The Toronto Blue Jays will officially face the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series. Game one is scheduled for Friday night at 8:08 p.m. ET in Cleveland, and the narrative couldn’t be clearer.
One year after Mark Shapiro landed in Toronto and Canadian favourite Alex Anthopoulos left town, Shapiro’s old club and new one meet for the American League crown. Along with general manager Ross Atkins, this is an achievement that demonstrates both the value of their recent moves in Toronto and the strength of their long-term building through youth in Cleveland.
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The Blue Jays now have the luxury of rotation flexibility entering the ALCS. Aaron Sanchez could start game one on regular rest, J.A. Happ could start with a bonus day of rest, or Marco Estrada could be rewarded for his brilliant ALDS start with game on on a week’s rest.
“The sooner we decide, the sooner we can set up more structure for them,” Ross Atkins told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, so while it may not be reported immediately, the internal decision could be made very soon.
Across the diamond: Danny Salazar update
Cleveland right-hander and strikeout extraordinaire Danny Salazar has been out since early September with a strained right flexor musculature (forearm), but Jeff Passan tweeted yesterday that he could be in line for an ALCS return.
“The hope: He pitches out of the pen in ALCS,” Passan tweeted, which could provide Cleveland with yet another dangerous weapon towards the back end. He held left-handed hitters to a .628 OPS (right-handed hitters had a .755 OPS).
Back to that Shapiro storyline…
Surprisingly, one of the more interesting interviews following the Blue Jays sweep of the Texas Rangers was with Mark Shapiro, who didn’t shy away from the fact that he wanted to face his old team for the American League title. Here is the clip with Sportsnet’s Barry Davis:
Arbitration projections for the upcoming offseason were recently published by MLBTR, and the Blue Jays (fairly manageable) cases are listed as follows:
- Josh Thole (5.165) – $900K
- Darwin Barney (5.085) – $1.6MM
- Aaron Loup (4.040) – $1.2MM
- Ezequiel Carrera (3.039) – $1.2MM
- Marcus Stroman (2.148) – $3.5MM
Prospect talk with Cavan Biggio
Changing gears — we’ll try to keep you up to date with any prospect news or updates throughout the offseason — Brian Crawford of Jays Prospects spoke with 2016 draftee Cavan Biggio, who is looking to build on a strong debut season.