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#pounditMonday, August 8, 2022

Articles tagged: Toronto Blue Jays

This is when the Blue Jays could return to Toronto for games

The Blue Jays haven’t played a game in Toronto since 2019, but that could finally be changing soon.

The Blue Jays are awaiting a response from the Canadian government to a plan that would allow them to play home games at Rogers Centre in Toronto starting on July 30, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. The plan has already been approved by the necessary local and provincial authorities, and comes as Canada is set to ease some border restrictions for returning travelers starting Monday.

Details would need to be fleshed out about certain aspects of the plan, as MLB still has unvaccinated players that would need to travel from the United States to Canada for games. One possibility is that unvaccinated players could be subjected to quarantine restrictions that fully vaccinated players are not.

The Blue Jays have been playing home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo after playing the first two months of the regular season at their spring training ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. The team is scheduled to open a ten-game homestand against Kansas City, Cleveland, and Boston starting on the 30th. If that homestand doesn’t work out, the team would likely target a seven-game homestand starting August 20 for a possible return to Toronto.

Blue Jays players will be very excited to return to Toronto. They’ve spent the last year and a half playing at minor league stadiums without the high-end facilities and amenities they’re used to. That was a key issue in one aspect last offseason, and it’s not something they’ll want to have to deal with any longer.

Blue Jays hopeful of playing home games in Toronto later in season

The Toronto Blue Jays are about to open their second season outside of their home city, but there is some optimism that this will not last through 2021.

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro revealed that the team hopes to seek formal permission within the next few months to begin playing games at Rogers Centre.

“I do think that we have significant positive and objective momentum that would lead us to make a more formal ask sometime in the next month,” Shapiro told Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic. “Not to come back in a month, but make that ask for later in the summer, sometime in the next month.

“We’ve got fairly good information that the vaccine will be accessible to our players and other major-league teams in the next two to three weeks or month. So that if by the end of April or early May all of our players or the bulk of our players and staff are vaccinated and other teams are as well and Toronto is a safe place, it starts to feel like the reasons for us not to be there, the risks start to be mitigated. I would say that when we start to have that material progress that we see the vaccinations actually happening, we will start to formalize an ask.”

The Blue Jays spent the 2020 season in Buffalo due to travel restrictions with Canada. This season, they are poised to play at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fl. until further notice. That’s fairly close to where the Toronto Raptors are playing their own home games.

The uncertainty over Toronto’s home has been a problem for the team in doing business with players. The good news is this looks likely to be squared away in the months to come.

Mets announcer Howie Rose rips Blue Jays for eliminating radio broadcasts

The Toronto Blue Jays are being sharply criticized by one MLB broadcaster for the decision the team made about its radio broadcasts for 2021.

The Blue Jays announced Friday that they will not create a specialized radio broadcast of the team’s games this season. Instead, a simulcast of the television broadcast will air on the radio instead. The team cited COVID-19 restrictions as the key reason for the decision, but did not specify if the simulcast would remain in place beyond 2021.

Whatever the explanation, it did not sit well with many. New York Mets radio announcer Howie Rose called the decision “reprehensible” and a “total disgrace” on Twitter.

Even if one doesn’t care about the romanticism of baseball on the radio, there are good reasons to keep a specialized radio broadcast in place. Radio broadcasts are typically more descriptive, as they have to describe events for people who cannot see the game for whatever reason.

The Blue Jays are facing some logistical issues this season. That’s understandable. Even in light of that, it’s tough to disagree with Rose’s assessment of their decision.

Report: Blue Jays may play home games in Dunedin

The Toronto Blue Jays are facing uncertainty again when it comes to where they will play their home games for the 2021 season.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Blue Jays players have been advised to avoid signing long-term leases in Toronto due to uncertainty over whether the team will be able to start the season in Canada. If not, the team is poised to play regular season games in Dunedin, Fla., the site of their spring training complex.

Travel between the United States and Canada remains difficult due to the pandemic. It’s not clear if MLB teams will receive approval to travel in and out of the Canada. The Toronto Raptors did not receive such approval, which is why they are playing their home games in Tampa this season.

This was a big issue for the Blue Jays during the offseason and it still hasn’t been resolved. Ultimately, it didn’t serve as an impediment to them signing the likes of George Springer, but it’s still a headache.

Report: Blue Jays could still pursue Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer

The free-spending Toronto Blue Jays may not be done yet in the free agent market.

The Blue Jays signed outfielder George Springer to a $150 million deal on Tuesday in one of the biggest moves of the offseason. There was some thought that such a significant financial commitment would rule Toronto out of pursuing any other big name free agents, but that does not appear to be the case.

According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Blue Jays are not necessarily out on Bauer even after signing Springer.

The Blue Jays have the luxury of a rather young and subsequently inexpensive core of key players, at least for the moment. That could allow them to stretch the payroll a bit and bring in guys like Bauer to compete now.

Even if the Blue Jays are serious about pursuing Bauer, they’re going to face very stiff competition if they want to land him.

Michael Brantley agrees to 3-year deal with Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays made a huge move on Tuesday when they signed George Springer, and they continue to spend in free agency.

The Blue Jays have also signed outfielder Michael Brantley to a three-year deal, according to multiple reports.

Brantley, who was teammates with Springer on the Houston Astros the past two seasons, is another big signing for Toronto. The Blue Jays suddenly have a very deep outfield with Springer, Brantley, Lourdes Gurriel, Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez. They are now in a prime position to use some of those assets for pitching and/or defense.

Brantley, a career .297 hitter, batted .300 with five home runs, 22 RBI and an OPS of .840 in 46 games last season.

Toronto was looking to beef up an up-and-coming roster that features the likes of Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Teoscar Hernandez. They have done just that with the Springer and Brantley signings.

UPDATE: Brantley ended up re-signing with the Astros on a two-year deal.

George Springer gets $150 million deal from Blue Jays

George Springer

The Toronto Blue Jays have landed one of the biggest free agents of the offseason

The Jays and George Springer have agreed to a six-year deal worth $150 million.

We had heard for over two months that the Jays had interest in some of the top free agent outfielders. Then came reports saying Springer was choosing between Toronto and the Mets.

Things between Springer and the Jays heated up this week, culminating in Tuesday’s deal.

According to Mark Feinsand, the Jays outbid the Mets by $25-$30 million.

Springer is a career .270 hitter with an .852 career OPS and finished in the top ten of AL MVP voting in 2019. He also has three All-Star appearances in his career. The 31-year-old was named World Series MVP while with Houston in 2017.

Toronto was looking to beef up an up-and-coming roster, which features the likes of Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Teoscar Hernandez.

Report: George Springer choosing between these two teams

George Springer

Free agent outfielder George Springer appears to be down to two choices as he mulls his free agent options.

According to Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News, the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays are the two teams competing to sign Springer. The free agent outfielder is expected to sign in January, and expects to receive well over $100 million on a long-term contract.

Springer has attracted significant interest as the best outfielder on the market. The veteran is a career .270 hitter, and finished in the top ten of AL MVP voting in 2019. He also has three All-Star appearances in his career.

There’s some thinking that one of these two teams has established itself as the favorite for Springer, but it’s clear no decision has been made yet.

Blue Jays manager reveals big concern he hears from free agent targets

The Toronto Blue Jays have been linked to a lot of big names on the free agent market this offseason, but have yet to land anyone. Part of that is down to how the market is moving this year, but there may be other concerns in play.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said his free agent recruitment efforts have all been met by one key question about the organization’s status for 2021.

“The number one question is if we’re going to play in Toronto,” Montoyo said Friday, via the Associated Press. “That’s rightly so. Our answer is, ‘Yeah, we’re hoping so.'”

It’s a fair question. Free agents aren’t going to want to plunge themselves into uncertainty, and that’s where the Blue Jays are at right now. The team played in Buffalo last year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and it’s not clear those restrictions will be meaningfully lifted in time for the season, as much as MLB wants that.

The Blue Jays may be better off targeting stars through trades. Fortunately, there’s one available that they seem very interested in.

Report: Blue Jays ‘really want’ Francisco Lindor

Francisco Lindor

The Toronto Blue Jays continue to make noise about possibly making major moves during the MLB offseason.

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays are said to “really want” Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who is on the trade block. However, Davidi believes the Blue Jays will be hesitant to trade for Lindor unless they are confident they will be able to sign him to a contract extension.

The Blue Jays are coming off a 32-28 season that saw them reach the AL Wild Card series. They have a young core led by the likes of Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Chatter like this indicates that the Jays clearly feel it’s about time to get more aggressive and take the next step toward regular contention by adding established veteran stars. Lindor would certainly qualify, and he’s still only 27, thus fitting in with the young core if they can keep him long-term.

Lindor will be expensive in terms of both prospects and money. The Blue Jays will also face stiff competition in trade talks.