Blue Jays Morning Brew: Nearing the pit stop

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Good morning again, Blue Jays fans, and welcome to the Morning Brew. Now that the Blue Jays are done shuffling their feet in Chicago, the club heads to Kansas City for their final series before the All Star Break. The Jays could use a break, and at this point, so could the fan base.

After watching potential trade target Jeff Samardzija dominate them on Sunday, don’t expect trade speculation to fizzle anytime soon. To kick off your weekend, let’s take a look around Blue Jays land at the stories that matter, or will matter, over the coming weeks.

TGIF, everyone. If you’re going to give it 50% at the office today, just make sure it’s your best 50%.

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

Johnny Cueto Watch  –  Want to talk yourself into wanting Johnny Cueto? Check out this great profile from Joshua Howsam of Blue Jays Plus. Howsam not only looks at the great consistency Cueto has displayed over his career, but the changes he has made to his repertoire to stay one step ahead of Major League hitters at all times.

This is valuable ammunition for discussion when we look at someone like Drew Hutchison, who has be wildly unpredictable. I still put the likelihood of Cueto in a Blue Jays uniform at less that 1% due to his contract situation and Cincinnati’s trade demands, but it’s the consistency that Toronto needs in some form. This offense does not need flashes of brilliance, it needs a starter who can limit a team to three earned runs or less over seven.

Concern with Aaron Sanchez?  –  Ian Hunter from Blue Jay Hunter gives us a great piece on Aaron Sanchez and the perception that his mechanics will lead to future injuries. He quotes Chris O’leary as saying “To fix him, you’d have to rebuild his mechanics literally from the ground up. However, and unfortunately, what he does is a product of the conventional wisdom about pitching mechanics, so I think the odds are quite low that the Blue Jays will actually fix him.”

O’leary goes on to say that Sanchez is “at best a reliever”. This is a common theme in baseball, where individuals widely predict failures so that when they get one correct, they’ll be able to cook up a fresh dish of my favorite baseball classic: “As I’ve said all along” pie!

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Ian thankfully reached out to Chris from Blue Jays Plus, too, who was much more optimistic about some of the small tweaks that Sanchez has made to his lower-body mechanics, and says that he would not consider a Minor League rebuild from the ground up.

In my opinion, the anticipation of failure far outweighs the hope for success in many baseball circles, and this represents just that. Is Sanchez’s delivery flawless and will it allow him to pitch until age-48 in full health? Perhaps not. To say he’s “at best” a reliever, though, makes me chuckle. What are your thoughts on the whole mess? Let us know, but first, read the entirety of Ian’s thoughts!

Eyes on Hoffman and Norris  –  Earlier this weekend, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Jeff Hoffman and Daniel Norris have been packing the stands with scouts recently. Teams around the MLB know that Toronto is ready to deal, and these two are the thoroughbreds.

This furthers my belief that Daniel Norris is the top chip in Alex Anthopoulos’ pocket by a good margin, given his ability to impact a team in a substantial role as early as next season. Teams are not looking for lottery tickets that will flirt with a roster in 2019, they want tickets sold now. With the huge outing from Norris this weekend, though, does his potential value to Toronto’s playoff run cause Alex to hesitate?

Josh Donaldson: Mr. Clutch  –  Brendan Kennedy of The Toronto Star takes a very interesting look at Josh Donaldson’s habit for making big plays when the team needs them most. In fact, over half of his career home runs have tied the game or put his team ahead.

Baseball stat-heads have long dismissed the existence of a “clutch hitter”, but there’s no denying that Donaldson has been extremely reliable in the high leverage situations. Kennedy quotes sports psychologist Paul Dennis as saying that some hitters can perform in these moments because “They trust themselves. They have enormous trust in their ability. Secondly they think less and are able to focus on the relevant cues.”

If I were Josh Donaldson, I’d trust my ability, too.

Next: Is Neftali Felix worth a shot for the Blue Jays?

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