Jay Bird Watching - Blue Jays Should Be Hall of Famers


Follow Host Craig Borden on Twitter (@Craigers1221)

We have a hell of a special show for you as we brought together a great group for our discussion today. Blue Jays fans we were able to get Ian Hunter of Blue Jays Nation & the Daily Hive, Ari Shapiro of the Jays Journal Podcast, and Adam Corsair of South of the 6ix to join us for a who should make the Baseball Hall of Fame if the bar has been lowered by the Era Committee.

First on the plate as always we discuss Toronto Blue Jays News. The Jays have been pretty quiet during the winter meetings thus far. Their only "splash" has been the release of Troy Tulowitzki. The ripples are still fresh and the Jays are on the hook for $38 Mil because of it. In a rare move that helps both sides the Jays now have the roster flexibility that they need to give Lourdes Gurriel Jr. consistent at-bats.

Stroman and Sanchez appear to have a rather large price but that has not stopped the Reds from knocking on the door so far. It has been reported that the Jays are using the James Paxton deal as a comparable. Is that asking a little too much? Russell Martin is the lone veteran left from the recent playoff push. Is he the next to be moved?

Now the meat of the conversation. Harold Baines has been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Today's Era Committee. How has a career 38.7 WAR player been elected into baseball legends? If this is indeed the new bar for the Hall of Fame where do the Toronto Blue Jays legends rank in comparison. This is what we all dove into during the talks but the below list was compiled before the show. After Roberto Alomar and soon to be elected Roy Halladay are in the Hall of Fame, what other Blue Jays should be joining them seeing stats are secondary to enshrinement now.

As players that happened to play part of the career with the Blue Jays this is how their full careers in WAR rank. All these players have a higher WAR then Harold Baines.

Roger Clemens - 139.6 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 20.3

John Olerud - 58.2 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 22.6

Dave Stieb - 56.7 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 57.1

Fred McGriff - 52.6 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 19.4

Jimmy Key - 49.1 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 29.8

Devon White - 47.3 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 22.3

Tony Fernandez - 45.3 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 37.5

Carlos Delgado - 44.4 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 36.8

Jesse Barfield - 39.4 WAR - Blue Jays WAR 29.5

Special thanks to all of our guests. It truly was a pleasure!

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Jay Bird Watching - "Breaking News - Expectations Tulo"


Follow Host Craig Borden on Twitter (@Craigers1221)

It is official Blue Jays fans. The Jays’ brass is committing to the youth movement fully. Yesterday, Troy Tulowitzki was released by the team and is still on track to make $38 Million over the next two seasons from the club. This came as a shock to many fans that were at least expecting Tulo to remain with the club and play for a roster spot this Spring.

For Tulo, this will signify a change of scenery. He will find a team in the Majors that is willing to take a shot on him for the league minimum pay this season rather easily. This is a guy that hit 24 home runs and drove in 79 runs in 2016. That was not too long ago but a lost season to double heel surgery had the Blue Jays looking to clear his roster spot. Tulo will find work elsewhere and it appears that the A's, Mariners, and others are already knocking on the door at the Winter Meetings.

For the Blue Jays, this is clearly a move to give full-time work to Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. Gurriel Jr. took to shortstop very quickly at the MLB level last season and excelled. He went on to triple slash his way to a respectable .281/.309/.446 in 65 games last season. This while hitting 11 homers and had the longest hitting streak in recent Blue Jays history.

The Blue Jays also have Richard Urena, who could now slide into the backup role for the infield. With Tulo gone, Gurriel Jr. and Urena are the depth for the moment. Bo Bichette is looming in the minors and will likely challenge for that position this Spring. Many would guess that Bo starts in Triple-A Buffalo for some further seasoning though.

This was a good move for both sides. The Blue Jays get the roster room that they need even if they had to pay out the nose for it. Tulo gets a chance to catch fire somewhere else and get away from the astroturf at the Rogers Centre. This is a rare win-win situation for all parties involved. Tulo - thanks for the memories and we wish you the best.

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Did I Miss Something? Pete Walker is Still Here?


Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)

I assume that I am not the only one that has noticed this, but somehow Pete Walker is still the pitching coach of the Toronto Blue Jays. First, I want to say I have no issue with Pete Walker and I think he has served well as the Blue Jays’ pitching coach over the years. I am just shocked that he is still locked in this position for a number of reasons. We will discuss those reasons in depth during this article.

Just to fill in the history on Pete Walker, he was a Blue Jays’ pitcher for a number of years but a shoulder injury more or less ended his pitching career. Since, he has been a Minor League pitching coach with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in which he helped them win the Eastern League Championship and continued that roll in Toronto since the end of the 2012 season. Walker has been known for helping keep the pitcher's ERA to a minimum over his tenure. The Jays’ team ERA has not eclipsed 4.85 and that was over this past season with 14 different starters.

With Walker having a nice pedigree and clear skill for working with younger pitchers, I can definitely understand why new Blue Jays' manager, Charlie Montoyo, was interested in keeping him. Especially when most of the troubles this past season were due to the number of different pitchers and generally bad arms that were filling up innings. It did appear that things were going better once the youngsters began to come up in the late months of the season. Ryan Borucki and others really helped eat up innings at the end of the season.

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Now let us address the confusion on why we are amazed that Walker has a job still. First, I am shocked that a team that is pushing for the future and new baseball ideas is even interested. Atkins and Shapiro have made it abundantly clear that part of the reason they wanted to move on from John Gibbons was the fact they wanted to get someone more metric focused in the dugout; hence, why Montoyo has been brought in. One would have guessed that with Walker being one of Gibbons’ go-to guys that he fit the “Old School Baseball” mold. I for one have zero idea about Walker’s baseball views, but this seemed to be one of those guilty by association ideas more than anything.

It is also amazing that Walker is still here given the terrible performance of the team over the past few seasons. The Blue Jays have gone from an 80+ win team from 2014 - 2016 to a sub 80 win team rather quickly. Yes, there are many contributing factors in that equation, but the pitching staff saw their average runs allowed per game increase an entire run in two seasons. Most of that once again can be attributed to the quality of arms eating up the main bulk of the innings, but it is the pitching coach's job to ensure all pitchers are performing to the lofty expectation that the front office led Blue Jays fans to over the past few years.

How has the handling of Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman not landed on Walker’s lap? It has been no secret that Sanchez and Stroman have had a rough two years. Both of them have struggled to stay healthy and have had major issues with consistency as well. Part of a pitching coach’s job is to look for possible hitches or mechanical issues with his pitchers. With the pair having so many issues with health and consistency, one would jump to delivery issues possibly causing some of these issues. This pair was supposed to be a big part of any possible Blue Jays success and they could not even stay on the field.'

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While we are talking about mishandling of arms, I think we need to bring up Joe Biagini. Biagini has been flip-flopped between the pen and rotation more times than my 8-year old daughter changes her mind on her outfit. The Blue Jays have more or less ruined Biagini over the past couple of years after having a stellar debut in the bullpen during the 2016 season. After a season in which he had 67.2 innings with a 3.06 ERA out of the pen, they tossed him into the rotation. After a few starts, fans began to cringe when he took the mound. This was well justified as he would close out the 2017 season with a 6.00 ERA in 119.2 innings. This should have squashed the idea of Biagini as a starter, but for whatever reason, he came out to pitch 4 more starts in 2018 and had plenty of them with the Bisons in Triple-A. Walker had to be a part of this conversation and that should have been seen as a flag to the Jays’ Brass. Biagini needs to prove himself to this new management team this spring, or should be out of a job. Should his pitching coach be gone as well?

Is Walker still lingering to possibly bring J.A. Happ back? It is no secret that the Blue Jays would like to bring back Happ, but after an incredible season and success in the Bronx, is he out of the Jays’ market? The Blue Jays might have to play the right cards to get Happ to come to a team that is not a clear-cut competitor for the 2019 season. The Blue Jays could be playing off the fact that Happ really enjoyed his time in Toronto and reuniting with a friend and good coach like Pete Walker could be the icing on the cake. For now, this could be a reason why no official notice has been said on Walker from Montoyo.

The Blue Jays have chosen to keep Pete Walker for the time being and there are plenty of good reasons to do so. He is good with young talent and has been able to build winning staffs with minimal talent on paper to start the season. For every good reason to keep Walker, there just happens to be an argument against it. That being said, I am still shocked that he is around and would not be surprised if he is on a short leash with an entirely new management core in the dugout. Winning cures all issues, but over the past two seasons, the Blue Jays have not been winning and Walker could share part of that blame.

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Blue Jays: 2018 in Review


Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)

The Blue Jays officially ended their 2018 season Sunday in Tampa Bay, with a 9-4 loss to the Rays. The Jays finished the year in 4th place in the A.L. East with a record of 73-89. Overall, this was a very disappointing year for the Jays, and a year that sort of signaled the beginning of the rebuild for this team. We saw some familiar faces leave town, but we also saw an influx of youth in the team as the year went on. In this article, I’ll unpack everything that happened for this year’s Blue Jays; from what went wrong to some bright spots, and also a look ahead to next year.

Season Overview

Unlike last season, where they started the year 1-9, the Jays actually started the 2018 season pretty well. After 17 games, they were 12-5 and appeared to be a team that would at least challenge for a playoff spot. After that though, the injuries began to pile up and the Jays would never really get back on track. Key players like Stroman, Sanchez, and Donaldson were bit by the injury bug, and the Jays weren’t able to keep pace with the rest of the A.L. East. Things continued to go poorly through May, when Roberto Osuna was charged with domestic assault against his girlfriend. Osuna was pitching well once again out of the closer role, but after this came out, Osuna’s Blue Jays career was over, even though we didn’t know it at the time.

As the season progressed, it became clearer and clearer that this team wasn’t headed to the postseason. Thus, we were able to see some of the Jays’ young prospects come up and play. Among many others, Danny Jansen, Ryan Borucki, Rowdy Tellez, and Thomas Pannone were all very impressive in their time in the MLB. As the season went on, John Gibbons, who was managing in his last season with the Blue Jays, began to take away playing time from veterans like Russell Martin and Kendrys Morales, and give it to the younger players in order to see what they could do. During the games in September specifically, Jays fans were able to see what the team will likely look like for years to come, with guys like Billy McKinney, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Danny Jansen getting a lot of playing time. It may not have resulted in many wins, but I’ll take watching the prospects play over the veterans with nothing else to prove.

The Trade Deadline

Like I said earlier, the Jays had to part ways with some familiar faces this year, and a lot of that came at the trading deadline(s).

In June, the Jays traded away Steve Pearce to the Red Sox in exchange for SS Santiago Espinal. This was a minor move, but it was a sign of things to come.

Then, near the trade deadline, Toronto dealt Seung-Hwan Oh to the Rockies in exchange for 2 prospects: Forrest Wall and Chad Spangenberg. It’s hard to tell if either of those prospects will turn into anything, but anytime you can get 2 pieces in exchange for a middle-tier reliever like Oh, I’d say it’s a good deal.

Next, the Blue Jays traded J.A. Happ - the veteran lefty who was great in his 2nd stint in Toronto - to the Yankees in exchange for outfielder Billy McKinney and infielder Brandon Drury. Happ has been great in New York since the trade, so obviously it worked out for them, but I also think the Jays did well here. They got Drury, who was hurt for most of the year, but could compete for an infield spot next seaso. Also, Billy McKinney, who looks like he’ll make the Jays next year and be a key part of their outfield. In 36 games in Toronto, McKinney hit .252 with 6 homers and 13 RBIs, while batting in the leadoff spot most of the time.

On the day before the July trade deadline, the Jays sent Roberto Osuna, in the midst of his legal case to Houston, in exchange for 3 players. First, they got their closer, Ken Giles. Second, they got an AA pitcher in Hector Perez, who was in the Astros top 10 prospects before being dealt, and also got David Paulino, a prospect who briefly pitched with the Jays in September. In this situation, the Jays were trading from a position where they needed to get rid of Osuna, and they were still able to do pretty well. Not only did they get Giles - who was perfect in save opportunities this season - but they got 2 pitching prospects who could potentially turn into something.

Right before the trade deadline was reached, the Jays made 2 minor moves, trading Aaron Loup to the Phillies in exchange for pitcher Jacob Waguespack, and then traded John Axford to the Dodgers for pitcher Corey Copping.

Lastly, the Jays made a deal that sent fans into a frenzy, when they traded 2015 A.L. MVP Josh Donaldson to Cleveland in exchange for Julian Merryweather, a minor league starter coming off of Tommy John. Now, obviously, the Jays didn’t handle this situation the right way. Looking back, they should’ve traded Donaldson earlier and gotten a better return. But in this situation, they needed to get rid of him, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that what they got back wasn’t much.

Bright Spots

It’s usually hard to find bright spots for a team that finished much lower than they were expected to, but thanks to how many young players joined the team this year, there’s actually quite a few. Here are 3 that really stood out to me.

  1. Ryan Borucki- Borucki was called up much earlier than the rest of the prospects, which meant he had more time to show what he could do. He made 17 big league starts this year, and in that time, he posted a 3.87 ERA. He wasn’t even up here for half of the season, but going into next year, I’ve got a ton of confidence in this guy.

  2. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.- Gurriel was called up in late April and played 65 games for the Jays this year. He suffered two injuries during this season, but when he was healthy, Gurriel was a very productive player. He had a .281 average this year to go along with 11 home runs and 35 RBI. There will definitely be a cluster of infielders next year, but I’d expect Gurriel to get a lot of playing time.

  3. Ken Giles- Like I said earlier, Giles was acquired in the Roberto Osuna trade. His ERA doesn’t jump out at you as being very good, and that’s mostly because of how bad he is in non-save situations. But when he’s in a save situation, Giles gets the job done. In 14 save opportunities since joining the Blue Jays, Giles was been a perfect 14/14. Giles still has 2 years left on his deal, so I would expect to see him closing a lot of games for the Jays over the next couple of seasons.

2019 Outlook

You never know what could happen, but making the playoffs isn’t likely for next year’s Jays. I expect them to be a bit better, (78-80 wins) but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect a team of mostly kids to leapfrog over the Rays, Yankees, or Red Sox. With that being said, there is still plenty to be excited about in 2019. First of all, we will see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the big leagues for the first time. That alone is exciting, but we can also expect guys like Billy McKinney and Sean Reid-Foley to take a step forward. There are definitely some holes in this team, like the starting rotation where they need to add someone in free agency, but I could still see the 2019 Jays being a fun team to watch, even if they’re not going to make the playoffs.

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

SOT6 Podcast - Episode 76


Follow host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


"Season Ending Vibes"


Toronto Blue Jays Talk

  • The season has reached its end, and it was one that Blue Jays fans would much rather put in the rear review mirror. Although there weren't many bright spots during the course of 2018, but there were also plenty of moments that the Blue Jays - as well as their fans - can learn from. Moreover, we were able to get a glimpse - albeit small - of what the future has in store for this ball club and how prolific they have the potential to be. In short, there's a lot to look forward to, but it requires a tremendous amount of patience.

  • Joining host Adam Corsair is South of the 6ix contributor Craig Borden. Craig and Adam tackle all the things that Blue Jays fans have endured during the 2018 season and how 2019 will mark the beginning of something special.

It's a Blue Jays Podcast you will not want to miss!

Follow Craig Borden on Twitter: @Craigers1221

Visit the Jays Bird Watching Gamecast: @BirdWatchingGC


Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Witnessing the Birth of an Era


Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)

The Toronto Blue Jays have been hardly relevant this season and have not had a winning record since April. Jays fans have responded as the game day attendance dropped like a stone from the sky. This is understandable and it has been hard to watch for even the most hardcore of Blue Jays fans. The old saying is that it is most often the darkest before the dawn. While watching the Blue Jays game Thursday evening, I could not help but hear these words dancing in my head as the Jays offense torched the bullpen of the Rays.

The Blue Jays tagged the Tampa Bay Rays pen for 7 runs in the bottom of the 9th to cap off an incredible victory. The Jays were down 8-2 heading into the final frame, but the young players had different plans on how this game was going to turn out. Leading off the attack was Dwight Smith Jr. who doubled. Rowdy Tellez followed with a double of his own that scored Smith. After Jonathan Davis was hit by a pitch, Danny Jansen powered up the offense. Jansen destroyed a 1-2 pitch over the left field bullpen to put the Jays within striking distance. Now just trailing by a pair of runs, Kendrys Morales pinched hit for Anthony Alford and singled on a bloop over the infield. This set the stage for one of the hottest Blue Jay hitters - Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Gurriel hit a towering drive that landed in the Jays bullpen to tie up the game at 8.

The improbable had happened and I was sitting on the edge of my seat. These talented youngsters had gotten the Blue Jays right back into this game in the final frame. This is something unheard of and almost something that you would have happened in a movie than real life. The Jays flipped the script from facing a certain loss and put themselves in position to take the win. That is exactly what Justin Smoak had in mind. One of the lone veterans in the lineup Thursday night and the 9th hitter to come to the plate in the inning for the Jays. Smoak got a first-pitch changeup and rocked it over the right field wall to cap the comeback in walk-off fashion.

As the celebration ensued I couldn’t help but think to myself how significant this moment could be. This year's roster has been an endless line of players being thrown into games for the Jays. The 40-man roster has only a few players that started the season. This change over has been mostly due to the talents in the Minor Leagues forcing their way onto the roster. Last night it felt like everything finally fell into place. It felt like a changing of the guard moment. The ignition has been started on the Jays’ future and this brand new muscle car is ready to burst off the line.

This feels like the beginning of something special as the young players have become big leaguers. Their confidence has been building over the past weeks and on 9/20/2018 they know they're going to be Toronto Blue Jays and they are hungry to win as they have throughout the Minor Leagues. These guys are ready to contribute and have made it fun to watch again. The best part of this whole thing is that this is only the beginning. The Jays have one of the best Minor League Systems in baseball right now and have possibly one of the best talents in all of baseball just inches away from making a big league debut.

The Blue Jays are in the same spot as some of the most recently successful teams. They are in that stage where the Astros, Cubs, and Yankees were after some rough seasons. They put in the hard work to rebuild their Minor League systems and have reaped the benefits since. The Yankees rebuilt their Major League team in what felt like record time. The Blue Jays have a chance to be relevant in 2019 if these youngsters perform as they have been through the month of September. If they continue to trend upward with their prospects like they have been, the Blue Jays could beat the Yankees’ turnaround by taking just 3 years to get back to the playoffs. Mark down 9/20/18 as the day the newest era of Toronto Blue Jays baseball was born.

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The Fisher Cats Are Putting the Jays Future in the Spotlight


Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)

This season the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have been the juggernaut of the Eastern League. They have been a full on power house as they have dominated in every aspect of this game. The level of competition they have been playing this season has been no slouch either. The teams in the Eastern League have been very successful as they competed with the Fisher Cats for the best team in the league.

The Fisher Cats just swept one of these opponents in the Trenton Thunder. The Thunder won the Eastern Division with a 79-61 record during the regular season, where the Cats finished just behind them with a 76-62 record. Looking at that close division race that was only separated by a couple games led many to believe that the first round of the playoffs was going to be a battle. The Fisher Cats quickly put that idea to rest as they out scored the Thunder 23 to 5 during the 3-game sweep. As the Cats ride the lightning into the Championship series against the Akron Rubberducks, Blue Jays fans should be taking notice.

Throughout this season, the Fisher Cats have played host to some of the best talent the Blue Jays’ system has to offer. At the moment, the roster boasts seven of the Jays Top 30 Prospects. The talents of Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Hector Perez, T.J. Zeuch, Santiago Espinal, Forest Wall, and Jordan Romano have been main parts of this team. This team also has top contributors in Harold Ramirez and Max Pentecost. Ramirez has been one of the team’s most consistent hitters throughout the season and has shown no signs of slowing down. He is currently sporting a beautiful .320 batting average with 11 homers and 70 RBIs. Pentecost has had a stellar second half to his season and has really come on of late to offer another threat in the heart of this lineup.

So that is what has been going on lately with the Fisher Cats, but do not forget that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. started his historic season in New Hampshire. At the time of his promotion to the Buffalo Bisons, he was batting a mere .402 with 60 RBI on 19 doubles and 14 homers. Many thought this team would fade away after Vlad was promoted along with other top prospects Sean Reid-Foley, Jonathan Davis, Thomas Pannone, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., but this team continued to gel and find ways to win.

This success can be attributed to a solid attack on offense and continued success from the young arms as they were called up from Dunedin. The Co-Champions of the 2017 Florida State League provided plenty of fruit for the Fisher Cats in 2018. There are nine active Fisher Cats that were on this Championship team with the Dunedin Blue Jays a year ago. This success has built a foundation for championships. As a cohesive unit this year, the Cats ferocious offense generated the highest runs per game average in the league. Their offense generated 5.08 runs per game and their closest foe were their Championship rivals - the Rubberducks - with 4.75 runs per game. The Fisher Cats’ offense also placed 1st in the league in Runs (706), Hits (1263), doubles (270), RBIs (650), Stolen Bases (153), and all three triple slash categories (.272 / .427 / .772). This is a prolific offense heading into the Championship Series.

On the other side of the ball, the pitching was average with a few standout performers. Ace T.J. Zeuch led the way with 3.08 ERA in 120 innings this season. The emergence of such dominance earned him a chance to start Game One of the Division Series in which he continued to mow through hitters. Jordan Romano was having an incredible season as well, but slumped at the end of the season and finished with a 4.13 ERA; even with an incredible WHIP of 1.187. The rest of the rotation and the bullpen was not as consistent and had flashes of greatness but was clearly benefiting from this great offense.

So what is next for this solid all-around team? Today, they start the Championship Series against the Akron Rubberducks and will look to keep the fuse lit on this explosive offense. The offense has been hot to finish the season and through the Division Series. Look for them to back up solid performances from Zeuch and Romano in the first couple games. They will be in Akron for the first two games. They will be looking to take at least one of those two games before heading home for the final three games if needed. I expect the killer B’s at the top of this lineup in Bichette and Biggio to have big series on offense. My breakout picks will be Harold Ramirez and Max Pentecost.

This is the look all of you Blue Jays fans have been looking for in your crystal balls. Watch this series closely because many of these names will be making debuts in Toronto over the next year or so. Some maybe sooner rather than later as they continue to perform at a high level and force the organizations hand.

Go Fisher Cats!!!

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Examining The Blue Jays' Call-Ups


Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)

     With it being September now, the rosters have expanded and teams are calling up a number of players from their farm systems. The Blue Jays have certainly done that, and even though we won’t be seeing Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette, or Cavan Biggio this September, we will be getting a good look at some of the Jays’ other young players.

     Guys like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid-Foley and Danny Jansen were already up with the big club, but now we’re seeing Rowdy Tellez, Jonathan Davis, and Reese McGuire as well. Both Tellez and Davis made their MLB debuts in Wednesday’s game, and it went disastrously for one of them, and perfect for the other. Davis started in centre field and went 0-3 with 3 strikeouts and 7 runners left on base. As for Tellez, he had a pinch-hit opportunity in the bottom of the 6th and ripped the first pitch he saw into the right-centre field gap. Tellez has now gone on to hit 5 more doubles in his short time up, and is making history as he goes.

    Since the rosters are a lot more crowded with rookies now, it’s going to be difficult for the Blue Jays to find a lot of playing time for everyone. John Gibbons is going to have to figure out how to balance young players vs. proven veterans. Although, I’m not sure how many guys on the current roster can be classified as “proven veterans." Just looking at the catcher position, there are 4 guys who can play back there right now. I know Gibbons will probably want to mix everyone in there, but the way I see it, they should be giving the majority of the workload to Jansen and McGuire, while toning down the workload of Martin and Maile. The reason for this is that there really isn’t anything that the Jays can gain from playing Martin and Maile at catcher, but if they play these young prospects a lot, they can give them valuable experience that will be useful for them down the road. I love Russell Martin, but the guy isn’t even hitting .200, and there really isn’t anything else that he can give you this year.

   As for the rest of the infield, the Jays are going to be cycling through that a lot as well for the next few weeks. In fact, I seriously doubt that the Blue Jays will put out the same lineup two days in a row at any point this month. Travis, Diaz, and Smoak have been there all along, but the Jays now also have Gurriel, Richard Urena, and Rowdy Tellez to use. At first base/DH, the Jays will rotate through with Smoak, Morales and Tellez. Everyday you have one of them playing first, one at DH, and one sitting, and then rotate that sequence every game. As for the middle infielders, the Jays will start with Travis at 2nd and Gurriel at short, and then they can plug in Urena and Diaz there as well. And then at 3rd base, Diaz will probably get most of the work there, with Russell Martin occasionally playing.

   Onto the outfield, the Blue Jays have been rotating through 4 guys out there, but with Jonathan Davis and Dwight Smith Jr. coming up, as well as Anthony Alford and Dalton Pompey coming up soon, we could see some different looks out there. I mostly expect Davis, Smith Jr., and Pompey to be used as pinch runners, but they could also get a few starts in the outfield. Going into next season, the Jays have 4 pretty good options in the outfield, with Pillar, Grichuk, McKinney, and Hernandez, but I would like to see the Jays give Anthony Alford a shot to make it next year. He’s been with the big league club a few times now and I think they should finally give him an extended stay with the team. That way you can see more of him at the big league level, and get a real gauge for how good he is.

   Finally, on the mound, the Blue Jays are going with a 6-man rotation right now. Sanchez, Borucki, Gaviglio, and Estrada remain with the team, but now Sean Reid-Foley and Thomas Pannone are in the mix as well. Pannone’s in there to replace Marcus Stroman, who continues to struggle with a blister on his pitching hand, and that could keep him out for the rest of this season. One guy that needs to pitch well this month is Aaron Sanchez. He’s finally made a few starts in a row, and he was pretty good in his last outing against the Rays as he went 6 innings, giving up 3 runs, and picking up 8 strikeouts. This obviously hasn’t been a successful year for Sanchez, but he can still finish on a positive note and go into 2019 on a positive note.

   As for the bullpen, there’s too many guys down there to list all of them, but I’ll point out some of the interesting storylines. There are 3 main guys that I’m excited to watch this month out of the ‘pen. First off, there’s David Paulino, who was acquired as a part of the Roberto Osuna trade. His prospect value has gone down since a few years ago, but he can still be very effective, and I’m interested to see how he does. Second, Jose Fernandez has been very good since his call-up to the Jays. He’s gotten into 4 games and posted a 1.93 ERA and I’m excited to see how he does with more innings. Lastly, I want to see more of Justin Shafer, who was up earlier in the year, and if he does well again now, I think he could be in the fold more next year’s team.

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

SOT6 Podcast - Episode 75


Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)




Toronto Blue Jays Talk

  • Well, we knew it was going to happen sooner or later. The inevitable has become realized as the Toronto Blue Jays have traded former MVP, Josh Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians for a Player to be Named Later (rumored to be Julian Merryweather). Many fans are outraged over how the situation was handled and how the end of the Donaldson/Blue Jays tenure is so underwhelming. Given how much he has done for the team since his arrival in 2015, many fans feel he deserved better. But business needed to be done.

  • To discuss the whole JD trade is host Adam Corsair with guests Ryan DiFrancesco of Jays Droppings and Blue Jays Nation, and Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views. The trio get into the entire trade and what this means for the Jays moving forward. Does this damage the level of confidence fans should have for Shapiro and Atkins? Was the talk of trying to compete a facade that we bought into? Or is just simply an unfortunate situation that couldn't end positively? 

    It's a Toronto Blue Jays show that you won't want to miss!

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanDifrancesco & @JDroppings
Visit Ryan's Work: HERE & HERE

Follow Connor on Twitter: @TO_SportsViews & @connorchambers
Visit Connor's work: HERE

Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"

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Free Agent Options For The Blue Jays

Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)

       The upcoming MLB free agent class is touted as one of the most star studded classes that we’ve seen in a while. The likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will reach the open market for the first times in their careers, and it will be very interesting to see where those two end up. However, as a Blue Jays fan, I’m not at all expecting the team to go after either of these two stars. So I’ve decided to look at some of the other free agents in this year’s class, and who the Jays could realistically sign. In this article, I’ll list 5 players that I think the Jays should go after, and why they should.

       When you look at next year’s team, it’s abundantly clear that the infield is covered and that no significant additions need to be made. The Jays have several options around the infield, with Diaz, Gurriel, Urena, Tulowitzki, Drury, Solarte, Travis, Bichette, Smoak, and even potentially Donaldson in the mix. With that, I think it’s pretty unlikely that we see any additions to the infield, but I would expect Diaz and Solarte to be traded away this off-season to make some more room for some other players.

       As for the rest of the team, that’s where I could see some changes made. The Jays have some good pieces in the outfield, with Billy Mckinney, Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk all likely returning next year. But, there is also a huge question mark on whether or not Kevin Pillar will return with the team. It seems like every winter we think Pillar will get traded, and maybe this is the year. Pillar has always been an excellent defender, but his inconsistency at the plate brings him down. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s still here next year, but I would also like the team to at least look at moving him to another club. It’s easy to look at this outfield core and say it’s set for next year, but I still think they could sign someone. There will be injuries for sure, and in order to prepare for that, the team needs to be active in the free agent market.

       Pitching is where the Blue Jays will likely make the most noise in free agency. They’re going to have at least 1 spot in the rotation open, as well as a few bullpen spots. I don’t think the Jays need to sign a No.1 guy, but if they were to sign a No.3 or 4 starter, it would really help bolster the rotation. As for the bullpen, we know of a few guys who will probably be back there next year. Ken Giles will likely remain the closer next year, and Ryan Tepera will probably stay in an 8th inning role. I think Justin Shafer has earned himself a spot back there with how well he pitched in his call up, and then I think Joe Biagini will be in the bullpen as a long reliever next year. But other than that, the Jays don’t have many locks for positions back there, and that will lead to them being active in the market for relievers.

Free Agent No.1 - Marwin Gonzalez

Right now, the Jays don’t really have a super-utility guy who can play all around the outfield and the infield. Marwin Gonzalez perfectly fits that bill, and he does it while being an above average hitter as well. This year, he’s hitting .254 with 14 homers and 58 RBIs, and that’s a very good line; but last year he was even better, hitting .303 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs. Gonzalez also has championship pedigree, as he was part of last year’s Astros, who won the World Series. If the Jays were to sign him, he would probably start in left field, and then move around the field more as injuries start to pile up. For example, if Devon Travis goes down, you play him at 2nd, or if Justin Smoak goes down, he can play 1st. A lot of teams will be in the mix for Gonzalez as he’s such a good player, but I really think that the Jays should push hard for a guy like him and maybe even overpay a bit.

Free Agent No.2 - J.A. Happ


This name is familiar to Jays fans, because he pitched here for 2 ½ seasons before being dealt to the Yankees at the trade deadline. Happ has already said that he might want to re-sign here, and a reunion between the two sides makes a lot of sense. First of all, Happ would get to pitch in a place where he’s already comfortable, and he wouldn’t really have to adjust to being with a new team. Second of all, Happ is a really good pitcher, and he would easily slot in at the number 3 spot in the Jays’ rotation if Stroman and Sanchez are both healthy. He holds a 3.80 ERA this season, and that’s after posting a 3.53 ERA the year before, and a 3.18 ERA the year before that. You know what you’re getting with Happ, so signing him wouldn’t be very risky, and I think overall, this makes a lot of sense for everyone involved.

Free Agent No.3 - Kelvin Herrera

Herrera is currently on the disabled list and might miss the rest of the 2018 season. But that shouldn’t hurt his free agent value very much, considering how dominant he’s been over his career. He holds a 2.44 ERA between Kansas City and Washington this season, and a career ERA of 2.82. His closing days are behind him, but Herrera can still be a dominant late inning reliever, like he was for the Royals when they were making their World Series runs. The Jays should definitely look at signing Herrera, because other than Giles and Tepera, I’m not sure who’s going to get outs late in games for them.

Free Agent No.4 - Tony Sipp


With Aaron Loup gone and Thomas Pannone probably heading towards being a starter, the Jays don’t have a “lefty specialist” in their bullpen. They could try Tim Mayza out in that spot, but I think we’ve seen enough of him to know that he’s not very effective at the big league level. So, that should lead the Jays to look at some free agent pitchers who can fill the role. The one I think they should go after is Tony Sipp. Sipp has had an up and down career to this point, but currently holds a 2.01 ERA in 41 games this season. He’s also striking out more batters this year, and that shows in his 9.8 strikeouts per 9, which is his highest since 2015. There’s no question that Sipp is a wildcard; he’s been very inconsistent in his career. But at this point, he’s dominating hitters, and it’s worth it for the Blue Jays to take a shot on a guy like him because they might get an outstanding pitcher out of it.

Free Agent No.5 - Matt Harvey


This is probably the least realistic one on this list, but I do think it makes some sense. After coming into this season as the ace of the Mets' staff, Matt Harvey’s career has completely fallen off of the rails. He was abysmal this year with the Mets, and now finds himself on the Reds where he continues to struggle. He has put up better numbers in Cincinnati, but still not numbers that show he’s back to being a #1 starter. With all of that being said, Harvey is set to become a free agent this offseason and I think the Blue Jays should take a shot at signing him. Yes, he’s been bad this season, but good pitchers have bad seasons all the time, and what’s stopping him from bouncing back next year? It’s definitely a bit risky, but if you were to offer him a short-term deal and plug him into the rotation, you might be pleasantly surprised with the results. And if he continues to struggle, then he’ll be gone soon because he’d be on a short contract. Again, this probably won’t happen, but if I were the GM, I’d give it a shot for sure.

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