The Toronto Blue Jays have hired former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington to be their new Vice President of Baseball Operations, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported.
In Cherington's new role, he will report to G.M. Ross Atkins and provide an emphasis on player development.
For the 2015-16 school year, the 42-year-old Cherington had been serving as a professor at Columbia University, where he taught a "leadership in sports" class as part of the university's sports management program.
Cherington is a graduate of Amherst College, and, after spending a season with the Cleveland Indians, worked with the Red Sox in a variety of positions from 1999 to 2015.
From 2011 on, Cherington was the Red Sox' G.M., and he led the team to their World Series win in 2013. As a result, Cherington was named Major League Baseball Executive of the Year by The Sporting News, a distinction only two Red Sox executives had ever received prior.
In 2015, after the Red Sox brought Dave Dombrowski in to serve as president of baseball operations and oversee Cherington, he submitted his resignation.
Now, Cherington will go to a Blue Jays franchise that has done well over the past two seasons, with the team making the postseason in 2015 for the first time since 1993.
At the top of their front office, the Jays have the aforementioned Atkins and President of Baseball Operations Mark Shapiro, both of whom have only been in charge of the club for the 2016 season. Cherington will add to them.
The Toronto Blue Jays spent most of trade deadline day shuffling around their starting rotation, but after the bell sounded is when their biggest deal leaked.
As first reported by Robert Murray of FanRag Sports, the Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates have struck a deal. Toronto has acquired Francisco Liriano and two top prospects--catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramirez--in exchange for right-hander Drew Hutchinson.
The 32-year-old Liriano had been one of the Pirates' best pitchers over the past three years, if not their best pitcher. But in 2016, he has struggled, allowing the Blue Jays to potentially buy him on the low in a free agent year.
The Dominican Republic native has gone 6-11 this season with a 5.46 ERA over 21 starts, numbers that are not great. He has struck out 116 batters over 113 2/3 innings pitched, in line with his career averages but has walked 69, highest in the National League.
He'll struggle in Toronto if he can't find his location in the hitter-friendly American League East, but at the same time, he could be a great add for them down the stretch. He has playoff experience and had a 3.26 ERA and a 2.54 K/BB ratio from 2012 to 2015.
Liriano's current three-year, $39 million deal culminates at the end of 2016.
Hutchinson, on the other hand, is another buy-low candidate for Pittsburgh. He is just 25 years old but has never quite broken out as a great starter in Toronto.
This season, in particular, he's been hit around a bit in the Majors, allowing seven earned runs and four home runs while posting a 12-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 12 2/3 innings pitched. In Triple-A, he's pitched to a 3.26 ERA and a 110-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 102 innings.
One positive to Hutchinson is that he is able to be controlled through the 2018 season. And if there is any team that can fix him up, it's the Pirates, who have been known to help many pitchers mechanically, including Liriano.
The Toronto Blue Jays have made a trade on Monday, adding a useful outfielder to bolster their already great offensive attack.
According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays acquired San Diego Padres' outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. in exchange for right-handed pitcher Hansel Rodriguez.
Amid trade rumors, Upton has sat out of the Padres' lineup for the past two games.
Besides the Blue Jays, the Orioles had interest in trading for Upton's services, and it appeared that they would be the team that ultimately acquired him until Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Blue Jays became the "front runner" in the talks.
This season, Upton has enjoyed a rebound campaign, showing glimpses of what made him one of baseball's best young outfielders from 2007 to 2012.
In 374 plate appearances, Upton has hit .256/.304/.439 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI in 92 games. He also has 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts, and according to FanGraphs, he has been worth 1.5 Wins Above Replacement.
Despite these solid numbers, Upton still has posted a high strikeout rate, striking out 106 times in his 374 plate appearances, good for a 28.3 percent strikeout rate.
According to Heyman, the Padres will pay all but $5 million of the remaining approximate $22 million on Upton's salary.
Upton will likely fill in at center field with the Blue Jays, where he can spell Kevin Pillar if needed. Overall, he will likely be a semi-regular, helping out at all three spots when necessary.
The 19-year-old Rodriguez has gone 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA and a 26 to 11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 32 1/3 innings in the Rookie-level Appalachian League this season. He heads to the Padres.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce was thought to have been a huge trade chip last season as a left-handed, power hitting outfielder that came with a year-and-a-half of team control.
Aug. 1 came and Jay Bruce was still a Red.
But this season, Bruce has an even higher chance to be traded. The Reds are 34-58, sitting in last in the NL Central and are in full rebuild-mode. Bruce is a free agent at the end of the season, finishing off of a six-year, $51 million contract. And teams need him.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, six teams have already checked in on Bruce. These are the Indians, Rangers, Nationals, Orioles, Giants and Dodgers. The Blue Jays have also reportedly shown interest in Bruce.
In addition, all six of these teams have been in the markets for other outfielders such as Ryan Braun, Josh Reddick and perhaps even Carlos Gonzalez.
The 29-year-old Bruce was picked by the Reds in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 2005 MLB Draft and has been a staple in their lineup ever since coming up to the Major Leagues.
The three-time All-Star (including 2016) is a defensive liability, however, many teams value offensive contributions, especially on the left-handed side of the plate.
This season, Bruce is hitting .265/.317/.532 with 18 home runs and 64 RBI over 353 plate appearances in 86 games. Though according to FanGraphs, Bruce has only been worth 0.1 Wins Above Replacement.
This is because of his defense. Bruce has an awful -20.6 ultimate zone rating per 150 games (UZR/150), meaning that he would be almost 21 runs worse than the average right fielder in terms of range and making defensive plays.
Over his career, Bruce has always been an offense-first player, carrying a .249/.319/.467 line with 226 home runs and 644 RBI in parts of nine seasons. His career wRC+ of 107 suggests that he has been seven percent better offensively than the league-average hitter. This year, his wRC+ is 118.
As the Aug. 1 trade deadline quickly approaches, it's more than likely Jay Bruce will find himself in a new home.
The Toronto Blue Jays acquired right-hander Jason Grilli from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league right-hander Sean Ratcliffe, the teams announced on Tuesday.
The deal was first reported by Robert Murray of BaseballEssential.com.
The 39-year-old Grilli will be joining his ninth organization. In 17 innings pitched this year, he has a 5.29 ERA and a 4.41 FIP, striking out 23 batters and walking 13. Grilli added two saves and two holds in six total save opportunities.
In Toronto, Grilli joined a bullpen that needed help at the end of games.
Drew Storen, who was expected to take the role of setup man at the beginning of the year, currently has pitched to a career-worst 6.75 ERA in 17 1/3 innings. His 19 to 13 strikeout-to-walk ratio suggests that he might be a bit better than his results show, but nonetheless, Storen has a 4.79 FIP.
As a whole, the Blue Jays' bullpen ranks 13th in the Majors with a 3.80 ERA, but they rank 19th in fWAR, with 0.5. An early upgrade in Grilli definitely will not hurt as Toronto looks to contend in a tough American League East.
As for Ratcliffe, the 21-year-old that is headed to the Braves was drafted in the 18th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Pitching in Low-A Vancouver, Ratcliffe has a 3.60 ERA and a 30 to 16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 innings (22 games; 1 start).