The Toronto Blue Jays entered the All-Star break with fanfare and excitement all throughout the organization.
At the Minor League level, multiple prospects are standing out like Spencer Horwitz, Gabriel Moreno, and Gabriel Martinez while pitching prospects Yosver Zulueta and Ricky Tiedemann were both named to the All-Star Future’s Game roster, with each pitcher posting clean outings.
The Blue Jays decided to make a change at the Major League level and let manager Charlie Montoyo go, replacing him with bench coach John Schneider for the remainder of the season. The Jays’ record at the All-Star break is 50-43 and they currently occupy the third Wild Card spot with the Boston Red Sox 2.0 games back.
Blue Jays and the All-Star Rosters
The All-Star Game is set for later this evening with a 7:30 EST start. The starting pitchers and lineups were announced yesterday, with Rays starter Shane McClanahan getting the nod for the AL while hometown Dodger Clayton Kershaw starts for the NL squad.
The Blue Jays have five representatives at the game this year, technically six if you count George Springer, who decided to skip the festivities to rest his elbow. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk will be starting in the game, with Vladdy slotting in at first base and fourth in the batting order while Kirk starts behind the plate and will bat ninth. This will be Guerrero Jr.’s second All-Star appearance after winning the MVP award in the Midsummer Classic last season where he went 1 for 3 with a home run and two RBI. This is Kirk’s first appearance at the All-Star Game.
Five Toronto Blue Jays players will be game ready for tonight’s All-Star Game with both Guerrero Jr. and Kirk starting in the Midsummer Classic.
Rounding out the Blue Jays contingent in Los Angeles are RHP Alek Manoah, RHP Jordan Romano, and INF Santiago Espinal, with both Romano and Espinal being named as replacement players just prior to the festivities. There is no guarantee that any of the three mentioned above will suit up in the game tonight but I would imagine Manoah has the best chance of the group considering how well he is pitching this year.
"Blue Jays: Outfielder George Springer will not play in the All-Star Game"
It would be especially cool if Manoah gets into the game somewhat earlier and is able to pitch to Kirk before he gets pulled. Romano could see some action late in the game but there are other strong relievers on the AL squad who may get a shot before him. This is the first All-Star appearance for all three of the players mentioned above.
Potential Trade Partners on Display
The Blue Jays are one team that is needing to make some moves at the deadline if they want to secure their postseason spot and a few players that could help the organization will be at the game this evening.
The biggest name right now is Juan Soto, and while the rumour train is swirling regarding his availability, the Jays may not have the prospect capital to get a trade done compared to other squads with deeper farm systems. That’s not to say a trade still can’t be made for the superstar outfielder but as we all know, the Nationals are going to want an absolute haul of prospects and MLB-ready players and this will surely leave a mark on the Jays’ farm system, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the front office is serious about contending for a World Series.
Other names to watch out for who could be potential trade assets for the Blue Jays include OF Ian Happ (Cubs), RHP Luis Castillo (Reds), and RHP David Bednar (Pirates). Happ is the lefty bat that the Jays could use in the lineup while Castillo is one of the premier starting pitchers that should be available at the trade deadline this year. Bednar is a top reliever with years of contract control but the Pirates don’t seem to be interested in trading him at the moment and have already rejected trade offers for the right-hander. OF Andrew Benintendi (Royals) was a potential trade target until it was found out that he was unvaccinated and would be subject to both Canada and the United States border entry requirements.
One interesting thing to note about tonight’s All-Star Game is that if the score is tied after nine innings, a home run derby will decide the eventual winner of the contest. Three batters from each team will get three swings and the team with the most home runs will be declared the winner. A neat and fun rule change in my opinion that probably has more fans rooting for a tie now.
Tonight’s game can be found on Sportsnet across all five channels starting at 7:30 pm EST.