There are plenty of logistical issues to sort out before starting the MLB season, but few teams have more to figure out than the Toronto Blue Jays.
Due to public health and travel restrictions, the Blue Jays must receive permission from the Canadian government to play games in Toronto. Non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canadian border is currently restricted, meaning there are a lot of issues to be dealt with for the Blue Jays traveling to play in the United States and American teams traveling to Toronto.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Blue Jays could play games at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla. or in Buffalo, N.Y. if they cannot get Canadian government approval.
The ideal solution is to play games at home like every other team, but the Blue Jays would be silly not to have a backup plan at this point. That plan has been in place for a while, but even the Dunedin plan needed a second look after the Jays closed that facility over coronavirus concerns.
The Toronto Blue Jays are preparing backup plans for hosting games during a shortened 2020 season.
SportsNet’s Shi Davidi reported on Thursday that the Blue Jays are preparing to host games at Rogers Centre in Toronto and TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla.
Why have they been preparing to play at their Single-A team’s facility? It has to do with possible travel restrictions going to Canada.
The Canadian border is closed through July 21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival, though the NHL was able to get some exceptions by following approved protocol. This development could make the possibility of the Blue Jays hosting games in Toronto this summer realistic. Playing home games in Toronto would be optimal for the team, but they also have the Florida alternative.
The Jays are working on getting TD Ballpark in Dunedin ready to host MLB games just in case. They are adding lights to fit MLB standards and have locked in on the stadium as their secondary option, according to Davidi.
No deal is in place yet between MLB and the players for terms of a shortened 2020 season. MLB’s latest proposal was for a 60-game season, while the players countered at 70, reportedly angering the owners. The back-and-forth over the terms for a resumed season has been going on for weeks.
The MLB season looks like it will be played in some form, which is good news for teams who had high hopes for the 2020 season. Multiple teams have put the pieces in place to have a very good season — sometimes in a way that will defy expectations.
Here are five MLB teams that had poor 2019 seasons but could be poised to surprise in 2020.
The Boston Red Sox are aiming to dump some salary this offseason, which could lead to one player returning to a team where he had a brief, but memorable tenure.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Red Sox have engaged in talks with the Toronto Blue Jays about a potential David Price trade. The Red Sox are also discussing Price with other teams, and Boston would have to take on much of his remaining $96 million salary to facilitate a deal.
The Blue Jays represent a very interesting option. They clearly want a starter, and there is familiarity with Price, who briefly played there during the team’s run to the ALCS in 2015. Though he was only there for three months, by all accounts, Price liked his time in Toronto.
Price is not the same pitcher as he was during his prime. He was bothered by injuries last year and posted a 4.28 ERA in 22 starts, but that was the first year since 2009 his ERA rose above four. Despite those numbers, there is wide-ranging interest in Price, whose pedigree will intrigue teams, as will the fact that Boston will likely be paying the bulk of his salary.
Marcus Stroman was critical of the way the Toronto Blue Jays handled trading him to the New York Mets over the weekend, and apparently there are some members of the organization who were not thrilled with him, either.
Mike Puma of the New York Post spoke with a Blue Jays official on Monday who said he believes Stroman’s ego became a problem in Toronto. The anonymous exec expects that to change when Stroman is no longer the ace of a staff.
Stroman pitched in the majors with the Blue Jays the past six seasons, and he was certainly a veteran on a young roster. It’s unclear why a team official would take issue with him thinking of himself as a leader, but the right-hander’s strong personality may have rubbed some within the organization the wrong way.
Stroman had a negative reaction to being traded to the Mets, but he says that reaction was directed at Toronto’s front office. The 28-year-old has a 2.96 ERA this season, so he has the potential to be the best pitcher on a National League staff. The Mets wouldn’t mind that, even if he thinks of himself as a veteran.
The MLB trade market is expected to be heavy on starting pitchers, and one of the best who is clearly available is currently with the Toronto Blue Jays.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, multiple executives expect the Blue Jays to deal pitcher Marcus Stroman before the July 31 trade deadline. Stroman is signed through 2020, which means Toronto will likely demand enough value to cover a year and a half of pitching, plus a compensatory pick they’d receive for him if they lost him via free agency.
Stroman was a first-time All-Star in 2019 and has posted a 3.25 ERA, and has driven his value higher than ever. The Blue Jays could even package him with reliever Ken Giles in a major trade, but this appears fairly unlikely.
The Toronto Blue Jays have made some moves to rebuild their roster over the past several months, and the latest is trading away veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar.
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays announced that they have traded Pillar to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for three players.
Pillar is off to a slow start with just one hit in 16 at-bats this season. He’s a career .260 hitter who can provide some pop, as he hit 15 home runs in 2018 and 16 the year before. He should give the Giants some solid outfield depth at an inexpensive price.
Have the Toronto Blue Jays made any effort to keep pitcher Marcus Stroman long-term? One side says yes, the other says no.
On Sunday morning, Stroman publicly vented that he’d been offered “nothing” by the Blue Jays despite his desire to stay with the team and his love for the city.
Stroman’s comments, especially unprompted, are quite interesting. He clearly wants to stay in Toronto, and he clearly believes he’s a huge part of the team.
The Blue Jays, however, quietly refuted a large part of his comments, with sources telling the Toronto Sun’s Rob Longley that Stroman had, in fact, received such an offer.
Stroman was floated in trade talks earlier on the offseason, but nothing came of it. He’s coming off the worst season of his young career, in which he posted a 5.54 ERA in 19 starts.
It’s entirely possible that Stroman received a contract offer that he simply deemed not good enough and left that part out, but what’s clear is that the two sides are simply not on the same page at the moment.
Russell Martin began his MLB career with the Los Angeles Dodgers what seems like a lifetime again, and the catcher will now be reuniting with his former team.
According to baseball reporter Arash Madani, the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to trade Martin to the Dodgers.
Martin will turn 36 in February, and he is coming off a 2018 season to forget in which he batted just .194 in 94 games. The catcher is owed $20 million next season and has steadily declined in each year since signing a five-year, $82 million deal with the Jays. Not surprisingly, Toronto will be eating a large portion of his salary.
While Martin hit below .200 last season and just .221 the year before, he still walks plenty and had a respectable .338 on-base percentage. The Dodgers had a need at catcher after losing Yasmani Grandal in free agency, so Martin should pair with Austin Barnes behind the plate.
The Toronto Blue Jays are on their way to missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season, and it sounds like their latest shortcomings will be enough to end John Gibbons’ second stint with the team.
A person familiar with the thinking of both the Blue Jays and Gibbons told Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports that there is a “99.9 percent” chance that the two sides are going to part ways after the season. Heyman notes that Gibbons has spoken with Toronto GM Ross Atkins about the situation multiple times, so it would not be a surprise if he’s informed the team will be looking for another manager.
“We’ll sit down after the year and see what direction we’re going to go, myself included,” Gibbons told Heyman.
The Blue Jays are said to be interested in hiring a younger manager and entering a rebuilding phase, with a focus on winning by 2020 or 2021. Gibbons hinted in a recent radio interview that he has no interest in being part of a rebuilding project.
Gibbons has an overall record of 783-776 in 11 seasons over two stints in Toronto. The 56-year-old is reportedly interested in continuing to manage beyond 2018 if the situation is appealing enough.