For the price of one top-of-the-rotation starter, Ross Atkins also bought a change in perception.
Seen from the outside as a front office regime brought in to keep costs controlled and, potentially, stumble into contention every once in a while, wins were few and far between for Atkins and the Toronto Blue Jays through his first four years on the job – both on the field and in the public eye.
After a couple of quiet, cost-cutting off-seasons, stories of the Blue Jays being aggressive in free agency from the outset this winter were met with eye rolls and a more than fair wait-and-see attitude.
That all changed late Sunday night when the Jays and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, one of the premier arms on the free-agent market, agreed to terms on a four-year, $80-million deal, a source confirmed.
One important detail in the contract is it does not contain any opt-outs, per sources, and there is a limited no-trade clause as well.
It’s by far the largest investment Atkins has made in a player, surpassing the three-year, $33-million deal he handed Kendrys Morales in the winter of 2016, and it’s also the second-largest total value free-agent contract in franchise history, just behind the $82.5 million deal Russell Martin signed in 2014.
When it comes to pitchers, it’s reminiscent of the contract J.P. Ricciardi used to lure A.J. Burnett to Toronto way back in December 2005, a five-year, $55-million pact.
That Burnett deal could be used as a comparison in a different way, too, as Ryu comes with similar health risks, making it a move that has the Atkins regime ready to shed its label as a risk-adverse front office.
As I wrote here on the final day of the winter meetings in San Diego earlier this month when it became very apparent Ryu was not only the apple of Atkins’ eye but also their best chance to land one of the upper-tier options on the pitching market, the Blue Jays had to go all-in.
The expected $20 million per year floor came to fruition, and it’s likely that the fourth year tacked on, one that will take Ryu through his age-36 season in 2023, was instrumental in getting the South Korean lefty to choose an American League East destination not named New York or Boston over a pair of rotation-needy Los Angeles clubs.
Ryu represented Atkins’ best chance to get a top-of-the-rotation starter for nothing but money, something that seemed like a pipe dream for many just a few short weeks ago.
Coming off a second-place finish in the National League Cy Young race and a 2.32 ERA, Ryu is inarguably exactly what the Blue Jays needed – an impact starter.
But his resume, however, is littered with health issues — Ryu has landed on the IL nine different times in six years with shoulder (twice), hip (twice), groin (twice), elbow, foot and neck injuries – leaving a whole lot of risk involved with a four-year commitment to a pitcher in his mid-30s.
Since arriving in the majors with the Dodgers in 2013, Ryu has thrown more than 150 innings just three times.
He threw 192 in his rookie year, followed by 152 in 2014.
From 2015 through 2018, however, Ryu was only able to make 40 starts total, before throwing 182.2 innings and winning 14 games this season.
With that being said, the timing was right for this type of risk in a number of ways.
Not only does it show a beaten-down fan base that everything they believed about this regime’s philosophy going forward was false, it also kicks the plan to be a legit contender by 2021 into overdrive.
There’s no doubt adding Ryu, along with veteran right-handers Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson, makes the Blue Jays a better team in 2020, but it’s more about surrounding the young position player core with a couple more building blocks now, before adding a handful more next winter.
Had Atkins not been able to add an arm like Ryu now, it would have simply left more work to do in the future and the clock ticking on Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio’s cheap, pre-arbitration years.
You can’t build a rotation or a ball club in one off-season.
When 2021 arrives, the Jays envision a rotation headed by Ryu and Nate Pearson, followed by 2020 off-season addition X, Roark, and they’ll cross their fingers and hope one or two of the other internal options they’ve collected over the past couple of years can prove they’re capable of being part of the plan.
Where things go from here will be interesting.
Ryu could be the cherry on top of what now looks a successful off-season, or it could be just the start.
Rumours the Jays have checked in on David Price are legit, but the Boston Red Sox will have to pay around half of the $96 million he’s owed over the next three seasons or it’s not happening.
An upgrade is also desperately needed in centre field, while the bullpen now becomes a focus. Suddenly, a Ken Giles trade doesn’t seem as likely as it once did.
By no means is this team anything more than an everything-went-right wild-card contender in 2020 as the roster currently stands, but there’s now no mistaking what this front office is up to and their desire to win.
A player development machine with more than enough financial resources to keep players around and make free-agent splashes when the time is right is what the Blue Jays want to become, and we’re finally starting to see the two converge.
Garnacho on target as United beats Crystal Palace in League Cup defence
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Seven months after lifting the trophy, Manchester United made a successful start to its defense of the English League Cup on Tuesday by beating Crystal Palace 3-0.
Alejandro Garnacho and Casemiro fired the holders into a 2-0 first-half lead at Old Trafford and Anthony Martial added a third after the break in the third-round match.
It is now back-to-back wins for Erik ten Hag’s team, which has endured a disappointing start to the season.
The dominant performance against an understrength Palace followed Saturday’s narrow victory at Burnley and will give United fans hope the team has turned its form around.
“The mood is always good, but of course when you are not winning at United there is disappointment, and there is frustration, but the togetherness is always there,” Ten Hag said. “We know we are not now in the position where we want to be. So we have to build up, we have to catch up and then you have to go from game to game, working on the process and working on the results. Don’t get too far ahead.”
The League Cup ranks fourth among English soccer’s most important trophies. But Ten Hag still savored last season’s success.
Victory against Newcastle in February’s final at Wembley Stadium ended the club’s six-year wait for a trophy and saw Ten Hag deliver silverware in his first season at the club. He went on to also reach the FA Cup final, only to lose to Manchester City, and also guided United back into the Champions League to mark an impressive campaign.
Things have not gone so well this term, with his team losing four out of five games before beating Burnley 1-0.
This latest victory was far more convincing, even if Palace benched regular starters Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Joachim Anderson and was also without forward Odsonne Edouard.
Ten Hag also made changes with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund on the bench and Christian Eriksen absent.
Mason Mount, however, made his first appearance since Aug. 19 after returning from an injury.
Garnacho fired United ahead in the 21st minute after converting Diogo Dalot’s cutback in the box.
His low shot had too much power for Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who had only just come on as a substitute for the injured Dean Henderson.
Johnstone was tested again moments later when Dalot blasted an effort from an angle, which the keeper blocked.
He was beaten again, however, in the 27th, this time by Casemiro, who headed in Mount’s corner to double United’s lead.
Martial added a third 10 minutes into the second half when firing across goal after meeting Casemiro’s looping ball to the far post.
United plays Palace again in the Premier League on Saturday and the Londoners showed their threat when twice forcing saves from ‘keeper Andre Onana later in the match. But manager Roy Hodgson did not sound confident about securing a different outcome when the teams next meet.
“We are going to have to become a totally different team in the way we approach the game and the way we play the game,” he said.
Third-division Exeter produced a shock 1-0 win against Luton to knock the Premier League club out of the competition. Luton made 10 changes from the team that picked up its first topflight point of the season against Wolverhampton on Saturday, but the result will still go down as a big upset. Demetri Mitchell scored the winner in the 83rd, but Exeter had to see out the game with 10 men after he was sent off in the 88th.
Wolverhampton was also eliminated after throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at second-division Ipswich. Hwang Hee-Chan and Toti Gomes had seemingly put the visitors on course for the next round after goals inside the first 15 minutes. But Omari Hutchinson, Freddie Ladapo and Jack Taylor sealed a comeback win for Ipswich.
Burnley is still waiting for its first win in the league this season, but it is powering on in the cup after a 4-0 win against Salford City, the fourth division club co-owned by Manchester United greats including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough beat Bradford 2-0 and Port Vale won 2-1 against Sutton United.
Fourth-division Mansfield beat third-division Peterborough 3-1 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation time. Lucas Akins’ penalty to even the score in the 93rd had sent the game to a shootout.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation
One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.
Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
Examining the Casino’s Game Selection
Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.
Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
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