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#pounditSaturday, January 22, 2022

Articles tagged: Toronto Blue Jays

Kevin Gausman agrees to five-year contract with Blue Jays

Kevin Gausman on the field

The Toronto Blue Jays acted quickly to ensure that their rotation would stay strong for the 2022 season.

According to multiple reports, the Blue Jays agreed to a five-year contract with starting pitcher Kevin Gausman. The deal is worth $110 million, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The Blue Jays were almost certain to address their pitching in some way. Last season, they were paced by AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. They run the risk of losing him, however, as he is an in-demand free agent.

Gausman makes sense for Toronto after reviving his career with the San Francisco Giants. The 30-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, posting a 2.81 ERA in 33 starts. There’s always risk in paying a guy coming off a career year, but Gausman had pitched well in spurts before 2021 as well.

One thing to watch is the fact that Gausman is primarily a ground ball pitcher. That is something the Jays may have to consider after losing a key part of their infield earlier Sunday.

Photo: Aug 21, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Kevin Gausman (34) stands on the field before the game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Kiermaier has message for Blue Jays after being hit by pitch

Kevin Kiermaier

Kevin Kiermaier has a simple message for the Toronto Blue Jays after they hit him with a pitch on Wednesday.

Kiermaier was hit in the middle of the back by a pitch from Toronto reliever Ryan Borucki in the eighth inning of Tampa Bay’s 7-1 win over Toronto (video here). The plunking was retribution for Kiermaier taking a scouting report card the Jays dropped on the field on Monday.

So, what does Kiermaier think of it all? He said that the Blue Jays hitting him was a “weak move.”

More importantly, his message is that he wants to see the Blue Jays in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay is the AL East leader, while Toronto is battling for a wild card spot. The Blue Jays would need to win one of the wild card spots and then win the wild card game to match up with Tampa Bay in the ALDS. It is conceivable that that happens, but that’s on the Jays to keep winning.

Kiermaier would completely support Toronto doing all that because he wants to see them again and exact revenge on the field.

Video: Pete Walker goes nuts on Joe West, gets ejected

Pete Walker Joe West

Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker went nuts on umpire Joe West and got ejected from Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Jays lost the finale of a three-game series with the Rays 7-1. Jays pitcher Ryan Borucki was ejected for hitting Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch in the eighth inning. The hit-by-pitch was retribution for Kiermaier taking a dropped scouting report card the Blue Jays had made. Tampa Bay declined to return the dropped scouting report card to Toronto, which upset the Blue Jays.

One of the best parts about Wednesday’s ejection was seeing Walker go nuts on West.

Pete Walker Joe West

Man, was he heated!

Toronto had really no basis for being so upset when it was their catcher who dropped the scouting report. It becomes fair game as soon as you drop it on the playing field. And that pitch was absolutely intentional, so Toronto really has no argument.

Walker apparently was upset because Toronto was going to change pitchers anyway.

But Jays fans probably love the passion coming from Walker.

Video: Blue Jays throw at Kevin Kiermaier over card incident

Kevin Kiermaier blue jays

The Toronto Blue Jays still had some lingering bad feelings toward the Tampa Bay Rays over what has been dubbed “cardgate.”

The issue started Monday, when Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier picked up a card that included all the scouting reports for Tampa Bay’s hitters. Keirmaier kept the card, which had been dropped by Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk, and the team refused to return it. Kiermaier claimed he had initially picked up the card believing it was his, but refused to give it back once the team had it.

The Blue Jays were angered by the whole situation, and they took matters into their own hands on Wednesday. Reliever Ryan Borucki hit Kiermaier in the back with a pitch, leading both benches to clear.

Borucki was ultimately ejected from the game, which set off Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker.

It’s pretty silly that Walker is upset about this. If a pitcher throws at a batter, they run the risk of being ejected. It’s hard to imagine anyone would dispute that Borucki’s pitch was intentional given the circumstances.

The Blue Jays will probably consider the issue settled at this point, but don’t be surprised if this just makes the Rays angrier. The two teams do not meet again during the regular season. Intriguingly, however, there is a real chance these two teams could meet in the ALDS. The Rays currently hold the best record in the AL, while the Blue Jays are in line for a wild card spot. If Toronto can get that and win the Wild Card playoff while the Rays clinch the best record, they’d be in line to play again.

Blue Jays ticked at Kevin Kiermaier for taking their scouting report

Kevin Kiermaier scouting report

The Toronto Blue Jays are upset with Kevin Kiermaier for taking one of their cards.

During the sixth inning of Monday’s game between the Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, Kiermaier was trying to score after an error and was thrown out at home to end the inning. After being tagged out, Kiermaier noticed a piece of paper near the plate and grabbed it.

It turns out the piece of paper contained the Blue Jays’ scouting report for every Tampa Bay hitter. The notes sheet fell out of Alejandro Kirk’s wristband.

The Jays apparently sent a batboy over to ask for the paper back but were turned down.

On Tuesday, Kiermaier addressed the matter. He said that it happened quickly and he thought the paper was his scouting report, so he took it. He also said that he wasn’t about to give it back to Toronto once he had it.

There are a few things. First off, if the Jays are going to make a scouting report notes card and carry it around on the field, then they need to take good care of it. Kirk dropped it on the field and left it behind. That’s his problem.

Secondly, couldn’t Kiermaier have just taken photos of the notes sheet and then given it back? That might have been the best of both worlds. But he definitely did not have any obligation to give that paper back.

Video: Blue Jays had hilarious reaction to Hansel Robles staring down dugout

Guerrero Gurriel laughing

Things got a bit heated between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox on Friday, but the Blue Jays certainly seemed to come out of it better than Boston did.

Things veered out of control in the bottom of the 5th, as the Blue Jays put up nine runs to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 9-2 lead. A key point in the inning came when Red Sox reliever Hansel Robles hit Toronto outfielder Randal Grichuk with a pitch. Grichuk had doubled earlier in the inning, and Toronto’s players seemed to believe there was intent behind the hit batter.

Robles heard the chirping and tried to stare down the Toronto dugout after hitting Grichuk. The problem for him was the players, especially Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel, were not having it.

Your mean mugging probably isn’t very mean if that’s the reaction it gets.

Things didn’t get better for Robles after that. He allowed a single and a double to the next two hitters and ended up allowing two more runs to score.

It’s worth noting that Robles and Guerrero do have a bit of history. Maybe that was in their minds as this confrontation happened. It’s safe to say Vladdy wasn’t too impressed.

Jose Berrios traded to Blue Jays from Twins

Jose Berrios

The Toronto Blue Jays made a major move to beef up their starting rotation on Friday, as they have acquired right-hander Jose Berrios in a trade with the Minnesota Twins.

The Blue Jays have agreed to send multiple prospects to Minnesota for Berrios, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported. Toronto has one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, and two of their top-five prospects are involved in the deal.

Berrios, 27, is a two-time All-Star. He is 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA this season and known for his excellent curveball. He is not scheduled to become a free agent until 2023.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were said to have interest in Berrios, but they instead landed Max Scherzer on Thursday in a monster deal.

Blue Jays will have this many fans at Rogers Centre for return to Toronto

The Blue Jays have confirmed their return to Toronto for a homestand starting July 30, and we’re starting to get more details regarding how that will look.

Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro revealed that 15,000 fans will be admitted to Rogers Centre for the July 30 game against the Kansas City Royals. Shapiro added that the roof will be kept open as much as possible.

Rogers Centre typically seats just shy of 50,000 in its baseball configuration, so the stadium will be at about 30 percent capacity for the team’s return.

The Jays’ return was confirmed Friday with a pretty awesome social media video. It will mark the team’s first game in its actual home since Sept. 29, 2019.

Blue Jays announce return to Toronto with awesome video

The Toronto Blue Jays are finally headed home, and they announced the news with a pretty awesome video.

The Blue Jays officially received an exemption from the Canadian government allowing the team to return to Rogers Centre for games starting July 30. It remains to be seen if there will be any sort of rules for visiting players, or how many fans will initially be allowed to attend — if any.

Still, the mere fact that the Blue Jays can finally play in Toronto again was a cause for celebration. The team confirmed the news with a video paying tribute to Blue Jays fans who have not seen their team play in Canada in over a year and a half.

The Blue Jays spent the first part of the season playing home games at their spring training complex in Dunedin, Fl. They recently moved to Sahlen Field in Buffalo, where they spent the 2020 season.

A return to Toronto could be what the 45-42 Blue Jays need to get going and make a playoff push. There are rumors that they could be looking to add even more firepower to their lineup as well.

Report: Blue Jays, A’s interested in Nelson Cruz trade

Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz is once again having an incredibly productive season, and the Minnesota Twins are widely expected to trade him since they are out of playoff contention. At least two teams are interested in the seven-time All-Star, and there will likely be more.

The Oakland A’s and Toronto Blue Jays are possible suitors for Cruz, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

The Blue Jays are 44-40 and eight games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They already have one of the best offenses in baseball and lead the league with 128 home runs, so Cruz would make their already potent lineup even more dangerous.

Oakland is 49-39 and 5.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West. They rank near the middle of MLB in most offensive categories.

Cruz turned 41 earlier this month, but he is having one of the best seasons of his career. He’s batting .304 with 18 home runs, 45 RBI and an OPS of .939. He signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Twins prior to the season.