi, Tony Batista, David Wells, and many more. There were hopes that they could make a push for a playoff spot that season, which I assume is why they acquired the veteran outfielder. They fell short of qualifying for the postseason that year though, finishing with a record of 83-79.

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Martinez actually played very well during his brief stint as a blue bird, slashing .311/.393/.411 in 206 plate appearances, adding two home runs, 10 doubles, and 22 RBI at the age of 35. He ended up moving on to Atlanta to play for the Braves in 2001, which turned out to be his final season as a player.

Martinez’s trade to the Blue Jays was a notable one, especially because it broke a record at the time. The veteran started the season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (that was their name at the time) and played 29 games with them before he was dealt to the Cubs. He played just 18 games in Chicago before he was traded a second time, landing in with the Texas Rangers. Last but not least, Martinez was traded a third time to Toronto for a player to be named later, tying the MLB record by playing for four different teams in a season. That player to be named later ended up being Peter Munro, in case you were wondering.

NEXT: Is it worth moving Gurriel Jr. around the diamond again?
He wasn’t in Toronto for long, but I certainly remember the positive impact he made on the Blue Jays during that 2000 season, and it’s great to see him succeeding in a new role at the highest level.

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During his time with the Dodgers, Mondesi was a dangerous power hitter. He made his only All Star Game while wearing Dodger Blue, was the 1994 NL Rookie of the Year, and was a two time Gold Glove winner. Over the course of his career, Mondesi posted a .273/.331/.485 batting line, hitting 271 homers and stealing 229 bases.

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As it turns out, those 229 bases may not have been all that Mondesi swiped over his career. Mondesi was accused of embezzling more than 300 million pesos (nearly $6 million) from 2010 through 2016. After all, $6 million is a fairly impressive sum, more so than 229 stolen bases.

However, that success on the diamond, and his former stature in the game, are millions of miles away at this point. Mondesi will be spending the next eight years in prison, the former mayor and All Star having fallen far from grace, this prison sentence the end result of an investigation that had begun back in 2017.

The loss of his freedom and that fine are not the punishments that Mondesi has received. He has also been banned from holding public office for ten years, putting any further political ambitions that Mondesi may have on hold.

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Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Raul Mondesi is heading to prison, with an eight year sentence following an investigation into his time as mayor in the Dominican Republic. It is an amazing fall from grace.

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The Toronto Blue Jays brain trust has proclaimed they will be looking to improve the roster this offseason via the trade route, however, which players are completely untouchable?
The Blue Jays will be searching for controllable impact arms this offseason but as we all know that will not come cheap especially seeing the Jays don’t historically wade into the deep end to land the high priced free-agent catch.

Ross Atkins and company definitely have the assets to net a big fish via trade but who would you be willing to part with from the current roster. In order to get quality, sometimes you have to give up quality.

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NEW YORK — Major League Baseball’s average attendance dropped 1.7% this year for its fourth straight decline, and five of the six biggest drops were by teams with losing records.

Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco and Detroit combined for more than 1.8 million fewer tickets, and a 259-388 won-lost record.

The 30 teams averaged 28,339, according to the commissioner’s office, down from 28,830 last year — the first time the average was below 30,000 since 2003. Total attendance of 68.5 million was down more than 5 million from 2015.

The players’ association maintains attendance has been hurt by an increase in rebuilding teams, which its members and staff label “tanking.”

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“The wilful failure of too many franchises to field competitive teams and put their best players on the field is unquestionably hurting our industry,” union head Tony Clark said last week.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says rebuilding is cyclical and attendance and record correlate in some markets but not all. He also points out the success of the sport in television ratings and an increase in minor league gates.

ATLANTA – By now, the front office flair of Alex Anthopoulos is well recognized and for the most part appreciated by the win-now segment of baseball fandom.

The Montreal native who helped build the Blue Jays franchise back into prominence a few years back recognizes the nuances of the modern game and the importance of having a deep and productive farm system.

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But there is a craps player at the core of Anthopoulos as well, a gambler not shy about rolling the dice to make a big score when the timing and the table conditions are just right.

He did it in Toronto, boldly trading for players such as Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and David Price while signing others like Jose Bautista and Russell Martin, all huge components in setting up the playoff runs of 2015 and 2016.

Now as the Braves begin their post-season journey here on a sizzling Thursday evening in the south, and considered as a sleeper threat to win it all, one of his latest high-stakes moves is a big reason why.

For the second time in their respective careers, third baseman Donaldson and general manager Anthopoulos are together for some October baseball. And to this point anyway, it couldn’t have worked out better.

“We gave him the biggest one-year contract in the history of the game and that contract reflected the fact that we thought he had a chance to be healthy and if he was, he would be one of the better players in the game,” Anthopoulos said in an interview with the Toronto Sun. “Short term it was good for both sides. Josh had been hurt for two seasons in a row so there was always that risk.

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“From his standpoint, a lot of things lined up well for him. But really, this is what we all hoped for.”

That one-year, $23 million US deal had its skeptics on both sides. Why would the Braves, for example, pay that kind of money for a player who couldn’t stay healthy in his final two years with the Jays?

And for Donaldson, at age 33, why would he agree to a one-year deal at this point in his career?

The answer for both was risk-reward and trusting their respective instincts.

“We understood when we got him that he was in line for a big contract with Toronto and unfortunately he got hurt,” Anthopoulos said. “Both of us looked at this as a place for him to rebuild his value, be in a good clubhouse on a good team and to re-establish himself.

“For us, the advantage was that coming into 2019 we knew what we had here and that he could be a valuable addition.”

Anthopoulos hit all the right notes in his pitch for the Bringer of Rain. Come to the south and play for a team you were a fan of as a kid. Be a role model for a young, talented and motivated group of players. And finally, get healthy and lead that team to the postseason.

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“It’s been a good fit for him,” Anthopoulos said. “First and foremost, Josh wanted to go to a team where he had a chance to win. Obviously, that was important to him. We had just come off winning the division and adding him only made us that much more competitive. And his familiarity with the staff helped.”

The familiar face factor was indeed critical to Donaldson, especially given his frustration with the Jays the previous year when he missed most of the season due to a variety of ailments.

When the Jays fired head trainer George Poulis after the 2017 season, Anthopoulos wasted little time bringing him and assistant Mike Frostad to Atlanta. The long-time Jays employee and Donaldson were tight, a relationship that immediately flourished here.

“There’s no magic, it’s his hard work,” Poulis said of Donaldson’s resurgence. “He’s very, very diligent at working.

“It’s the same as I remember in Toronto. I’ve been in this game for 30 years and I’ve always had a deep respect for the everyday player. To see Josh do it and be determined … He’s a special person, no question.”

Almost incredibly given his age, the violence of his swing and his recent injury history, Donaldson has been that reliable everyday player in 2019, a force at the plate and a reliable defender at third.

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Health has been key, as he has both trusted his body and worked to get it back to the supreme condition that allowed him to play in 155 games including 100 consecutive.

“When I was hurt, there were some people who thought I didn’t want to play,” Donaldson said, shaking his head. “They thought I was done. They had no idea what I was going through. That’s not me.”

The logical next question is one that is on hold — for now. What’s next for Donaldson?

If he leads the Braves to their first playoff series win since 2001 and to a 10th World Series appearance in franchise history, it will be difficult to let him get away.

“Everything that both sides hoped would happen has,” Anthopoulos said. “He came here and was comfortable, was able to stay on the field and was able to perform at a high level to put himself in a position to get the contract he deserves.

“Whether that will be from us, we’ll see. Rightfully there’s going to be a lot of demand on him. We think we have a lot to offer as well. Josh has been great and has been a huge part of our success. We’d love having him here long term.”

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George Poulis is a big fan of his boss and not just because the Braves general manager rescued him off the unemployment line when the long-time trainer was let go by the Blue Jays.

In Braves Alex Anthopoulos, Poulis sees a winning personality with motivation to excel.

“Alex is a guy who is very driven,” said Poulis, who worked for Anthopoulos with the Jays and was hired in Atlanta prior to the 2018 season. “He doesn’t settle for second best. Every waking hour, he’s working and pushing people to get better around him.

“That’s what I love about Alex the most. He makes us all better people.”

As for third baseman Josh Donaldson, Poulis is also rather bullish on the Bringer of Rain.

“I’m not into predictions, but I’ll never bet against this guy,” Poulis said.

“We’re going to draw 68-plus million people at the big league level,” Manfred said, “another 41 million in minor league baseball — they’re actually going to be up. I’ll take 110 million people going to see the sport live. That’s a really, really awesome number in an environment where people have more and more and more alternatives to consume.”

Toronto had the biggest home attendance drop, falling 575,137 in a season in which the Blue Jays went 67-95 for their third straight losing season and most losses since 1980.

Seattle fell 507,769 as the Mariners went 68-94, their poorest record since 2011. San Francisco went down 448,425 and ended a streak of nine consecutive seasons at 3 million or more that coincided with three World Series titles. The Giants went 77-85 in their third straight losing season.

Detroit dropped 355,540 while going a big league-worst 47-114, the second-most losses in team history. The Tigers’ 1.5 million home attendance was their lowest since their 119-loss season in 2003.

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Washington, which earned an NL wild card and beat Milwaukee to reach the Division Series, fell 269,823 following the departure of Bryce Harper to Philadelphia as a free agent.

Baltimore dropped 256,385 while going 54-108, and the Orioles’ 1.3 million fans at home were their fewest in a non-shortened season since 1978 at old Memorial Stadium.

In all, home attendance dropped for 14 of the 30 teams, although three of those teams fell by less than 100,000, Miami rose by 198 people to 811,302 while going 57-105 in Derek Jeter’s second season as chief executive.

Kansas City went down by 185,448 and fell below 1.5 million for the first time since 2006.

On the plus side, Philadelphia rose 569,297 after signing Harper and despite an 81-81 record finished above 2.7 million for the first time since 2013, when the Phillies started a streak of six straight losing seasons.

Minnesota went up 334,955 boosted by a 101-61 record, the second-most wins in team history, San Diego went up 227,863 after signing free agent slugger Manny Machado but skidded to a 70-92 record. The New York Mets went up 217,537 boosted by an August spurt and their first winning record since 2016.

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For me personally and most of you, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are going nowhere. That is a no-brainer. However, I value Cavan Biggio just as high as the likes of Bo and Vladdy. The baseball IQ and raw tools he put on display over the final two months of the season is very promising. Biggio is untouchable.

That leaves Lourdes Gurriel Jr. as possibly your best trade chip from the roster and although I am a huge Gurriel fan, I am listening if a team comes calling and is willing to offer up an arm. Gurriel has shown flashes of brilliance with the stick but has struggled to remain on the field due to injury at times.

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Obviously, the Jays are not parting with Nate Pearson as the plan is to couple him with whoever they can acquire at the front of the rotation. Alek Manoah and Eric Pardinho are probably also on the no-trade list among minor leaguers.

There is some speculation in Blue Jays circles that the team acquired Simeon Woods Richardson to flip for a pitcher closer to being MLB ready this offseason. That type of move would make sense as he is still a number of years away and Atkins was pumping his tires pretty hard following the trade.

NEXT: Blue Jays: What free agents should they target this offseason?
It should be an interesting offseason to see what is available on the market and exactly what the team is willing to surrender to solidify the starting staff moving forward.