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Blue Jays’ Favourite Player: Mid Rotation Starter (Post-2000) – Bluebird Banter



Position player polls: C / 1B / 2B / SS / 3B / LF / CF / RF / DH / Bench

Pitcher polls: Ace / #2 Starter / Pre-2000 Mid

After looking at the mid-rotation starters up to 2000 the other day, we move on the mid-rotation starters who joined the team for the 2000 season or later. This is a list of guys who had some pretty good seasons for the Blue Jays, and individually could have had seasons that push them into the #2 territory, but overall they just were not quite as good as the guys on that list.

Esteban Loaiza (2000-2002)

The Blue Jays added Loaiza prior to the trade deadline in 2000, in the ill-fated trade that sent Darwin Cubillan and future All Star Michael Young back to Texas. At the time of the trade, the Jays were 1.5 games back of first place, in possession of a very powerful offense (that was the year with 7 different players over 20 home runs), and had a few bright spots on the pitching staff but just needed a bit more. Loaiza came over and had a pretty good finish to his season (3.62 ERA over 92 innings), but that wasn’t enough to propel the Jays to the playoffs.

His next two seasons in Toronto weren’t as good, as he went 20-21 with a 5.33 ERA (116 ERA-), although his FIP suggests he was pitching much better than the results he was getting, putting up a 4.51 mark in 2001 and even better 4.19 in 2002 (98 FIP- total over the 2 seasons).

The season after Loaiza left the Jays, he had easily the best season of his career, when he went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA, finishing in second place to Roy Halladay. He was the starting pitcher for the AL in the All Star game that year too. But he was never that pitcher with the Jays. After his playing career was over, he has made a name for himself doing some not so great things.

Shaun Marcum (2005-2010)

The Jays drafted Marcum out of college in the third round of the 2003 draft, and he made his way to the Majors fairly quickly. He was in the bullpen as a September callup in 2005, and then spent the next couple years splitting time between the bullpen and rotation, picking up a 15-10 record and a 4.44 ERA.

He had a great season in 2008, making 25 starts and going 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA over 151.1 innings. However, after struggling to stay fully healthy throughout the second half of the season, he ended up blowing out his UCL in a September 16 start, and missed the entirety of the 2009 season as he recovered from Tommy John Surgery.

Fully recovered, Marcum took the ball for the Jays on opening day in 2010, and had another great season. He went 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA over 195.1 innings, putting up 4.1 bWAR and a 3.5 fWAR. That December, the Blue Jays shipped him off to Milwaukee, bringing back Brett Lawrie in return.

J.A. Happ (2012-2014, 2016-2018)

The Blue Jays sent several players to Houston prior to the 2012 trade deadline, bringing back their prized haul in Happ. Happ made 50 starts and another 8 relief appearances in his first stint, going 19-20 with a 4.39 ERA. The Jays traded Happ away after the 2014 season, bringing back Michael Saunders from the Mariners.

The Mariners flipped him to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline in 2015, and Happ revamped his game there. His success as a Pirate convinced the Jays to bring him back on a 3 year, $36m deal prior to the 2016 season.

Happ did not disappoint in his first season back, as he went 20-4 with a 3.18 ERA over 195.1 innings. He placed 6th in the Cy Young voting, and had some success in the playoffs that year too. He made just a pair of starts, allowing 3 runs over 10 innings, picking a win over the Rangers but a loss against Cleveland.

He was nearly as good his final year and a half as well, picking up another 20 wins for non-competitive teams, and completing his second stint as a Blue Jay with a 40-21 record and a 3.55 ERA. Overall, his entire Blue Jay career amounts to a 59-41 record with a 3.88 ERA, 11.1 fWAR and 10.6 bWAR.

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Mark Buehrle (2013-2015)

The Blue Jays brought Buehrle and a host of other expensive Major Leaguers over from the Marlins in the ill-fated Jeff Mathis trade in November 2012. The future Hall of Famer ended up being the best player that came to Toronto, and the only one still left on the team when they clinched the playoff spot in 2015. Sadly, Buehrle was left off the postseason roster, as his season wound down and he was clearly out of gas.

Buehrle had a pretty strong 3 year run in Toronto. Overall, he went 40-28 with a 3.78 ERA over 604.1 innings. He crossed the 200 inning threshold in the first 2 seasons (and 14 consecutive in his career), but fell 4 outs short of that mark in 2015 as a last ditch effort on 1 day of rest resulted in 8 runs over 0.2 innings in game 162.

He threw 5 complete games and 2 shutouts in his 3 seasons here. In the 4 years since he left, the Jays have 0 shutouts and just 3 complete games – 2 by Marcus Stroman, and 1 by Ryan Feierabend, a 5 inning rain shortened loss that will stump you on a future Sporcle from Minor Leaguer.

Papa Buehrle was a great mentor the younger pitchers, specifically Stroman. He brought a love of the game and a strong work ethic to the clubhouse, and he was a veteran that you could actually see providing the coveted yet unmeasurable Veteran Presence.

R.A. Dickey (2013-2016)

After the Jays pulled off the Mathis trade, the Jays realized that they still had a hole at the top of their rotation, and they traded for the reigning 2012 NL Cy Young winner. This Cy Young winner was a bit different though, as the 38 year old knuckleballer had just started coming into his own, and obviously wasn’t your typical overpowering ace. Nonetheless, Alex Anthopoulos pulled the trigger on the trade to send future ace Noah Syndergaard and top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud back to the Mets.

The charismatic Dickey had a solid few years in Toronto, overall putting up a 49-52 record with a 4.05 ERA across 130 starts. He was also the 2013 AL Gold Glover winner on the mound, showing that he had some defensive value as well. That amounted to a 7.1 bWAR, but that also doesn’t account for the -2.0 bWAR that his personal catcher, Josh Thole, provided the Jays in that time too.

When the Jays finally made it to the playoffs in 2015, Dickey was right there making the start in game 4 of the ALDS against the Rangers, pitching 4.2 innings while allowing just 1 run. He didn’t fare nearly as well against the Royals in the ALCS however, lasting just 1.2 innings in game 4 while allowing 5 runs to kick off a 14-2 loss. Dickey was around in 2016, but was shut down in September and never made the playoff roster.

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Marco Estrada (2015-2018)

The Jays traded fan favourite first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind to the Brewers prior to the 2015 season to bolster their pitching depth with Marco Estrada. Estrada was meant to go to the bullpen and provide a backup plan if there were holes in the rotation, but mainly be a swingman jumping between the bullpen and rotation as needed. After a month in the bullpen, he made his first start on May 5, and never pitched out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays again.

Estrada and his incredible changeup had some remarkable starts for the Blue Jays, with his best regular season effort coming on June 24 in Tampa Bay. He was perfect through 7 innings, ultimately making it 8.2 innings of 2 hits, no walks or runs, and 10 strikeouts. His ability to limit hits was incredible, and he led the league in hits allowed per 9 innings in both 2015 and 2016. Unfortunately back problems plagued a lot of his time with the Blue Jays, and he was never able to pitch more than 186 innings in any of his 4 seasons.

But he certainly was healthy when it came time for the playoffs. He pitched some of the biggest games for the Jays, including staving off elimination with gems in both game 3 of the 2015 ALDS, and game 5 of the 2015 ALCS. Over 41.2 playoff innings with the Jays, Estrada allowed just 10 earned runs on 29 hits, good enough for a 2.16 ERA. And when he was on, he made batters look absolutely foolish at the plate. (<— you want to click this link)

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Who was your favourite post-2000s mid rotation starter?

  • 0%

    Esteban Loaiza

    (0 votes)

  • 14%

    Shaun Marcum

    (52 votes)

  • 18%

    J.A. Happ

    (67 votes)

  • 18%

    Mark Buehrle

    (68 votes)

  • 0%

    R.A. Dickey

    (3 votes)

  • 47%

    Marco Estrada

    (175 votes)

365 votes total

Vote Now

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McDavid, Draisaitl need to be more 'battle-tested,' Oilers GM says –



Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl need to become more “battle-tested” if the Edmonton Oilers are going to contend for the Stanley Cup, general manager Ken Holland said Tuesday.

Holland said he hopes the Oilers’ loss in four games to the Chicago Blackhawks in their best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifier series will be valuable experience for the forwards, who were the two leading scorers in the NHL this season.

“They are getting better, but I also think in this playoff series, we were playing against battle-tested players,” Holland said. “Some players there won three Stanley Cups. They have to learn that too.”

Chicago forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and defenseman Duncan Keith were players in the lineup against Edmonton who have won three championships (2010, 2013 and 2015) with the Blackhawks.

Toews led Chicago with seven points (four goals, three assists) in the series. Kane scored four points (one goal, three assists), and Keith had four assists.

This was the second time McDavid, who entered the NHL in the 2015-16 season, and Draisaitl, who made his NHL debut in 2014-15, have been to the postseason. The Oilers reached the Western Conference Second Round in 2017, losing in seven games to the Anaheim Ducks.

Draisaitl won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring leader this season with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) in 71 games, then scored six points (three goals, three assists) in the four games against Chicago. He is a finalist for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.

Video: NHL Tonight on 2020 Hart Trophy Finalists

McDavid, who was voted the Hart winner in 2016-17 and won the Art Ross in 2016-17 and 2017-18, was second to Draisaitl in scoring this season with 97 points (34 goals, 63 assists) in 64 games. In the Qualifiers, he led the NHL with nine points (five goals, four assists) in four games.

The Oilers (37-25-9, .585 points percentage), the No. 5 seed in the West, failed to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs; the Blackhawks (32-30-8, .514) were the No. 12 seed in the conference.

Holland used the Blackhawks as a measuring stick Tuesday when asked if the Oilers’ top two players need to give up some of their offense to make a stronger defensive commitment.

“I saw that happening,” Holland said. “You’re talking about the two guys, but certainly our entire team, we are learning that defense is as important as offense in terms of going for long playoff runs. That’s the experience I’m talking about. I’m believing and hoping that this Chicago series, this disappointment, is going to be an experience down the road so they are, we are getting better.

“We’re making progress. They’re learning. They’re getting better. (Coach) Dave Tippett asked them to work harder away from the puck. I watched it. They did.”

Holland said forward Tyler Ennis broke his right leg in Game 3 and sustained ligament damage to his ankle. He left the game late in the second period after being checked into the boards behind the Edmonton net by Chicago forward Kirby Dach. Ennis, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, is expected to need 2 1/2 months to recover. He scored two points (one goal, one assist) in three games in the series.

Defenseman Adam Larsson was unable to play in Games 3 and 4 because of a back injury, Holland said.

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Grier, Salvador coach all-minority team to tournament championship –



An all-minority team coached by former NHL players Mike Grier and Bryce Salvador won the Beantown Summer Classic Tuesday, with the help of a British import.

Forward Mason Alderson’s goal with less than three minutes to play in the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and led the NextGen AAA Foundation to a 4-2 win against the Bombers. 

“This is like nothing that I’ve ever had,” said Alderson, who played at Berwick Academy in Maine last season and captained Great Britain at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World Championship Division I, Group B in Hungary. “To be out there with that caliber of players — we had a Montreal [Canadiens] draft pick, a QMJHL goalie. It just goes to show that we can do as good as anybody, if not better.”

The NextGen team fulfilled its primary goal of winning the invitation-only tournament, which attracts NHL scouts, by going undefeated.

The team of 19 Black players and one Hispanic player was also successful in showcasing minority talent in hopes of attracting more players of color to the sport.

“This was an experience of a lifetime,” said forward Reggie Millette, a forward for Dubuque of the USHL who’s committed to playing for American International College in 2021-22. “I know that we did some big things out there and inspired a lot of people.”

The NextGen was stocked with collegiate and junior hockey talent that included Millette; Jordan Harris, a Northeastern University defenseman who was selected by the Canadiens in the third round (No. 71) of the 2018 NHL Draft; Ross Mitton, who played for Omaha of the USHL last season and will join Colgate in the fall; Christian Jimenez, a defenseman for Sioux City of the USHL and a 2021-22 Harvard University commit; and Davenport, who played for Victoria of the British Columbia Hockey League last season. 

For Grier, a New Jersey Devils assistant and the only Black assistant who worked behind the bench during NHL games last season, and Salvador, who was the third Black captain in the NHL when he played for the Devils, the tournament was also about helping players bond and strike up lasting friendships.

“I’m not a guy who gets too emotional, but it was at times a surreal experience,” said Salvador, who is a hockey analyst for MSG Network. “You’re in a locker room and you see a group of guys that are just 100 percent comfortable, not being judged, not thinking you’re being judged. You’re just hanging out and having a good time. It was nice to see that. It was an experience I never got to have as a player. So, it’s nice to see other players enjoy it.”

Goaltender Tyriq Outen said it felt like he and his teammates, who he had just met over the weekend, had been playing together forever.

“Right off the bat, everybody just clicked like we were a regular season team for years,” said Outen, who played for Grand Falls Rapids of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League last season and Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2018-19. 

The team was formed by NextGen AAA Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and hockey programs to underprivileged youth and underserved communities. It was founded by Dee Dee Ricks, a philanthropist and hockey mom who has provided more than $1 million to help Black and brown student-athletes at some of the leading preparatory schools, colleges and travel hockey programs throughout North America.

Rod Braceful, the assistant director of player personnel for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program helped recruit players for the NextGen tournament team.

The NHL and Pure Hockey, the largest hockey retailer in the U.S., sponsored the team, which attracted a few fans to the Exeter, New Hampshire rink for the tournament. 

Bryant McBride, who was the first Black executive in the NHL during the 1990s and the architect of the League’s Diversity Task Force, the predecessor of the Hockey Is For Everyone initiative, made the one hour drive from Boston Tuesday to watch the game. He spoke to the NextGen players in the locker room afterward. 

“It’s really special to see all those kids from all over get a chance to do this,” said McBride, executive producer of “Willie,” the documentary about Willie O’Ree, the first Black player in the NHL. “I never had a teammate of color, ever. I just let them know that they were an amazing first. And they had a real sense about how special it was.”

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Listen to the Ear-Splitting Home Radio Call of Brayden Point’s Fifth-Overtime Game-Winner – Sports Illustrated



In Wednesday’s Hot Clicks: the Lightning and Blue Jackets play one of the longest games in NHL history, a wild baseball game in Philly and more.

Five overtimes!

There were no fans to head for the exits early when the Lightning and Blue Jackets played one of the longest games in NHL history Tuesday afternoon (and night). 

Tampa Bay and Columbus played 90 minutes and 27 seconds of extra time, the fourth-longest game the league has ever seen. The game started at 3 p.m. ET and didn’t end until 9:23. It went on for so long that the Bruins-Hurricanes game previously scheduled for 8 p.m. had to be pushed back to the morning

Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo made an NHL-record 85 saves but couldn’t stop Brayden Point’s wrister from the high slot more than halfway through the fifth overtime. 

It was a dramatic goal and it produced some fantastic commentary from the guys calling the game on TV and radio. 

Here’s how it sounded with Gord Miller on the call for NBCSN.

Rick Peckham handles the play-by-play duties for the Lightning on Fox Sports Sun and sounded like he was in disbelief when Point’s shot hit the back of the net. 

Radio play-by-play man Dave Mishkin definitely believed what he saw, though. Mishkin, who handles the Bolts’ broadcasts on WFLA, nearly blew his mic out screaming, “Scores! Scores! Scores!”

Blue Jackets radio guy Bob McElligott, on the other hand, was absolutely crestfallen.

(I couldn’t find Fox Sports Columbus play-by-play announcer Jeff Rimer’s call of the goal, so please send it my way if you come across it.)

The game was the NHL’s longest in 20 years, 94 seconds shorter than a Flyers-Penguins conference semifinal game from May 4, 2000. The two longest games in league history were played in 1933 and 1936, more than two decades before the first goalie wore a mask full-time. So Point’s goal was a truly historic moment that we’ll be seeing for decades to come. With any luck, it’ll be Mishkin’s frantic call that lives on as the preferred historical record of Point’s goal.’s game recap page is already using the audio of Mishkin’s call over NBCSN’s video feed. 

The best of SI

The college football dominoes are starting to fall with the Big Ten and Pac-12 canceling their seasons. … From the latest issue of the magazine, Lamar Jackson is helping to redefine the quarterback position for young players.. … What’s next for embattled MLB commissioner Rob Manfred?

Around the sports world

At least 10 Big Ten football players reportedly have a rare heart condition associated with COVID-19. … Rob Manfred concedes it’s going to be tough to have the Cardinals play 60 games this season. … A rugby team in Australia is threatening to cut a player who breached the league’s COVID-19 protocol by going to the opening of a (biker-gang-connected) barbershop. … Hafthor Bjornsson (aka “The Mountain” from Game of Thrones) is retiring from strongman competitions.

The NHL, which has had a really good sense of humor about the empty arenas, had a lot of fun on the video boards with the marathon game

The Orioles won in extras thanks to two blunders by the Phillies

Fantastic idea from the Suns

A rare mean streak from Giannis

The Bucks were a total mess on this sequence after Giannis got ejected

Never change, HBC

The perils of working from home

That’s not Tom Brady

The Blue Jays made their Buffalo debut

MLB gave Alex Cintrón a historic suspension

I want to know where Disney is finding golf clubs that don’t look cartoonish in the hands of a 7′ 5″ guy

The Sabres have new jerseys that throw it back to their original ones

Not sports

A man in Peru perusing Google Street View discovered that his wife was having an affair. … The world’s last remaining Blockbuster store is being listed on Airbnb. … The cocreator of Better Call Saul gave a cryptic hint about an object that will play a key role in the final season. … A 17-year-old employee at Sesame Place was hospitalized after being attacked by a man he asked to wear a mask.

Hell, I’d get a book from there

Fresh Prince is getting rebooted as a drama

You have to be a special kind of freak to stuff coffee beans in your lip

It was so windy in Australia, waterfalls flowed backward

A good song

Email with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.

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