Toronto Blue Jays – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-06-23T21:33:56Z WordPress Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL East Notes: Red Sox, Jones, Orioles, Sanchez, Blue Jays]]> 2018-06-23T14:03:16Z 2018-06-23T14:03:16Z It’s still early in the season relative to the league’s non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July, so with the disclaimer that trade are still subject to change before then, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Red Sox “have an eye on” adding a reliever and a right-handed hitter to complement the team. Drellich points out that these types of additions would not mean “mortgaging” the team’s already-thin farm system, as the addition of a righty-bat would likely be an infielder to balance out the club’s lefty-heavy group. He also cites some troubling statistics about the usage and performance of pinch-hitters for the club, signaling that a backup plan for Dustin Pedroia could help the team in matchup situations. The veteran was seen as likely to resume baseball activities shortly after returning to the DL on June 2nd, but still has yet to be cleared for such activities three weeks later.

Other news and notes from around a topheavy AL East division…

  • Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun takes a look at the situation of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who’s enjoying one of his best calendar months in years. Per Meoli, Jones isn’t concerned about all the resulting trade chatter surrounding him. “I can’t let it bother me. I’m in a different part of my life to where I’m not anticipating a $150 million, $200 million, $300 million offer this offseason. I’m more just, ’Let me go be a pro, do what I do best,’ and that’s play the game hard and live with the result. All the other stuff, all the projections and this and that, that’s all whatever.” Notably, Jones is well aware that he “holds all the cards” in regards to where (or if) he’s traded, as the veteran’s been with the O’s long enough to qualify for ten-and-five rights.
  • Speaking of the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of takes a look at what the club’s infield (and roster) could look like post-Machado, if and when the veteran is shipped to another club. Kubatko notes that where fellow infielder Tim Beckham plays will depend upon whether or not the O’s get a major-league ready shortstop as part of the return for their superstar (if the don’t, Beckham seems likely to take over the position). In addition to all this speculation, Kubatko adds that Danny Valencia could see time at third in that case, but has also played himself into potential trade-chip status.
  • Young Blue Jays hurler Aaron Sanchez left last night’s game with a finger contusion, Shi Davidi of reports, noting that his departure throws a question mark into Toronto’s rotation. It’s not clear at this juncture whether Sanchez’ current finger issue is in any way related to the blister-related issues that limited him to just 36 innings last season, though reports of a contusion would seem to make that improbable. With so many moving parts on the Jays’ pitching staff, the Davidi wonders how the rotation alignment will shake out; there’s been some suggestion that Jaime Garcia could move to the bullpen with Marcus Stroman and Sam Gaviglio set to return from the DL and paternity list soon, respectively.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLB Suspends Roberto Osuna For 75 Games]]> 2018-06-22T23:03:42Z 2018-06-22T21:55:30Z After a long-pending investigation, Major League Baseball has announced a 75-game suspension of Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna under the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. The ban is retroactive to May 8th and will end on August 4th of this year. Osuna will not appeal the decision, the league states.

Manfred’s statement does not specify the league’s findings beyond stating that he determined Osuna to have violated the domestic violence policy. In some of the prior announcements of suspensions under the policy, Manfred has offered factual assessments and some explanation of the basis for the punishment.

In another (perhaps related) distinction from some prior precedent, the criminal case against Osuna is still pending. The league has generally waited until criminal matters are fully litigated or otherwise resolved, at least in part to facilitate the acquisition of information.

In this case, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, “it is believed MLB was able to interview the alleged victim” of the domestic assault. Osuna is said to be facing charges of assaulting his girlfriend. It seems, then, that commissioner Rob Manfred has been able to secure sufficient information to reach a determination.

There was surely greater pressure to reach a resolution given that the issue arose during the season. Osuna has been on administrative leave since his arrest, which explains the retroactive treatment. Heyman previously reported that the Toronto organization had unsuccessfully lobbied MLB for an expedited handling.

Under the policy, Manfred can issue suspensions or other punishments upon a finding that a player has committed a domestic assault or otherwise violated the terms of the policy, regardless of whether charges are brought or a conviction is secured. Punishment is subject to a “just cause” standard, though that will not be tested since Osuna has agreed to forego any appeal.

The 75-game duration of this suspension makes it the third-longest issued under the policy. Jose Torres (100 games) and Hector Olivera (82 games) hold the dubious distinction of having merited lengthier bans.

As the suspension is unpaid, Osuna will lose something on the order of $2.5MM of his $5.3MM salary for the season. It remains to be seen just how the remainder of his career will be impacted — it seems reasonable to expect broader ramifications, certainly — but at a minimum, his future potential arbitration earnings will be impacted substantially by the time he will have missed this season.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Ryan Tepera Drawing Trade Interest]]> 2018-06-20T19:59:35Z 2018-06-20T19:59:35Z
  • Morosi also tweets that Blue Jays righty Ryan Tepera is generating trade interest. It stands to reason that virtually every player of even modest value on Toronto’s roster will draw inquiries, of course, considering that the team is 16 games out of first place in the AL East and is facing a similarly bleak outlook in the Wild Card standings. Morosi notes Tepera’s career-best K/9 rate in 2018, though in this instance, that hardly seems like a reason to expect his value to increase; Tepera’s 9.5 K/9 mark is only nominally higher than last year’s 9.4 K/9, and his overall 26.8 strikeout percentage compares favorably to last year’s 25.4 percent mark. Tepera has made modest gains across the board in terms of fastball velocity (95.3 mph), swinging-strike rate (13.9 percent) and chase rate (34.2 percent), but his greater appeal is simply one of club control. He’s arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and controlled cheaply through the 2021 season. Tepera will turn 31 this winter, which won’t enhance his appeal, but he’s a hard-thrower with a 3.27 ERA and 137 strikeouts against 51 walks in his past 132 MLB innings.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Amateur Draft Signings: 6/20/18]]> 2018-06-20T17:58:07Z 2018-06-20T17:58:07Z Previously reported near-agreements for Angels first-rounder Jordyn Adams and Cubs first-rounder Nico Hoerner have now become official, according to a pair of reports from Jim Callis of and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sport (Twitter links). Adams will take home a $4.1MM bonus that tops his slot value by roughly $700K, while Hoerner receives the full-slot value of $2.724MM, as The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney said was likely when reporting the deal to be close.

    Here’s an update on some notable signings from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Fangraphs,, Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law; Fangraphs and scouting reports are available to the public free of charge, while the others require subscriptions):

    • The Indians have signed supplemental first-rounder Lenny Torres, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Callis adds that he’ll receive a $1.35MM signing bonus, which falls just under $400K shy of his overall slot value at No. 41 overall. Fangraphs (39) and Law (40) ranked Torres most aggressively, praising a fastball that touches 97 mph but both also acknowledging that his current lack of command and his size lead to some risk that he’s bullpen-bound and won’t last as a starter. Fangraphs notes that he’s flashed an above-average to plus changeup in the past, while Law writes that he could eventually have an above-average curve as well. He’d been committed to St. John’s but will enter pro ball instead.
    • Callis also tweets that the Rockies agreed to terms on a $2MM bonus with supplemental pick Grant Lavigne. That comes in $296K above his $1.704MM slot value at No. 42 overall. A high school first baseman out of New Hampshire, Lavigne is listed at 6’4″ and 230 pounds already at the age of 18. Law ranked him 60th and praised his feel to hit and plus raw power, wondering if he’d have gone higher in the draft had he played in warmer weather where he’d face better competition. Callis and colleague Jonathan Mayo write in their report that he’s a better runner than would be expected, though his speed is still a bit below average.
    • The Blue Jays announced that they’ve signed second-rounder Griffin Conine, and Callis adds that he’ll receive the full $1.35MM slot value of his No. 52 overall selection. Somewhat remarkably, Conine ranked 50th on all of the pre-draft rankings listed in the intro above. The son of former Major League All-Star Jeff Conine, Griffin starred as an outfielder at Duke, where he hit .286/.410/.608 with 18 homers, 15 doubles and a pair of triples and walked in 15.5 percent of his 278 plate appearances. Conine had first-round potential (top 10, per Law) heading into the season but struck out at the worst rate of his college career (26.6 percent) and dropped accordingly. He’s limited to the outfield corners and has plenty of raw power and a strong arm but concerns about his hit tool.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees, Mariners Interested In J.A. Happ]]> 2018-06-18T15:03:57Z 2018-06-18T15:03:57Z The Yankees and Mariners are among the clubs interested in Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, tweets Jon Morosi of Happ figures to be one of the top rentals available on the starting pitching market this summer, if not the top rental, so it’s hardly a surprise to see a pair of contending clubs with some rotation question marks eyeing the 35-year-old southpaw. Presumably, most contending clubs have at least considered making a run.

    Happ is in the final season of a three-year, $36MM contract that has proven to be a bargain for the Jays. In 423 innings since signing that deal, he’s worked to a 3.36 ERA, averaging 8.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 with slightly above-average ground-ball tendencies. Happ’s 2018 season is among his best yet, as he’s sporting a career-best 10.2 K/9 mark and a 10.4 percent swinging-strike rate. Lefties haven’t stood a chance against him (.159/.188/.246), while the efforts of right-handed opponents have been relatively futile in their own right (.217/.294/.346). Cole Hamels may have Happ topped in name value, but Happ is the better pitcher and this point and looks like one of the clear prizes of the summer trade market.

    Happ is earning $13MM this season, and there’s still about $7.3MM of that sum remaining to be paid out before season’s end. That’s hardly an insignificant sum, but it’s not a backbreaking total for most contending clubs, either. And, of course, the Blue Jays could help to facilitate the trade by agreeing to pay down a portion of Happ’s remaining salary as a means of helping to extract the best possible return.

    Both New York and Seattle have had some issues in their rotation, even though both clubs have received above-average results from their starting pitching. The Yankees, for instance, recently lost left-hander Jordan Montgomery to Tommy John surgery and have received inconsistent contributions from Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka. Domingo German has not seized the fifth spot in the rotation in Montgomery’s absence.

    The Mariners, meanwhile, have received just 9 2/3 innings from Erasmo Ramirez in 2018. Felix Hernandez has been hammered for a 5.44 ERA, and while Wade LeBlanc has been terrific in the fifth starter’s role, there are questions about the 33-year-old’s ability to sustain his current level of production.

    As for the Blue Jays, despite the fact that they just completed sweeps of the Nationals and Orioles, it still seems likely that they’ll be open to selling off veteran assets this summer. Even after going 7-3 in their past 10 games, the Jays are sitting at 33-38 on the season, placing them 15 games out of first place in the American League East and a similarly daunting 12.5 games back of a Wild Card spot in the American League. Toronto also has just six games against sub-.500 teams remaining between now and the All-Star break, so their upcoming schedule doesn’t present an easy road back to contention.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rosenthal On Josh Donaldson's Value]]> 2018-06-19T19:26:58Z 2018-06-17T20:17:43Z
  • Between third baseman Josh Donaldson and left-hander J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays’ top two impending free agents, the latter is likely to bring back the greater return at the trade deadline, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says (video link). Unlike Happ, Donaldson has been a superstar at his best, but the onetime MVP is now amid an underwhelming season at an inopportune time. As Rosenthal points out, not only is the 32-year-old Donaldson on the disabled list for the second time this season, but he has posted his worst numbers since 2012 – the year before he broke out – and will still have about $7MM coming his way at the July 31 deadline. Further, there could be other established third base options on the market in Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas and Adrian Beltre. The 35-year-old Happ, meanwhile, is enjoying a fourth straight above-average season and has logged a career-best strikeout rate (10.23 K/9) over 82 2/3 innings. He may end up as the most appealing starter on the block in the next month and a half.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Donaldson, Blue Jays, Ravin, May, Goody]]> 2018-06-16T14:09:17Z 2018-06-16T14:09:17Z Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson is expected to miss “at least a few more days” before getting a chance to return to the Blue Jays’ lineup. A report from Gregor Chisholm of indicates that Donaldson still hasn’t felt comfortable running at full speed, or as manager John Gibbons puts it, “he still couldn’t cut it loose,” during a series of running drills on Thursday. The third baseman has been out since May 28th with a sore calf muscle. Coupled with the shoulder injury he dealt with earlier this season, one has to wonder just how much these injury concerns will impact the 32-year-old Donaldson’s free agent stock headed into the 2018-2019 offseason. It’s not as though he’s produced while on the field, either: his .234/.333/.423 slash line (despite a .303 BABIP) is a far cry from his typical production, while his strikeout rate sits at a career-high 27.7%.

    As for the Blue Jays, they’re at least likely to get Marcus Stroman and Steve Pearce back in the near future, as both are currently embarking on rehab assignments in the minor leagues.

    Let’s take a look at some other injury situations around baseball…

    • Nate Rowan, beat reporter for the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, tweets that Trevor May is headed to the DL with shoulder inflammation. The move is retroactive to June 14th. May’s only recently made his way back from Tommy John surgery, a recovery he wrote about for MLBTR; he was optioned to Triple-A immediately following his activation. There’s no word yet on the severity of the shoulder situation or how long May is expected to be out. In his most recent major league action, May pitched to a 5.27 ERA across 44 relief appearances for the Twins.
    • Another AL Central reliever received unfortunate news today as well. Nick Goody of the Indians visited Dr. James Andrews after feeling soreness during his throwing program. The diagnosis remains elbow hyperextension and posterior elbow inflammation, and though that’s far from the worst-case scenario, he’ll be shut down for at least three weeks after receiving a PRP injection. It’s bad news for an Indians club that has seen its bullpen go from the upper echelon in the league in 2017 to a bottom-dweller in 2018.
    • Braves reliever Josh Ravin (currently pitching for Triple-A Gwinnett) experienced a scare yesterday when he was struck in the face by a line drive. Ravin’s stable, however (at least enough so to tweet), and is set to be further evaluated on Sunday in Atlanta when the swelling goes down. The current diagnosis is five facial fractures and a concussion. Ravin has yet to allow a run in Gwinnett across 18 innings, during which time he’s struck out 30 batters and walked nine.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Claim Deck McGuire, Place Matt Bush On 10-Day DL]]> 2018-06-15T20:25:21Z 2018-06-15T20:05:42Z The Rangers have claimed righty Deck McGuire off waivers from the Blue Jays, per a club announcement. He’ll be optioned to Triple-A.

    The Texas organization has also shifted righty Matt Bush to the 10-day DL with what is being called a right elbow strain. Southpaws Yohander Mendez and Brandon Mann have been called up to the MLB roster from Round Rock.

    McGuire was designated for assignment recently after throwing 9 1/3 middling innings for the Jays. But he produced solid results last year in his first, brief MLB action and has been effective at Triple-A over the past two seasons.

    Bush just hasn’t pitched to his prior standard thus far in 2018. His upper-nineties heater is down about a tick on average, his swinging-strike rate has dropped to 9.4%, and he’s averaging just 7.4 K/9 with 5.5 BB/9 along with a 4.70 ERA that may understate his struggles somewhat.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Agree To Terms With Jordan Groshans, Adam Kloffenstein]]> 2018-06-12T19:55:02Z 2018-06-12T15:50:35Z 12:24pm: Groshans will receive $3.4MM, per’s Jim Callis (on Twitter), leaving just over $800K of the extra pool space needed to fit Kloffenstein. The latter’s precise bonus amount is $2.45MM, Callis adds on Twitter.

    10:50am: The Blue Jays have reportedly agreed to terms with top draft choice Jordan Groshans and third-rounder Adam Kloffenstein. The duo is expected to command a major portion of the team’s overall draft pool.

    Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram reported Kloffenstein’s agreement to a bonus in the $2.5MM range, though the exact number is not yet known. Meanwhile, Shi Davidi of reported that the team had sorted bonus values out on draft night with both players. It’s still unknown just what Groshans will sign for, but Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets that there is now a deal in place with the first-rounder.

    Making this pair of additions work was clearly the key to the Toronto draft strategy. Groshans was taken with the 12th overall pick, which comes with a $4,200,900 allocation. Kloffenstein went 88th, at a $652,900 slot, meaning the team needed to set aside close to $2MM of pool availability from other picks in order to sort the money out.

    Groshans, a Kansas commit who plays on the left side of the infield, topped out at 28th in pre-draft rankings. Fangraphs put him there, but was the only outlet to tab him as among the top thirty players eligible for selection. Groshans is said to have interesting power upside and an “electric” overall set of tools, but also still a few things to iron out as a pro.

    As for Kloffenstein, he’s a righty who had been committed to play his college ball at TCU. As Davidi details in his story, Kloffenstein had an interesting draft experience amidst uncertainty as to whether any team would meet his bonus request. In the end, he’ll take a deal to join the same organization as his neighbor and friend. Kloffenstein’s highest grade came from Baseball America, which cited the big-framed hurler’s recent strides and remaining projectability.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Vladimir Guerrero Jr. To Miss Several More Weeks ]]> 2018-06-10T20:59:04Z 2018-06-10T20:58:05Z
  • Forget about seeing Blue Jays super prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the majors in the immediate future. The 19-year-old third baseman, who went on the Double-A disabled list this week, has a strained patellar tendon in his left knee, Gregor Chisholm of tweets. The Jays will bring Guerrero along slowly in his recovery and re-evaluate him in four weeks, Chisholm adds. The injury has derailed an incredible year for Guerrero, who pushed for a major league promotion with a .407/.457/.667 line and 11 home runs in his first 235 Double-A plate appearances.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Claim Preston Guilmet, Designate Deck McGuire]]> 2018-06-09T19:48:00Z 2018-06-09T19:36:35Z The Blue Jays have claimed right-hander Preston Guilmet off waivers from the Cardinals, per an announcement from Toronto. To make room for Guilmet, the Jays designated righty Deck McGuire for assignment.

    This will be Guilmet’s second stint with the Toronto organization, as he previously tossed 14 1/3 innings with its Triple-A affiliate in 2015. The 30-year-old has combined for 260 1/3 innings at Triple-A with multiple franchises and logged a 2.39 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9. However, Guilmet hasn’t been anywhere near that successful across 25 major league frames (9.36 ERA, 7.92 K/9, 3.24 BB/9) with the Indians, Orioles, Brewers, Rays and Cardinals. He made a pair of appearances with St. Louis this week and yielded five earned runs in two innings, leading the Redbirds to designate him on Thursday.

    The Jays selected McGuire 10th overall in the 2010 draft, and he has finally seen his first action with the club this season, allowing six earned runs in 8 1/3 innings. The 28-year-old – who, like Guilmet, is in his second stint with the Jays – also garnered a bit of experience in the majors with the Reds last season. Most of his work has come in the upper levels of the minors, including 334 frames at Triple-A, where he has registered a 4.99 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Notes: Vlad Jr., Outfield Corners, Gaviglio]]> 2018-06-08T01:42:34Z 2018-06-08T01:42:34Z Blue Jays fans have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but they’ll have to wait a bit longer, as the 19-year-old phenom was placed on the minor league disabled list today after incurring a leg injury (link via Chris Bumbaca of Guerrero went from first to second on a single, slid into the bag and immediately signaled for a trainer’s assistance before exiting the contest, though Fisher Cats manager John Schneider called the placement “cautious.” The team didn’t disclose further details on Guerrero’s injury, though all indications from the organization to this point seem to be that it’s minor.

    Here’s more out of Toronto…

    • While the Jays have played Teoscar Hernandez more in right field than it left, it seems that he’ll move to left field on a largely permanent basis moving forward. As’s Gregor Chisholm writes, the team feels that Hernandez has the arm for right field but that his range and instincts are better suited for the other corner slot. Randal Grichuk will likely get another shot to take the reins in right field, where he comes with a history of strong defensive ratings (career +9.1 UZR/150). Grichuk has gotten off to a disastrous start to his Blue Jays career, hitting .115/.202/.269 in 89 plate appearances, though Statcast gives some reason to be optimistic; Grichuk’s 99.1 mph average exit velocity on balls in the air and knack for barreling the ball have translated to a .318 xwOBA that dwarfs his current .209 wOBA.
    • Right-hander Sam Gaviglio has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise dreadful season for the Jays, writes Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet. Acquired in a forgettable spring trade in which the Jays sent only cash considerations to the Royals, Gaviglio has stepped up as one of the club’s most consistent starters and has earned a longer look in the rotation. Through 28 2/3 innings thus far, he’s pitched to a 2.51 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 1.26 HR/9 and a 54.4 percent ground-ball rate. While it’s obviously a small sample and Gaviglio shouldn’t be expected to continue sporting a sub-3.00 ERA, fielding-independent metrics in that small sample are encouraging. Zwelling takes a look at the manner in which Gaviglio has found his early success. Of course, he also notes that the very fact that Gaviglio is poised to get any type of notable look in the rotation is a testament to the team’s struggles this season and the fact that things have hardly gone as planned. As the Jays struggle, trade chatter surrounding veterans on the club will only increase. J.A. Happ’s name has already begun to pop up on the rumor mill (FanRag’s Jon Heyman took a look at that earlier today), and if the Jays do deal from their rotation it could open the door for Gaviglio to get an even lengthier audition.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Acquire Tyler Ladendorf From Blue Jays]]> 2018-06-02T04:17:23Z 2018-06-02T03:33:40Z
  • The D-backs acquired infielder Tyler Ladendorf from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports. A second-round pick of the Twins back in 2007, Ladendorf eventually reached the Majors with the A’s but hit just .123/.149/.154 in 68 plate appearances. Ladendorf appeared in just two games with the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate and went hitless in six plate appearances, but he’s a career .256/.324/.347 hitter in parts of eight Triple-A seasons.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place Josh Donaldson On 10-Day DL]]> 2018-06-01T22:05:09Z 2018-06-01T21:53:28Z The Blue Jays have placed veteran third baseman Josh Donaldson on the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. Taking the open roster spot will be lefty Tim Mayza, the club also announced.

    Calf tightness is the official cause for the placement, which is backdated to May 29th. Donaldson previously missed time this year owing to a shoulder ailment.

    It’s obviously disappointing for the Jays to see Donaldson again hit the DL. There had been at least some hope that he’d manage to avoid it, but evidently the injury was not coming along as hoped. His outlook remains largely unknown, though it seems generally promising that the club felt it worthwhile to wait a few days before deciding upon the move.

    Donaldson’s every move is under a microscope given the circumstances. He’s a pending free agent playing for a team that is now six games under .500 and already staring at a 13.5 game deficit in the AL East. That makes Donaldson a potentially significant trade chip. And that’s all before considering his status for the upcoming free agent market.

    The 32-year-old Donaldson has long been seen as a big part of a much-hyped 2018-19 free agent class. But he has not been quite himself on the field, with a .234/.333/.423 slash through 159 plate appearances, and the injuries are of increasing concern. There’s certainly plenty of time for Donaldson to get back to health and show he’s still capable of playing to his exceedingly lofty standard, though.

    Many of the Toronto faithful will perhaps see this as an opening that ought to be filled by top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The 19-year-old third baseman has laid waste to Double-A pitching all year long, but there’s no indication as of yet that the front office is considering him for a potential MLB promotion.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Notes: Vlad Jr., Happ]]> 2018-05-31T17:35:13Z 2018-05-31T16:57:17Z
  • Buster Olney and Keith Law of ESPN discussed the timeline for Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s promotion in the latest Baseball Tonight podcast (audio link, with Guerrero talk beginning around the 7:30 mark). The pair agrees that Guerrero Jr. should be in Triple-A already and should be called up this summer, despite the fact that some execs with other teams have opined to Olney that the Blue Jays would be ill-advised to lose the year of service time they could gain by delaying his promotion until early 2019. Olney and Law discuss Guerrero Jr.’s defensive and offensive development as well as the marketing opportunities the Jays would have in both 2018 and 2019 by promoting him to the big leagues.
  • For all the speculation surrounding the Yankees and Cole Hamels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post argues that J.A. Happ should be every bit as much on New York’s radar this summer — if not more. Happ, unlike Hamels, doesn’t have a no-trade clause that includes the Yankees, and he’s also earning a more reasonable $12MM this season that aligns with the team’s luxury tax goals. Moreover, though, Sherman notes that Happ simply isn’t separated by Hamels in terms of talent as much as the pair’s reputation would suggest. The 36-year-old reinvented himself following a 2015 trade to the Pirates, and he’s posted better numbers in recent years (and again in 2018) than Hamels. The general thinking extends well beyond the Yankees, of course. If the Blue Jays decide to make Happ available to other teams this July, the southpaw would be one of their most attractive rental chips and would fit on virtually any contender looking to bolster its rotation.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.P. Howell Joins Indy Ball Team]]> 2018-05-29T19:10:49Z 2018-05-29T19:03:32Z Former MLB lefty J.P. Howell has joined the independent league San Rafael Pacifics, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Those interested in an enjoyable story will certainly want to give the article a full read.

    Howell’s new team is a member of the Pacific Association. While that’s not traditionally the top circuit for players looking to catch the eye of MLB scouts, it’s close to home for the veteran hurler. Howell, who has a dozen years of experience at the game’s highest level, says he’s keen to enjoy the experience but also still hopes to make it back to the big leagues.

    Last year, Howell appeared in 16 games with the Blue Jays, but he struggled while dealing with shoulder problems. It wasn’t long ago, though, that he was a productive member of the Dodgers’ bullpen. Prior to that point, he reached the majors with the Royals and spent six campaigns with the Rays. All told, he has accumulated 619 2/3 innings of 3.83 ERA ball in the majors.

    Howell intends to work as a starter with the Pacifics, though it’s not clear that he’s necessarily pursuing a dedicated return to the rotation as part of a strategy for a MLB re-run. The 35-year-old, who broke into the majors as a starter, simply tells Shea: “The more reps the better.”

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Josh Donaldson Dealing With Left Calf Tightness]]> 2018-05-28T20:34:10Z 2018-05-28T20:14:55Z Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson departed their game Monday with left calf tightness, the team announced. Jays doctors are currently evaluating Donaldson, who missed time last season with a right calf strain and was on the shelf earlier this year on account of a shoulder issue. With a playoff berth looking unlikely for Toronto and Donaldson being a free agent at season’s end, he could be a prime trade chip in the coming months. But neither the 32-year-old’s recent injury troubles nor his surprisingly mediocre production (.243/.333/.423 in 159 plate appearances) are helping his stock at the moment. Trade speculation aside, if Donaldson does head back to the DL, calls for the Jays to promote 19-year-old super prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. figure to grow even louder. [Update: Donaldson suggested to Gregor Chisholm of and other reporters that he’s not dealing with a serious injury.]

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Blue Jays Looking For Answers At Shortstop]]> 2018-05-28T05:03:39Z 2018-05-28T05:03:39Z Seven different players have started games at shortstop for the Blue Jays this season, with catcher Russell Martin being the latest (and most unusual) addition to that list on Saturday.  With Troy Tulowitzki and Aledmys Diaz both on the DL, the Jays have been strapped for answers at short,’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes, as the likes of Yangervis Solarte, Martin, or Gio Urshela aren’t really suited to the position, while young shortstops like Richard Urena, Gift Ngoepe, or Lourdes Gurriel Jr. aren’t yet MLB-caliber hitters.  Solarte might end up being the best short-term answer, provided that Devon Travis can regain any of his old hitting form as a regular second baseman.  As for Martin, he has already expressed a willingness to see more time around the infield as a way of helping alleviate Toronto’s infield depth problems, and it isn’t out of the question that he’ll again make an appearance at shortstop given the Jays’ lack at the position.  “Really, we don’t have a true shortstop on the team right now.  Russell’s got good range, he’s got a good arm.  He’s got everything.  He’s got good hands,” manager John Gibbons said.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Prado, Murphy/Goodwin, DeJong, Casilla, Trumbo, More]]> 2018-05-26T05:15:52Z 2018-05-26T05:08:48Z It seems that Marlins infielder Martin Prado has suffered a rather significant left hamstring injury, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The 34-year-old has endured a run of significant problems with his hamstring muscles in the past year or so. Details aren’t yet known, but it certainly sounds as if Prado will be sidelined for a lengthy stretch. He’s owed $13.5MM this year and $15MM for the 2019 campaign. The long-productive infielder has struggled to a .169/.221/.180 batting line in 95 plate appearances on the season.

    Here’s more on the injury front:

    • The Nationals finally got some promising injury news, as they’ll send both Daniel Murphy and Brian Goodwin on rehab assignments beginning tomorrow. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted the news with regard to the former; Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post tweeted manager Davey Martinez’s announcement on both players. Murphy has yet to appear in the 2018 campaign after offseason microfracture surgery, while Goodwin has been slow to return from a wrist injury.
    • It’s still unclear just how long the Cardinals will go without shortstop Paul DeJong, but he says he has been given a four-to-eight week estimate by the medical professionals, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. More than anything, it seems that broad range indicates that there’s not a lot of clarity at this point as to how long it’ll take to heal. All involved will obviously hope that it hues toward the earlier estimate, as the replacement options all have their warts as semi-regular shortstops.
    • It seems the Athletics will go without reliever Santiago Casilla for a stretch. He has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain, as’s Jane Lee reports (Twitter links). Details of his anticipated absence are not yet available, but it’s said to be likely that Casilla will end up on the DL. At the same time, he says he does not believe it’s a serious malady. The veteran entered play today with an ugly 14:13 K/BB ratio, but had allowed eight runs on only 11 hits in his 21 innings of action.
    • Though he seemingly avoided a more concerning fate, Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo will likely head to the DL to rest his ailing right knee, as Roch Kubatko of was among those to report (Twitter links). Trumbo was diagnosed with a fairly significant case of arthritis, which won’t necessarily put him on the shelf for long but also probably isn’t the best news for a defensively limited player who’s owed $12.5MM this year and $13.5MM next. He has been productive thus far in 2018, though, with a .309/.317/.469 slash through 82 plate appearances. On the other hand, it’s somewhat worrisome that he has managed only a pair of home runs and a single walk in that span.
    • In other AL East news … so long as there are no surprises in the interim, Nate Eovaldi will finally start for the Rays on Tuesday, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Yankees announced that reliever Tommy Kahnle is back from the DL, which represents a promising development given the uncertainty that surrounded him when he went on the shelf. And while the Blue Jays still aren’t planning on a near-term return from Troy Tulowitzki, skipper John Gibbons says the veteran shortstop is at least ready to begin running, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of tweets.
    • While the Padres had hoped to welcome back catcher Austin Hedges in relatively short order, he’s now halting his rehab after his problematic right elbow flared up, as’s AJ Cassavell writes. It still seems there’s little reason to fear that Hedges is dealing with a real structural problem, though surely it’s frustrating for the organization that he hasn’t yet fully turned the corner.
    • Meanwhile, the Angels provided an update on hurler Matt Shoemaker, though it mostly suggests ongoing uncertainty with regard to the root of his arm issues. As the club announced, and’s Maria Guardado tweets, the latest examination “ruled out peripheral nerve involvement” but “showed mild edema in the forearm.” Shoemaker is also said to have undergone a bone scan. The results of that weren’t specifically cited, but it seems to suggest that the organization is looking at quite a lot of possibilities to figure out what’s really causing problems for the starter.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Notes: Deadline, Vlad Jr., Osuna]]> 2018-05-25T13:47:19Z 2018-05-25T13:47:19Z The Blue Jays’ recent skid — they’re 2-8 in their past 10 games and now sit at 23-27 on the season — could force the team’s front office to make some tough decisions in the coming months, writes Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link). While there’s certainly still time to turn things around, the Jays look to be a Wild Card contender at best and a clear seller at worst. While impending free agents like J.A. Happ, Josh Donaldson, Curtis Granderson, Marco Estrada, Tyler Clippard, John Axford and Aaron Loup all stand out as plausible trade chips in the event that the team decides to sell off pieces, Rosenthal notes that the club could also have to weigh the possibility of listening on assets with mid-range control remaining. Kevin Pillar, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez are all controlled through 2020 and would be more attractive trade pieces that’d accelerate a turnaround and provide a more immediate boost to the farm.

    As is the case throughout the league, the Blue Jays have the luxury of waiting for better health and potentially better performance before plotting their deadline course, but there’s certainly no shortage of key performers whose contractual control in Toronto is nearing its end.

    A bit more on the game’s lone Canadian team…

    • Blue Jays fans (and fans of any club, for that matter) will want to check out this excellent look at the lengthy process of signing top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., penned by Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. Simmons chats with former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos (now the Braves’ GM), former Latin American scouting director Ismael Cruz (now with the Dodgers) and former president Paul Beeston about one of several trips to the Dominican Republic to meet with Guerrero in person. With MLB forbidding clubs from working players out privately at their own facilities, Anthopoulos solicited help from then-Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion to secure an independent field to host the workout, which Encarnacion attended as well. (Encarnacion provided a decisive endorsement for the then-15-year-old Guerrero.) Simmons’ story examines Guerrero’s connection with Canada dating back to his father’s tenure with the Expos (Guerrero Jr. was born in Montreal) and details the countless hours of work, millions of dollars and even trades to acquire international bonus allotments that went into signing the 19-year-old who is now arguably the game’s most anticipated minor leaguer. “I’ve never seen two guys more convinced about a player than Alex and Ismael were,” Beeston tells Simmons. “If you don’t believe in your GM and in your Latin American scouting director, you have the wrong GM and the wrong scouting director.”
    • It doesn’t seem as if there’s resolution in sight on the investigation into abuse allegations against Jays closer Roberto Osuna, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman. Major League Baseball is still awaiting Canadian law enforcement to conclude its own investigation and has not yet seen any of the reports or findings from those efforts, per Heyman. In previous U.S.-based investigations, commissioner Rob Manfred and his staff have waited for criminal investigations to wrap up before making their own assessment, and it seems that’s also the case in this instance. Heyman also rightly points out that the deal could have significant ramifications for Osuna in terms of service time and free agency; the 23-year-old entered the season with exactly three years of MLB service time, so a suspension that costs him anything more than 15 days of service time would leave him shy of four full years of service at season’s end, thus pushing his path to free agency back by a full year. At present, Osuna can become a free agent after the 2020 season, but a suspension of even modest length would push that back to the 2021-22 offseason. At present, Osuna is still earning service time and being paid while on administrative leave.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[MLB Extends Osuna's Leave Another Week]]> 2018-05-21T17:12:39Z 2018-05-21T17:12:39Z Major League Baseball announced today that Roberto Osuna’s administrative leave has been extended for another week as the Commissioner’s Office continues its ongoing investigation into the domestic abuse allegations that were recently brought forth against the Blue Jays’ closer. (FanRag’s Jon Heyman first tweeted the news.) It’s the second time in as many weeks that MLB has extended Osuna’s leave as Rob Manfred and his staff gather information in advance of a potential suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy. Osuna is currently being paid while on leave and is not occupying a spot on the team’s roster. He would not be paid or accrue Major League service time, however, in the event of a suspension.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Russell Martin Open To More Infield Duty]]> 2018-05-21T02:45:58Z 2018-05-21T02:45:58Z
  • Russell Martin tells’s Jeff Blair that he is willing to spend more time as an infielder in the latter stages of his career.  “Whatever management thinks makes the team better, gives us a better chance to win.  You know, the goal for me on any team I’ve played on is what’s best for the squad.  And I’ve always been a fan of the infield,” Martin said.  The Blue Jays catcher has 33 career appearances as a third baseman, four at second base, and one game each at shortstop and right field during his 13-year career, so he certainly provides more versatility than most backstops.  Due to several Toronto infielders landing on the DL and backup catcher Luke Maile’s surprisingly hot bat, Martin has already made four appearances at third base this season.  This positional flexibility could make Martin into a unique backup option in 2019 (the final year of his contract) or beyond, as well as providing Toronto with the means to give catching prospects Danny Jansen or Reese McGuire some quality playing time as early as this season.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Royals Had Interest In Kendrys Morales Trade]]> 2018-05-21T01:25:11Z 2018-05-21T01:25:11Z
  • The Royals had some interest “awhile back” in a reunion with Blue Jays DH Kendrys Morales, though that trade possibility has evaporated since both the Royals and Morales are badly struggling.  K.C. is looking like a deadline seller, while Morales is hitting so poorly (.163/.248/.279 through 117 PA) that the Jays may have to release him or eat all of the approximately $19.76MM left on his contract through the 2019 campaign.

    • The Royals had some interest “awhile back” in a reunion with Blue Jays DH Kendrys Morales, though that trade possibility has evaporated since both the Royals and Morales are badly struggling.  K.C. is looking like a deadline seller, while Morales is hitting so poorly (.163/.248/.279 through 117 PA) that the Jays may have to release him or eat all of the approximately $19.76MM left on his contract through the 2019 campaign.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Claim Carlos Ramirez From Blue Jays]]> 2018-05-20T19:25:30Z 2018-05-20T19:12:28Z The Athletics have claimed right-hander Carlos Ramirez off waivers from the Blue Jays, per an announcement from Oakland.

    Oakland will be the second organization for the 27-year-old Ramirez, who had been with the Blue Jays since 2009. Ramirez started off as an outfield prospect with the Jays before moving to the mound in 2014. He impressed enough as a minor league pitcher to reach the majors in 2017, and has since logged a combined 19 innings at the game’s highest level (2 1/3 this year). During that small sample of work, Ramirez posted a 2.84 ERA/4.84 FIP with 8.05 K/9, 3.79 BB/9 and a 33.3 percent groundball rate, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Toronto from designating him for assignment last week.

    Given that Ramirez has three options remaining, he seems likely to start off as minors depth with the Athletics. The A’s currently have a full bullpen, and the unit has begun the year with the majors’ 12th-best ERA (3.82).

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[East Notes: Yankees, Eickhoff, Smith, Garcia]]> 2018-05-19T16:59:09Z 2018-05-19T16:59:09Z Aaron Boone recently offered some words of encouragement regarding the imminent return of first baseman Greg Bird to the lineup (h/t Marc Carig of The Athletic). But while Bird’s activation appears to be “around the corner”, news surrounding fellow Yankees hitter Jacoby Ellsbury is not as promising. Ellsbury is reportedly dealing with a minor back injury and as such is not participating in baseball activities at this time. The outfielder made just 406 plate appearances last season and has yet to make his 2018 debut. Unfortunately, Ellsbury’s absence is not the end of the bad news for the Yankees this week, as it turns out hard-hitting outfield prospect Estevan Florial will require surgery on a broken hamate bone (according to a tweet from George A. King III of the New York Post). The injury will keep him sidelined until at least August. Florial was off to somewhat of a slow start at the High-A level, posting a .246/.353/.343 slash line across 156 plate appearances.

    More out of the East…

    • Phillies righty Jerad Eickhoff is set to begin a rehab assignment, according to Matt Breen of the Philly Enquirer. He’ll kick it off at Triple-A LeHigh Valley. Eickhoff has been sidelined since spring training due to a lat strain, and at this time it’s not clear how he’d fit into a suddenly crowded Phillies rotation that includes Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta, Jake Arrieta, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin.
    • The Red Sox haven’t gotten any particularly good news about Carson Smith in recent days. According to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, manager Alex Cora says the club can’t determine at this time whether or not the righty will pitch again this season. Smith was off to a serviceable start this season, posting a 3.77 ERA and 11.30 K/9 in his first 14 1/3 innings before going down with a shoulder subluxation.
    • The Blue Jays are describing left-hander Jaime Garcia’s injury as “left shoulder inflammation”. He’s been placed on the DL retroactive to May 16th. The Jays brought Garcia into the fold this past offseason on a one-year deal worth a guarantee of $10MM, but he’s disappointed thus far with a 6.28 ERA across his first 38 2/3 innings. In a related move, the club has recalled righty Deck McGuire from Triple-A Buffalo.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Injury Updates On Tulowitzki, Others]]> 2018-05-17T02:03:40Z 2018-05-17T02:03:40Z
  • Shi Davidi of Sportsnet provides some updates on a few injured Blue Jays, reporting that Troy Tulowitzki has begun fielding grounders and is doing some running on an antigravity treadmill. Tulowitzki is on the 60-day DL, though his absence seems likely to extend beyond that 60-day minimum window. The injury plagued former All-Star had surgery to remove bone spurs from both of his heels last month and has yet to play in 2018. Davidi also adds that Steve Pearce isn’t yet cleared for baseball activities as his oblique strain mends, while Aledmys Diaz is doing some light running after suffering an ankle injury earlier this month. With both Tulowitzki and Diaz on the shelf, the Jays have been using a combo of Lourdes Gurriel, Richard Urena and Gio Urshela at shortstop recently.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Prospect Bo Bichette Hires CAA Baseball]]> 2018-05-16T19:43:55Z 2018-05-16T19:40:00Z Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette has changed representation, hiring CAA Baseball, per Shi Davidi of (via Twitter). The 20-year-old was a second-round pick in the 2016 draft.

    Bichette vaulted up prospect rankings boards after a big showing in two A-ball leagues in 2017. He opened the current season at Double-A, where he carries a .279/.353/.421 slash with one home run and nine steals.

    Though he is not quite as celebrated as teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is also the son of a long-time big leaguer, Bichette entered the year as a consensus top-20 prospect leaguewide. There’s some question whether Bichette will stick at shortstop, he carries the promise of delivering some defensive value along with an intriguing bat.

    As always, you can find up-to-date MLB representation information at MLBTR’s Agency Database.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLB Extends Administrative Leave Of Roberto Osuna]]> 2018-05-15T04:32:58Z 2018-05-15T02:22:33Z Major League Baseball announced today that Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna will remain on administrative leave through at least May 21st. He was first placed on leave by the commissioner’s office on May 8th, pursuant to the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, after it emerged that he had been arrested and charged with domestic assault. At this point, it remains unknown when and how Osuna’s legal and disciplinary situations will be resolved.

    • The Blue Jays may soon face a tough call on DH Kendrys Morales, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. The veteran switch-hitter is off to an abysmal start, though GM Ross Atkins says that the organization still has some grounds for optimism. While there isn’t a clear roster crunch at present, that could change. If Morales can’t generate some positive momentum, Nicholson-Smith suggests, the Toronto front office will increasingly find it difficult to keep the bat-only player on the roster.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Designate Carlos Ramirez]]> 2018-05-13T16:18:41Z 2018-05-13T16:02:27Z The Blue Jays have designated right-hander Carlos Ramirez for assignment, per a team announcement. The club also selected righty Deck McGuire from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

    Ramirez, who debuted with the Blue Jays organization in 2014, garnered his first big league experience last season. The 27-year-old notched a 2.70 ERA with 7.56 K/9, 1.62 BB/9 and a 27 percent groundball rate over that 16 2/3-inning span. Ramirez then tossed just 2 1/3 major league frames this season prior to his designation, allowing an earned run on one hit and five walks (with three strikeouts).

    McGuire, 28, is in his second stint with the Blue Jays. The first began in 2010 with quite a bit of fanfare, as the club selected McGuire 11th overall in the draft. McGuire was unable to work his way to the majors with Toronto, though, and the club went on to trade him to Oakland for cash considerations in 2014. McGuire then spent time with Dodgers, Cardinals and Reds, making his big league debut with the latter in 2017. He fared nicely over 13 2/3 innings (2.63 ERA, 7.24 K/9, 1.32 BB/9) before returning to the Jays on a minors pact last November.

    Gurriel, whom Toronto signed to a seven-year, $22MM deal in 2016, has struggled in his MLB debut this season. The 24-year-old racked up 70 plate appearances prior to his demotion and hit just .206/.229/.309 with two home runs, two walks and 17 strikeouts. Gurriel is now set for his first Triple-A action, having previously jumped from Double-A to the majors.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Undrafted Free Agents, Urshela, Aledmys]]> 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z J.J. Cooper of Baseball America recently answered a question from a Twitter fan about undrafted free agents in MLB. It turns out that there were eight undrafted free agents on MLB rosters at the start of the year, and all eight of them were right-handed pitchers. Unlike football, where there are plenty of UDFA success stories, it’s exceedingly rare for a UDFA to produce significantly at the MLB level. Some outliers include Matt Shoemaker, Miguel Gonzalez, Darren O’Day and Kirby Yates. Of the UDFA’s currently in the majors on opening day, Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez (23 years old) and Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge (28) are the only players below the age of 30. There are a few more fun facts in Cooper’s piece, making it well worth a full read.

    Other items of note as the Tigers and Mariners prepare for a remarkably cold double-header…

    • The Blue Jays announced earlier today that they’ve activated infielder Gio Urshela and optioned outfielder Dalton Pompey to Triple-A Buffalo. Urshela, 26, was recently acquired for cash (or a player to be named later) after the Indians designated him for assignment earlier this month; he’d been on the DL since the start of the season. While acclaimed as somewhat of a defensive wizard, Urshela carries an anemic bat and has posted a wRC+ of just 57 throughout the course of his major-league career.
    • In other Blue Jays news, shortstop Aledmys Diaz has begun throwing, says Ben Nicholson-Smith of He’s expected to begin hitting later this week. Diaz left last Sunday’s game after spraining his ankle, but it doesn’t appear as though the injury will keep him sidelined for much longer than the ten-day minimum at this point. Diaz was acquired from the Cardinals this offseason in exchange for outfielder J.B. Woodman; the shortstop has hit .216/.273/.431 so far with his new club.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Marcus Stroman Discusses DL Placement]]> 2018-05-12T04:29:03Z 2018-05-12T04:06:25Z
  • Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman discussed his DL placement with the media today, with’s Gregor Chisholm providing the story. Stroman acknowledged that the placement was made with consideration not just of his physical wellness, but his mental state. “Just a collective decision between me and the staff, to take a step back, do what I need to do for my shoulder, get my emotions and everything in sync, to get back to myself,” Stroman said. It seems he’ll mostly be looking to get a relatively brief respite before rejoining the staff.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place Marcus Stroman On Disabled List]]> 2018-05-11T23:00:05Z 2018-05-11T18:07:14Z The Blue Jays announced that they’ve placed right-hander Marcus Stroman on the 10-day disabled list due to right shoulder fatigue. In addition, left-handed reliever Tim Mayza has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. The Jays recalled right-handers Joe Biagini and Sam Gaviglio from Buffalo to fill the spots on the active roster. Stroman’s DL placement is retroactive to May 9.

    The 27-year-old Stroman has had a disastrous start to his 2018 season, pitching to a 7.71 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and 1.21 HR/9 in 37 1/3 innings (seven starts). He still ranks among the league leaders in ground-ball rate, at 60.5 percent, but virtually all of Stroman’s numbers have gone in the wrong direction, including his fastball velocity (93.4 mph in 2017, 92.2 mph in 2018). Either Biagini or Gaviglio, each of whom has been working in the Buffalo rotation, will start in Stroman’s place this weekend, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.

    It remains unclear exactly how long Stroman can be expected to be sidelined. Toronto’s announcement didn’t come with any sort of timetable, nor did it include a specific injury or indicate that any further testing, such as an MRI, is on the horizon. Stroman is slated to meet with the Toronto media at 2:45pm ET, the Jays announced.

    Turning to his potential replacements, Biagini enjoyed a terrific rookie season as a Rule 5 pick in 2016, tossing 67 2/3 innings of relief with a 3.06 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 52.2 percent grounder rate. He faltered considerably in a starting capacity last season, though, and hasn’t fared particularly well in the Triple-A rotation this year, either (4.57 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 in 21 1/3 innings).

    Gaviglio, meanwhile, was acquired from the Royals in March in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. The 27-year-old got his first look in the Majors last season when he struggled through 74 1/3 innings between Seattle and Kansas City. He’s off to a terrific start in Triple-A, however, where he’s notched a pristine 1.86 ERA with 9.0 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 1.24 HR/9 and a 45.9 percent ground-ball rate in 29 innings of work.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tyler Clippard Gets First Crack At Ninth Inning In Osuna's Absence]]> 2018-05-10T03:32:49Z 2018-05-10T03:24:37Z
  • With Roberto Osuna on administrative leave and under league investigation, the Blue Jays turned to Tyler Clippard with their first save opportunity. Jays manager John Gibbons deployed setup men Seung Hwan Oh, John Axford and Ryan Tepera in the middle innings on Wednesday evening with his team trailing before handing the ninth inning over to Clippard, who worked a scoreless inning with a pair of strikeouts. While Wednesday’s sequence of events doesn’t necessarily anoint Clippard the closer during Osuna’s absence, it does at least suggest that he’s the early favorite for the role. Signed to a minor league deal this March, Clippard has given the Jays 19 1/3 innings of 1.40 ERA ball with 10.2 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9. He’s running up a staggeringly low 18.6 percent ground-ball rate, however, which could well be a portent for further homer troubles down the line. As a reminder for fantasy players, you can track ninth-inning situations throughout the game by following MLBTR’s @CloserNews account on Twitter and by utilizing Jason Martinez’s closer depth chart over at Roster Resource.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Acquire Gio Urshela]]> 2018-05-09T20:08:54Z 2018-05-09T20:02:23Z The Blue Jays have acquired third baseman Gio Urshela from the Indians, per a club announcement. Cash considerations or a player to be named later will go to Cleveland in return.

    Urshela, 26, had recently been designated for assignment after opening the year on the DL. The out-of-options infielder did take 42 plate appearances at Triple-A on a rehab assignment, slashing .324/.405/.432.

    Though he’s considered a quality defender, Urshela has struggled at the plate in his opportunities in the majors. Over 453 total plate appearances, he carries only a .225/.273/.405 batting line with seven home runs.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Roberto Osuna Charged With Domestic Assault, Placed On Administrative Leave]]> 2018-05-08T19:39:33Z 2018-05-08T17:29:04Z Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was arrested early this morning, per John Lott of The Athletic (subscription link). Osuna has been charged with domestic assault of his girlfriend, according to Hazel Mae of Sportsnet (via Twitter).

    Osuna has been placed on administrative leave by the commissioner’s office, Shi Davidi of reports. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by Jake Petricka.

    Details are scant at this point, so it’s far too soon to assess the situation. The precise nature of the allegations, possible range of legal ramifications, and potential for league punishment are all completely unknown publicly.

    That said, given that this matter reportedly arose in the context of a domestic relationship, it falls within the purview of the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. It is worth reviewing some of the most salient aspects of that agreement, which has been deployed several times since it was implemented in August of 2015.

    Under that policy, commissioner Rob Manfred has the authority to “place a player accused of” such behavior “on paid Administrative Leave for up to seven days while the allegations are investigated before making a disciplinary decision,” though players also have a mechanism to challenge that treatment “immediately.” That provisional authority was previously exercised in the middle of the 2016 season with regard to Hector Olivera and has again been utilized here. It does not suggest any particular final determination, however.

    Manfred also has the power to oversee the full-scale investigatory and punitive regime set forth in the policy. Any ultimate punishment is subject to arbitration, with a “just cause” standard applied to any determinations made by the commissioner’s office. Olivera was ultimately convicted of a crime and suspended for 82 games. Other cases have involved quite different fact patterns and generally resulted in less significant suspensions. Most recently, for example, Steven Wright was suspended for 15 games. Following another recent investigation, it was determined that Miguel Sano would not receive punishment given the evidence compiled. Criminal charges or convictions are not required for Manfred to issue discipline, though surely that’s weighed in the balance.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Notes: Vlad Jr., Pearson]]> 2018-05-08T20:17:21Z 2018-05-08T16:46:01Z
  • Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has obviously earned quite a few headlines with his excellent work thus far at Double-A level, leading many to wonder whether he’s a near-term option in the majors. Ben Nicholson-Smith of addresses that topic (video link on Twitter), arguing that the team has good reason to ensure the 19-year-old is ready for the huge amount of visibility a promotion would entail. That’s the larger factor than on-field readiness, says Nicholson-Smith, though of course it’s also worth bearing in mind that Vlad Jr. has only taken 118 plate appearances thus far in the upper minors. Nicholson-Smith proposes further experience there, perhaps including some time at Triple-A Buffalo, before weighing a possible mid-summer debut in Toronto.
  • Another Blue Jays prospect is in the news, too, but for less promising reasons. Young righty Nate Pearson has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fractured ulna in his pitching arm, per a club announcement. He suffered the injury on a comebacker. At this point, all that’s known is that he’ll be down for four to six weeks before being evaluated further. The 21-year-old, a first-round pick in last year’s draft, was making his season debut after an oblique injury sidelined him to open the year. Pearson was appearing at the High-A level, so he’s likely still a ways away from the majors, but he had already emerged as a top-100 prospect and will now at least lose some development time while rehabbing.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Outrighted: Centeno, Ngoepe, Enns]]> 2018-05-08T14:05:21Z 2018-05-08T14:05:21Z Let’s run through a few recently-designated players who have cleared waivers and been outrighted:

    • Rangers backstop Juan Centeno could have elected free agency but chose instead to take an assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, the club announced. The 28-year-old, a relatively rare left-handed-hitting catcher, has seen action in each of the past six MLB campaigns. He also has not shown much at the plate, with a cumulative .227/.278/.331 batting line.
    • Also clearing waivers was Blue Jays infielder Gift Ngoepe. This is the first time he has been outrighted; without significant MLB service time on his record, he had no choice but to head to Buffalo. Not unlike Centeno, Ngoepe is a useful fielder who perhaps will never fully come around with the bat. He had a particularly rough run in limited action this year in Toronto, striking out a dozen times in just 19 plate appearances.
    • Finally, the Twins will hang onto reliever Dietrich Enns after he, too, cleared waivers under the same essential circumstances as Ngoepe. Soon to turn 27, Enns is off to a poor start this year at Triple-A, where he has given out 11 free passes to go with 11 strikeouts in twenty innings. If he can get back on track, though, perhaps he’ll eventually present a depth option for the Minnesota organization. In his six prior professional seasons, Enns has never finished with an earned run average of over 2.94. In 136 Triple-A innings, he carries a sparkling 2.25 ERA with a more pedestrian combination of 7.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Outright Luis Santos]]> 2018-05-07T16:48:02Z 2018-05-07T16:48:02Z
  • Right-hander Luis Santos cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Buffalo by the Blue Jays, per the team’s transactions log on their official web site. The 27-year-old was clobbered for six runs in 1 2/3 innings in his lone MLB appearance this season before being designated for assignment. Santos did post a 2.70 ERA and a 16-to-4 K/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings in the Majors last season, and he has a career 3.90 ERA with 8.1 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 117 2/3 innings of relief at the Triple-A level.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Aledmys Diaz Leaves Game With Ankle Injury]]> 2018-05-07T02:56:45Z 2018-05-07T02:56:45Z
  • Blue Jays shortstop Aledmys Diaz suffered a sprained left ankle while beating out an infield hit today, and had to be removed from the game.’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and others reported that x-rays were negative on Diaz’s ankle, though he will undergo an MRI to further determine the severity of the injury.  Acquired in the offseason to provide depth behind Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, Diaz has appeared in almost every game for Toronto as Tulowitzki has been on the DL recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs from both ankles.  Tulowitzki isn’t expected back for at least another month, so Yangervis Solarte could end up seeing more time at short if Diaz is also sidelined, as the Jays’ other top shortstop options are rookies Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Richard UrenaGift Ngoepe could rejoin the mix if he clears waivers after being designated for assignment earlier this week.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Promote Anthony Alford, Remove Jake Petricka From Active Roster]]> 2018-05-05T19:16:32Z 2018-05-05T19:05:50Z 2:15pm: The move is now official; Petricka has indeed been optioned.

    2:05pm: The Blue Jays are promoting outfield prospect Anthony Alford, according to Shi Davidi of (via Twitter). Toronto has removed reliever Jake Petricka from the active roster, per Ben Nicholson-Smith of (via Twitter), though the precise mechanism is not yet clear.

    Alford had previously received an exceedingly brief promotion in the 2017 season. But he suffered a fractured hamate bone almost immediately upon reaching the bigs. He ended up recording 68 days of MLB service on the year, but very little of it came on the active roster.

    The 23-year-old has long been regarded as a high-end prospect. He has received consensus top-100 leaguewide billing entering each of the past three seasons (including the present one). Alford has drawn praise for his broad and fairly well-developed skillset despite limited time as a professional.

    Thus far in 2018, however, Alford has struggled. He has recorded just six hits (one for extra bases) in his 42 plate appearances at Triple-A. Of course, he also was still working back to health after opening the year on the DL owing to a hamstring strain.

    Given the struggles out of the gate, it’s a bit surprising at first glance to see this move. That said, the Jays may simply be looking to buttress their position-player unit temporarily while dealing with the absences of Steve Pearce and Randal Grichuk. With Curtis Granderson exiting yesterday’s contest with a tight hamstring, the club may simply have taken the easiest path to adding another outfielder for a few days.

    As things stand, then, it’s not at all clear that Alford is set to receive a full run at the MLB level. If he does, though, he could finish the current season with over one full year of service. (In addition to the time he had already, Alford added another twenty days due to the DL stint.) Should that come to pass, he’d reach arbitration eligibility in 2021 and free agency in 2024. If not, those milestones would occur one year further (at the soonest).

    For Petricka, the departure comes the day after his contract was purchased and he made it onto the active roster. He gave up one earned run on three hits, while recording two strikeouts, in 1 1/3 innings yesterday. Petricka does have options remaining, so it’s possible he’ll remain on the 40-man while heading back to Buffalo.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Designate Luis Santos, Select Jake Petricka]]> 2018-05-04T21:40:20Z 2018-05-04T21:40:20Z The roster turnover is continuing for the Blue Jays, who announced another round of moves today. Only two directly implicate control rights, though: righty Luis Santos was designated for assignment, with fellow reliever Jake Petricka taking his place on the 40-man and active rosters.

    Additionally, the Toronto organization turned over two other active roster spots. Outfielder Dalton Pompey and infielder Richard Urena are heading up, with righties Joe Biagini and Carlos Ramirez optioned back to Triple-A along with outfielder Dwight Smith Jr.

    The 27-year-old Santos had given the Jays some useful innings late last year and re-joined the organization as a depth piece for the 2018 season. In his lone MLB outing this year, he was bombed last night for six earned runs on five hits and three walks. It would not be surprising if he ends up back at Buffalo.

    As for Petricka, he’ll be getting a look as a bounceback candidate after signing a minors deal with the Jays over the winter. His contract includes a $1.3MM base salary and up to $500K in incentive pay. Petricka was once a useful member of the White Sox’ bullpen but has dealt with injuries and diminished effectiveness of late when healthy. The initial returns in 2018 have been promising, as Petricka has (as usual) generated a huge number of groundballs while allowing only a single earned run in eight innings over five outings.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Atkins On Vlad Guerrero Jr.'s Timeline]]> 2018-05-04T17:20:45Z 2018-05-04T17:20:45Z Though Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is laying waste to Double-A pitching, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins tells Shi Davidi of Sportsnet that the organization is not planning to bring him to the Majors just yet. Guerrero only just turned 19, but he’s obliterated Eastern League pitching at a .388/.452/.624 clip with three homers, nine doubles, a triple and more walks (12) than strikeouts (10) through 105 plate appearances. Atkins explains, however, that the team still sees some areas for improvement in other aspects of his game. “That’s just offence, right, when you say statistically,” says Atkins. “…And it’s only a month of performance above A-ball, as well. … Right now, we’re entirely focused on Vladdy as the best possible third baseman he could be, the best possible base-runner, of course offensive player, and teammate. And right now, we currently have a very good third baseman on our major-league team.”

    Theoretically, the Blue Jays could split Guerrero and Josh Donaldson in a timeshare between third base and DH, though Atkins indicated a desire to get Guerrero as many reps as possible. The GM also stressed that service time and arbitration considerations aren’t impacting Guerrero’s timeline. (Indeed, he’s already been in the minors long enough to delay free agency by a year.)

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Designate Gift Ngoepe, Place Steve Pearce On DL]]> 2018-05-04T00:50:42Z 2018-05-04T00:50:42Z As part of a series of roster moves, the Blue Jays have designated infielder Gift Ngoepe for assignment, Shi Davidi of reports (Twitter links). Toronto purchased the contract of righty Luis Santos, necessitating a 40-man spot, while fellow right-hander Joe Biagini is also being called up.

    One of the active roster spots needed was opened by optioning righty reliever Danny Barnes. The other came free with the club placing utilityman Steve Pearce on the 10-day with a strained oblique.

    Ngoepe, 28, was acquired from the over the winter. He has long been seen as a quality defender with a questionable bat, and he has not done much to dispel that perception with a dozen strikeouts in just 19 MLB plate appearances this year.

    As for Santos, he re-joined the organization on a minors deal over the winter. The 27-year-old turned in solid results in his first taste of the majors last year and has gotten results thus far in 2018 at Triple-A. Santos has thrown 9 1/3 innings over five relief appearances this year at Buffalo, allowing just two earned runs on six hits — but with a less-than-promising 8:6 K/BB ratio.

    The bad news here for the Jays is that they’ll have to go without Pearce for a stretch — the anticipated duration of which is not yet known. Propensity for injury has long been the knock on the 35-year-old, who has slashed a robust .270/.333/.492 through 69 plate appearances on the season to date.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Activate Josh Donaldson]]> 2018-05-03T14:08:21Z 2018-05-03T14:08:21Z The Blue Jays have activated Josh Donaldson from the 10-day disabled list and opened a roster spot by placing Justin Smoak on the paternity list, per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi (Twitter link).

    Donaldson, 32, hit the DL back on April 10 due to a shoulder issue that was impacting his ability to throw across the diamond. He played third base in a pair of minor league rehab games, however, and obviously showed well enough there that the Toronto organization felt comfortable bringing the 2015 AL MVP back to the big league roster for what figures to be regular work at his customary position.

    Donaldson opened the season with a .239/.352/.457 slash and three homers through 55 plate appearances, and early reports indicated that the shoulder wasn’t really hampering his ability to swing the bat. He’ll look to improve upon that early pace as he aims to match the outrageous .302/.410/.698 line that he posted over his final 227 plate appearances last season, when he finished out the year as one of the hottest hitters in the game.

    The manner in which Donaldson acquits himself both at the hot corner and at the plate will be critical, as he’s on the cusp of reaching free agency for the first time. If Donaldson can produce at anywhere near the torrid .285/.387/.559 clip he posted through his first three seasons in Toronto and handle throwing from third to first without issue, then April’s dead arm will likely be viewed as a mere blip on the radar.

    A healthy Donaldson would have an easy case for a nine-figure deal even though he’ll play the 2019 season at age 33. If the shoulder troubles prove to be an ongoing issue throughout the ’18 season, however, there’s obvious potential for them to severely impact his earning power on the open market. Donaldson ranked fourth on the first edition of MLBTR’s monthly Free Agent Power Rankings, trailing only Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Likely To Activate Josh Donaldson Thursday]]> 2018-05-03T04:38:52Z 2018-05-03T04:38:52Z The Blue Jays announced tonight that third baseman Josh Donaldson will rejoin the club Thursday and is likely to be activated from the disabled list. A shoulder issue has kept the former AL MVP out of action since April 10, though he’s played in multiple minor league rehab games and appears to be back on track after experiencing some troubles throwing across the diamond earlier this season. The Jays have stayed afloat just fine in the absence of their best player, as they’re currently sporting a 17-13 record and right in the middle of the AL Wild Card mix a month into the season. Donaldson will have plenty riding on a healthy and productive return, as he’s set to hit free agency for the first time following the 2018 campaign.