Who Did The Jays Get For Osuna?

With the trade of Roberto Osuna the Blue Jays got what they desperately needed in this rebuild – more pitching prospects. Despite losing a massive talent in Osuna, the move not only allows the Jays to move on from a PR nightmare but also allows for the very vocal fans of this team to morally support their team again.

The Jays got a solidified MLB closer in Ken Giles plus two prospect pitchers Hector Perez and David Paulino. The haul isn’t as massive as it would have been if Osuna wasn’t mired in a legal battle or currently suspended, however many have pointed out that any return for this player was a positive. Giles will immediately step into the MLB roster and should act as the closer, a role that has been vacant since Osuna’s suspension.

So, who are these players the Jays acquired, and how do they stack up?

Ken Giles:

  • Age: 27, Throws: right
  • career 2.72 ERA, 367 strike outs in 274.2 innings pitched
  • 77 career saves

2018 Stats:

  • 34 games played in MLB
  • 4.99 ERA
  • His ever important FIP is 2.28
  • 1.279 WHIP
  • 9.1 SO/9
  • 12 saves

Giles has had a troubled year and the Blue Jays are hoping that a change of scenery could help him recapture his form. It is a bit of a gamble, but the stakes are currently low with the rebuilding Jays. Giles can come in and immediately look to be the closer despite his poor 2018 showing so far. There are issues with his attitude, as he was sent to AAA this season after telling his manager to “Fuck off” after pulling him after blowing a 4-0 save opportunity, but a new team should distance him from this issue.

As an immediate impact player, Giles will likely keep his head down in Toronto and should look himself again with lower stakes than a World-Series-or-bust team like the Houston Astros.

Hector Perez:

  • Age: 22, Throws: right
  • Has pitched in High A ball and AA this season, appearing in 21 games total

2018 Stats (A+17 games):

  • Started 11 of 17 games in A+, totaling 72.2 innings
  • 3-3 record
  • ERA 3.87
  • 2 registered saves in addition to starting games
  • 1.239 WHIP
  • 10.3 SO/9

Hector Perez slots in to the Blue Jays prospect rankings at #11 (coming from Houston’s 10 spot). Baseballprospectus.com have described his “nasty stuff” as potential closer material in the future. He uses a plus fastball/slider combination to keep hitters on their toes, but lacks major league control. Control and subsequent walks have been an issue for him in his minor league tenure, however with more development time he could be a potential important arm for the Jays.

David Paulino:

  • Age: 24, Throws: right
  • Has pitched in three games for the Astros with a 2-1 record and 6.25 ERA since 2016

2018 Stats

  • 7gp in AAA in 2018
  • 0-0 record, 27 IP
  • ERA 4.67
  • 33/6 SO/BB
  • 1.074 WHIP
  • 11 SO/9

David Paulino is a very talent, towering pitching prospect with some off field issues. After a positive PED test in July of 2017 Paulino was suspended for 80 games by the MLB. The 6’7″ pitcher was as high as 3rd on the Astros prospect list and 44th in the MLB, but plummeted to 24th in the organization. The time missed has hurt his development, but if he can get back on track his fastball is major league quality. His pitches come from a ridiculous plane top of his massive frame and release point. He doesn’t have as many tools as Perez, but his raw ability he has to throw the fastball is his biggest asset. Patience is key for Paulino who has big league potential as either a starter or bullpen arm.

 

All stats via www.baseball-reference.com

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What Do We Expect With Matthews Pending Extension? Does He Get The C?

A couple big questions leading up to October revolves around the one and only Auston Matthews. Kyle Dubas is currently working out a contract extension with Matthews’ camp, and we all sit and wonder, just how much will get? While nobody can say for certain how much he will get, we can look at some comparable players to analyze the most likely scenario.

Two players I’m currently looking at are Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. These are two similar aged franchise #1 centers for their respective teams, and came with a lot of hype. With two/three seasons under their belts it’s safe to say that Matthews fits somewhere between the two.

Eichel signed an 8 year, $10 million per year contract. McDavid signed an 8 year $12.5 million per year contract. So logically, it seems fairly likely to me that Matthews signs right around the $11.5 million per year mark. Everyone is still on the high of John Tavares signing with the Leafs, but let’s not forget this is still Auston’s team. I can see a scenario where he makes the exact same as Tavares at $11 million, but certainly not less. For those arguing that Matthews is an RFA and will make less because of that, is a pipe dream. With franchise talents it doesn’t matter if you are a UFA or RFA; you’re getting paid what you’re worth.

This brings me to the next question. Will Matthews get the captaincy? Staying consistent with what I’ve said, this is Auston’s team. For that reason I feel confident they will give him the C as well. It may be before the season begins or they may wait a little longer, but rest assured it will go to Matthews. The other obvious candidates are Tavares and Rielly, but I don’t see it. I’m sure they will each get an A, and be happy to concede the captaincy to the player who has become the face of the franchise.

Atkins Double-Talks and Folds To Social Media Pressure; Osuna Traded

The Toronto Blue Jays have traded their closer Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros for RHP Ken Giles, RHP Hector Perez, and RHP David Paulino. Osuna is currently in the minors after sitting out 75 games for a domestic violence arrest. While Osuna has not been criminally convicted of anything, the Jays felt the need to move on from their prolific 23 year old closer who boasts a career 2.87 ERA, 104 saves, and 253 strike outs.

It is no secret that the Blue Jays management team has been feeling some heat regarding the impending reinstatement of Osuna to the big league team. On June 29th Atkins was asked about Osuna and the trade deadline and responded by saying “We’ll be adding a closer on Aug. 5… Roberto is our closer.” So what has changed in a months time?

Atkins offers little to no information or personality for that matter when talking to the media; frankly its a waste of the radio hosts, TV interviewers, and viewers time. Usually its because he dances around questions and manages to fill time with nondescript cliches before ending the interview, however in this occasion he just flat out lied to Blue Jays fans. It would be understandable if the Astros offered a massive package for Osuna but as it stands now, the return is underwhelming to say the least.

And despite what bloggers, radio hosts, TV presenters, and writers (who constantly boast that they root for stories, not for teams) will tell you, the Jays are a worse off baseball team after this trade, and will be for years to come.

So the rich get richer in Houston and the MLB, its fans, and its media members are all okay with that. So why did the Blue Jays have to move on from their franchise closer? Because there is a double standard in the MLB that favours the likes of World Series contending teams and shits on teams that are out of contention, or ya know are in Canada. It’s not a conspiracy theory either, just fact.

Take Aroldis Chapman for instance. The 100+mph closer for the New York Yankees had charges dropped after his wife failed to cooperate with law enforcement following Chapman’s arrest for discharging a fire arm eight times into a wall during a domestic dispute. Chapman served a 30 games suspension for his involvement in the incident despite the charges being dropped.

Chapman has pitched for the Cubs and Yankees since his suspension, two of the leagues most iconic franchises, with no problem. He wasn’t convicted, as Osuna hasn’t been, and has not been blackballed by the league for his involvement in an incident that deemed a 30-game suspension by the league. If we put this into Osuna terms there are two major groups – happy Houston fans for getting a legitimate elite closer, and pissed off Jays fans for having to lose their franchise closer due to the court of public opinion. Again, don’t let the twitter charlatans tell you other wise with their social justice pushing agendas.

The Astros now have an alleged woman beater in Roberto Osuna and a confirmed racist in Yuli Gurriel on their roster and are poised for another deep playoff run in hopes of repeating their World Series success – as I said before the rich get richer. Gurriel taunted Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish following a home run making a “slanted eye” gesture and yelling “chinito”, which means Chinese boy, (Darvish is Japanese and Iranian) at the pitcher from the dug out. Gurriel served a five game suspension and happily returned to life as a major league player… without having to switch teams.

As for Osuna he was recently followed around by a camera crew from SportsNet to recant his arduous journey to the major leagues. This documentary shed light on his life and his struggles with anxiety, an affliction that kept him out of the Jays line up for multiple games in 2017. Osuna was a likeable character at the start of this season and a guy a lot of people were cheering for. Now he has become the incarnation of evil, as twitter would have you believe, and needed to be moved regardless of return.

Above all, however Osuna is human and humans make mistakes – some less forgivable and more incriminating than others, but nonetheless what Osuna allegedly did was a mistake. He is currently paying the price for it, having his name dragged through the mud across social media, but if he helps the Astros win another World Series mark my works it will be a redemption story proudly presented to us by the same people who demanded he be traded – because of their integrity.

The Blue Jays integrity, something many have quoted as the reason for moving Osuna, has done a terrific job in getting a return for their closer. A return that includes a player who was suspended 80 games for PEDs, and another who was demoted to AAA this season for telling his manager to “fuck off” after he pulled him for blowing a 4-0 save.

Facts are facts and stats are stats – Ross Atkins has lied to the Blue Jays fans, and the team is worse off for it today and in the future. I thought these guys were supposed to be good at rebuilds?

*This blog is not in defence of Roberto Osuna or his actions, but rather a light being shed on the hypocrisy and double standard expressed by the MLB and MLB media members.

Happ and Oh Dealt for Minor League Depth – The Rebuild is On

I guess Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro do have a way with trades, as J.A. Happ and Seung Hwan Oh have been dealt for two prospects each. Both pitchers have had excellent seasons for the Blue Jays and were likely to move. The return of prospects highlights Shapiro and Atkins’ area of expertise: minor league development and asset management.

Happ had moved into #1 trade bait territory for the Jays since Donaldson’s injury plagued year had set him up on the DL for most of the first half of the season. With the Mariners, Brewers, Cubs, and Yankees interested the price would have seemingly rose with such immense competition for the leftie ace. But on the contrary, Happ struggled in his last few starts and the price had to drop for the rental player. The Yankees ended up winning the race but still gave up a nice return for the Jays ace.

Originally it was believed OF Clint Frazier or LHP Justus Sheffield would have to be involved in a deal for Happ, but instead the Jays pick up INF 3B Brandon Drury, and OF Billy McKinney. The haul is still impressive for the Blue Jays on this deal.

Drury was picked up in the off season from Arizona by the Yankees as a depth option at third base. With the emergence of Miguel Andujar at third base and Gleyber Torres at second base Drury simply didn’t have room on the Yankees roster anymore and was moved. Think of Randall Grichuk from St. Louis – outfield depth pushed him out of the organization and they needed to capitalize on his value in a trade. Drury is just 25 years old and comes with three years of contract control. He has had a down year offensively, hitting below .200 but has all the ability to straighten things out and get back in form for his new team.

Drury’s acquisition is interesting seeing as there is a theoretical logjam at third base for the Jays. Solarte, Donaldson, Gurriel Jr. and Vlad – all are lining up for the spot. Until Donaldson gets traded or resigns on a likely one year deal we can only hypothesize about his future with the Jays, but the pick up of Drury does make Solarte’s future a little less clear.

Billy McKinney adds more competition to the outfield job in Blue Jay land. The 20th ranked prospect in the Yankees system has the ability to play in all outfield positions and has spent time at first base as well. His versatility in the field is undoubtedly attractive as a plug-and-play player is always more useful to a manager. According to pinstripedprospects.com McKinney’s bat is above average. Hitting from the left side of the plate McKinney has a smooth stroke and level swing. Since promotion to AAA he has sacrificed some of his plate discipline in a more power-hitting approach. Overall, there is a good chance that McKinney will be an everyday outfielder in the majors.

So Happ returns a developed prospect for third base, and a developing player in the outfield – not bad!

Seung Hwan Oh was moved to the Colorado rockies for two prospects as well. The Jays pick up first baseman Chad Spanberger, OF Forrest Wall, and a player to be named later or cash.

Oh had been Toronto’s most reliable bullpen arm this season putting up a 2.68 ERA over 47 innings of play. The Final Boss (a nickname he earned in St. Louis) can close, set up, or be a middle relief pitcher and brings a veteran presence to the bullpen with him. Colorado are gearing up for a playoff run and have added an interesting and versatile piece to their pitching ranks.

For Toronto they add another prospect to challenge Rowdy Tellez to the future of the Blue Jays first base in Chad Spanberger. Spanberger was the Rockies’ 24th overall prospect and is impressing in A-ball this season. Currently sitting at a .315 average, Spanberger has 22 home runs to his name, 75 RBIs, and an OBP of .363. Through 92 games this season he has improved on his 2017 numbers and should be pressing for a AA promotion to New Hampshire.

Forrest Wall the newest member of the Jays outfield prospect pool settles in at #23 on the Jays prospect rankings. He has suffered some injuries which have stunted his prospect development, however he is healthy and looking to get his numbers back on track. Currently hitting .206 in AA with 6 home runs and 12 RBIs, Wall needs to regain his plate discipline. He is a leftie hitter which always adds value to prospects, and has the ability to hit the deep ball or spread the ball to all fields. More of a project than cant-miss prospect, Wall will need patience in order to regain his form in the Blue Jays system. The competitive AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats team could help reignite him and get him back on track.

So it’s officially begun. The Jays are moving out rental type players who have value to playoff contenders. What is next for Jays management is the search for pitching prospects to support and replace the likes of Borucki and Sean-Reid Foley in the minors. Perhaps Solarte, Granderson, and even Donaldson could be next in the clear out and rebuild of the Jays roster.

All stats from milb.com

Bayern Munich Transfer Alphonso Davies to Grow Soccer Intensity in Canada

Outside of individuals and pockets of supporters (who are insanely and admirably fanatic), soccer is generally lower in the pecking order in Canada than the big four sports. Wonder-kid Alphonso Davies could be the person to change this for the Great White North. The Vancouver Whitecaps player was bought by Bayern Munich for a fee between €13-19 million (up to $22 million) but will remain in Vancouver until the end of the season.

Alphono Davies who is just 17 years old, is a left wing attacker who uses his ridiculous pace to create goals and offense. According to freeflowfootball.com, Davies is very strong on the ball and can beat defenders with his speed, strength, or technical skills on the ball. He is an extremely promising talent and on that should garner plenty of attention when he links up with Bayern at the end of the MLS season.

I mean, you don’t have to be a football fan to appreciate the skills here:

Moving from Vancouver to Germany to play for Bayern Munich is an absolutely massive move for a footballer. Munich is regarded as one of the top clubs in world football, they are elite from top to bottom, and possess players like Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski, and Franck Ribery for Davies to link up with and learn from. However, for home supporters this move could be perceived as a move away from Canadian eyes in MLS football. On the contrary, with an extensive season populated with tournaments like Champions League, Davies and Bayern will be completely visible for soccer viewers in Canada on both TSN and Sportsnet.

Davies looks to be following the path of American top youngster and legitimate stud Christian Pulisic by moving to Bundesliga football in Germany. The right sided attacker has been in Borussia Dortmund’s system for a few years, and now at 19 years old is already established in European football and a prominent member of their first team starting XI. For reference, clubs who are scouting Pulisic are being asked for bids in excess of €70 million to even be considered.

Canada has a potential budding superstar on their hands and it is promising news for the growth of soccer across the nation. With the upcoming 2026 World Cup being held in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, there will be more intensity during the international friendlies that lead up to that tournament and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Hopefully Davies can star for his nation in these matches and emerge on the global stage for Canada. Every sports program needs a corner stone build off of – for Canada it is their exciting, 17 year old attacker name Alphonso Davies.

 

Ranking the NHL Divisions: METROPOLITAN

1 Pittsburgh: Although the Capitals reigned supreme in 2018, I like the Penguins taking their spot back at the top of the division. I just can’t go against a Crosby and Malkin lead team. Throw in Kessel and a Letang looking to rebound and I see them cruising to the top.

2 Washington: The Capitals have a dynamic center duo in their own right, with an ever consistent Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov who burst into the scene recently. Alex Ovechkin has some good years left before he starts to decline and those 3 players will keep the Caps competitive for a while. Re-signing John Carlson was huge for them as well. I see another good season on the way.

3 Carolina: This will be my most controversial pick, but I really like the Hurricanes lineup right now and I think they can play so much better than they did last season. Adding Dougie Hamilton turns a great defensive core to arguable second best in the league after Nashville. Aho is a year older and is looking like a future star in this league. The big question is goaltending and scoring depth. They are both iffy at best, but when I look at their team on paper, I see no reason why they can’t leap frog a few teams that finished ahead of them.

4 Philadelphia:  The Flyers have been built around the same core for a while that has always given them success, but not quite enough to put them over the edge. The emergence of Couturier and Provorov could be enough to prove me wrong, but for now I think they are a playoff bubble team. The good news for them is Giroux seems to be back to his old self and putting up monster points.

5 New Jersey: A young core give the Devils a lot of hope, and Taylor Hall has proven capable of carrying the team. He needs a lot more help though. Last years first over all selection Nico Hischier has his first season under his belt and will be relied on a little heavier. I see good things for the Devils future but they aren’t quite at contender level yet.

6 Columbus: Losing Panarin could be a disaster for Columbus as he was far and away the best forward for the Blue Jackets last season (seriously not even close). Now this is all speculation that he might be traded, due to a report that he does not want to play in Columbus anymore. If he stays and plays another full season with the Jackets, there is some hope. Some.

7 New York Rangers: A weak lineup that finished last in 2018 doesn’t look any better today. The Rangers should be rebuilding but it is yet to be seen if it actually happens. Kreider, Zibanejad and Buchnevich could be an alright line, not really first line material though and it doesn’t get any better after that.

8 New York Islanders: The other New York team is even worse. After losing Tavares, an already bad team got considerably worse. Adding insult to injury, their answer was signing Matt Martin and Leo Komarov. Gross. Barzal has some massive shoes to fill here, and as talented as he is, I can’t see him dragging this team into relevance.

Everton Miss Malcom and the Mark With Richarlison – 200takes

Richarlison for £50m is a weird transfer and valuation for Everton and the player. It is clear that Everton need more options in attack after their mid-season sputter last season, however is overpaying for an unproven asset the resolution?

The history of Everton’s valuations being off is there:

https://twitter.com/TeamFA/status/1021321720370728960

But for new manager Marco Silva, Richarlison is a friendly face and one he got the best out of as his manager at Watford (Richarlison scored all five of his goals last season with him as manager). Still, despite the impressive upside of the 21 year old Brazilian, £50 million seems like a lot for a player who only managed five goals in 36 games, going 26 games without scoring.

What really puts this move into perspective is the signing of 21 year old, Brazilian winger Malcom by Barcalona from Bordeaux. Malcom managed 12 goals (7 more than Richarlison) and 7 assists, and only cost Barcelona a rumored fee of £36.5.

Simply put Everton have missed the mark on their new attacker – that is not an indictment on the player who could prove us all wrong, but the board of Everton. Valuations can save your club from wasting money, allowing it to be used more effectively elsewhere. In this case Everton’s budget has been busted on an unproven player.