March 2017

Blue Jays Renew Aaron Sanchez’s Contract

The Toronto Blue Jays have renewed Aaron Sanchez’s contract for the 2017 season to the major league minimum of $537,000 USD, as first reported by Bob Elliott.

Last season, Sanchez earned $517,800 USD, but was raised this year because the minimum pay increased thanks to the new basic agreement.

Sanchez was offered more, but Boras and himself declined. Therefore, Atkins kicked in the longtime Blue Jays policy and gave him the minimum as a result (no negotiation). The policy consists of “If a pre-arbitration player declines the initial proposal, minimum wage will be offered.” (Thanks to Michel on Facebook for pointing this out to me and for me to put it in the post.)

As most you already know, Aaron Sanchez had record of 15-2, and was crowned the ERA champion after finishing the season with an ERA of 3.00. His win percentage was also .882, the best in the american league.

According to Scott Boras (Sanchez’s new agent), the process could be described as “… the harshest treatment any team could provide a player.”

After having the highest ERA and win percentage in the american league, did Boras (and Sanchez) expect the Jays to offer him more than minimum. I would say yes. Although, the Jays have strict policy when it comes to renewing contracts, and Sanchez’s contract was no exception.

When asked about the process of renewing Sanchez’s contract, GM Ross Atkins said “This is a policy that was put in place 10 years ago. I don’t see it as punitive, we don’t see it as punitive because it’s your choice to not accept the higher number.”

A team that Scott Boras could have been looking at could have been the New York Mets. The Mets renewed (former Jays farm system player) Noah Syndergaard’s (2017) contract to $605,000 USD, a significantly higher amount than what the Jays will be paying Sanchez.

We still have quite a bit of time until Sanchez is arbitration-eligible (after the end of the 2017 season), and even more time until he becomes a free agent (after the 2020 season).

Alyssa Cohen

Where is Dioner Navarro?

It seems as if many former Jays players are either M.I.A. or have been released by their organization over the past month. This list includes Brett Lawrie and Dioner Navarro.

Personally, Navarro was one of my favourite Blue Jays and has been for a very long time. Whether it was because of his occasional clutch hit, or when he somehow found a police cap and cigar, Navarro was always the most beloved underrated Jays out there.

In 2016, the Blue Jays decided not to offer Navarro a contract. He ended up going to the Chicago White Sox after selecting their 1-year offer. Most Jays fans were upset, and not only because of his personality, but because of the great success he had catching Marco Estrada in 2015. During the time of the 2016 trade deadline, Shapiro and Atkins acquired Navarro, and he ended up coming back to help the team make a run for the 2016 playoffs. Because of this, Josh Thole was put on waivers and eventually cleared. Although, Thole and R.A. Dickey never played in the postseason (they were not on the roster), so having a catcher like Navarro on the team to backup Russell Martin during the playoffs was very crucial and beneficial for the Jays.

Throughout this past offseason, there were articles on the Jays Blogosphere, sharing opinions as to whether Navarro should be picked up by the Jays, or be left alone and eventually signed by another team. The Jays made their decision in the middle of the offseason, and decided to pick up catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a minor league deal (with bonuses if he makes the major league team). Therefore, there is no reason for the Jays to re-sign Navarro at this point.

It is currently March 15, 2017, and believe it or not, Dioner Navarro has yet to be acquired by an MLB organization. It is unknown if he has retired from baseball, or if there have been no offers made to him throughout the entire offseason.

A few weeks ago, news broke that Brett Lawrie was released by the Chicago White Sox. I assume he has some offers on the table currently, but he has decided to wait until some of his minor injuries have healed before he makes his way back into baseball for 2017.

Navarro could have some minor injuries, and be on the same plan that Lawrie is on. Although, he seemed to be healthy after the season ended in 2016, so I am not sure that that could be the case for him.

So, where is Navarro now? He is probably somewhere in his home relaxing and waiting to see how the season starts to play out. If he gets an offer, that would be fantastic for him. But as time goes on, teams will have less interest in having him as their backup catcher. It is quite unusual for a major league caliber catcher to not be signed by a team before pitchers and catchers report in February for spring training. Which leads me to think that baseball might not be for him anymore.

Alyssa Cohen

David Price’s Injury and What That Means to the Toronto Blue Jays (and Entire AL East)

David Price is a major key within the starting rotation for the Boston Red Sox. But, if David Price cannot pitch throughout the entirety of the season, what does this mean to the American League (East)?

On March 2, 2017, the Boston Red Sox publicly shared the news of David Price and his injury. After announcing that he was going to miss his first spring training start with the Red Sox of 2017, fans and writers a like demanded reasoning. News quickly spread about his apparent elbow soreness, and how he may not be able to pitch this season. The Boston Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell were quick in responding to the statements made about Price, and addressed the media in a respectful manner. They stated that they were going to be getting a “second opinion” for the matter, and have seeked the help of Dr. James Andrews to do so. Whenever Dr. Andrews is needed, that assures you that things are not doing well.

While the Boston Red Sox still have Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright, Price would still be a huge loss. David Price eats up about 200 innings every year, plus even more in the postseason. Meaning that he acts as two starters, rather than one (based on innings and previous statistics). And with the seven year contract that the Boston Red Sox gave to Price, they will essentially be throwing $33 million down the drain.

As a Toronto Blue Jays fan who was a huge fan of David Price while he was a Jay, I can’t say I am too upset about the circumstances. Sure, the whole event is sad, but I am sure glad that the Jays won’t have to face him for potentially an entire season. Regardless, I still wish him the best of luck (expect when facing the Jays!).

So what does mean to the American League East? Well, for one thing they won’t have to face a 2012 Cy Young Award winner every few weeks. David Price has shown major success while pitching in the American League East for so long. For teams in the American League that have a lot of left handed hitters, it definitely helps them out with the righty-lefty hitting match up.

For the Toronto Blue Jays specifically, the injury of Price means they are that much closer to being the potential favourites to with the division. While I still think the Boston Red Sox have a lock on it, losing a major starter in David Price evens out the playing field for the Jays and could potentially make our starting rotation that much better.

Alyssa Cohen

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The Official 2017 Rule Changes to MLB

With a new season comes new players, and now even more rules to obey.

Originally, Commissioner of MLB Rob Manfred shared with the media that the CBA did not approve any of the suggested rules. They seemed to be very strict on changes and un-cooperative.

On March 2, 2o17 MLB came out with a statement addressing the official 2017 rule changes… there goes the “leaving the game the way it is” attitude from the CBA.

The new rule changes are as follows:

  • No Pitch Intentional Walk
  • 30 – Second limit for managers to decide whether to challenge play.
  • Crew chief may invoke replay review for non-HR (home run) calls beginning in the 8th inning instead of the 7th inning.
  • 2 – minute guideline for replay officials to make decision.
  • Prohibition of markers on field that could create reference system for fielders.
  • Pitcher may not take 2nd step towards home plate or otherwise reset pivot foot during delivery (of pitch).

In my opinion, these rules do more bad than good.

A no pitch intentional walk ruins part of the excitement of baseball. Have you seen the Gary Sanchez sac-fly off of an intentional walk ball? Or seen Vladimir Guerrero hit a home run on an unintentional-intentional walk ball? These were the moments that added a surprise touch of excitement to the game of baseball, and now stuff like this will never happen again!

Although I am a fan of lowering the time that managers can ask to review calls, and how long it’ll take umpires to make decisions on replay reviews, this will only slow the game down by the time of about five minutes (if that).

The stupidest rule of all has got to be the “Pitcher may not take 2nd step towards home plate or otherwise reset pivot foot during delivery (of pitch).” It’s just dumb.

I understand what Major League Baseball is trying to do. They want to game to be faster, but they want much more offence and excitement. Those two don’t add up. More offence would result in longer games, as each inning needs 3 outs to be completed. If more offence is somehow created, that’ll mean more batters coming up to hit. If they want to make the games somehow shorter, there will have to be less offence and quicker outs.

I would love to hear your opinion(s) on these rule changes, you can tweet me (and follow me while your at it) here!

The entire office of MLB is trying to make baseball appear to different people, but we all know that baseball lovers won’t be leaving anytime soon because of minor changes to rules.

Alyssa Cohen