TORONTO — Tanner Roark wasn’t dissuaded by the small ballparks and big hitters of the American League East when he signed with the Blue Jays in free agency.
The veteran right-hander should be fine in Toronto, he said, as long as he can keep the ball out of the air.
“Pop-ups, they go out for home runs. It is what it is,” Roark said with a laugh Wednesday in his introductory conference call with Toronto media. “The Blue Jays were the ones who were most interested in me and I want to go to a team that wants me.
“With the young core group of guys coming up and what we have at the big league level, maybe (I can) give some knowledge, teach them some things, answer any questions they want to know. I’m here for them.
“As for the AL East part, just make your pitches. Don’t hang a pitch or else it’s going to go far. That goes for any league, any division.”
The Blue Jays officially announced Roark’s contract Wednesday — a two-year deal worth US$24 million. The move was first reported at last week’s MLB winter meetings.
Roark, who turned 33 in October, will be stepping into a leadership role by default with a Blue Jays team stocked to the brim with young talent.
That youthful core is part of what attracted Roark to Toronto in the first place.
“They’re up and coming and they’re really young. I’m 33 years old, I don’t think I’m that old, but I’m one of the oldest guys on the team,” Roark said. “I know what kind of future this team can hold and these guys can hold within themselves just going through their first year, getting a taste of what the big leagues are about, learning from last year … I’m intrigued to see what these guys are all about.”
Roark, who entered free agency for the first time in his career this off-season, was 10-10 with a 4.35 earned-run average in 31 starts through 2019 for Cincinnati and Oakland, which acquired him at the trade deadline.
He is 74-64 with a 3.71 ERA over seven seasons, spending the first six of those with Washington before being dealt to Cincinnati last December.
Roark said the Blue Jays were the first to initiate contact with him this off-season.
He signed with the team after having conversations with pitching coach Pete Walker and bullpen coach Matt Buschmann and said he was intrigued by the prospect of working with young Blue Jays catchers Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire.
“Tempo for me is key and last year both (Toronto’s) catchers were rated great defensively and they’re young guys which is great too. …. that drew a lot of interest for me.” Roark said. “Now we’ll get to work together in spring training and we’ll to talk (about) how I pitch to certain guys and once we get on that same page and the rhythm gets going there’s nothing better.”
Toronto was 67-95 last season, with starting pitching being a major weakness. The Blue Jays also acquired right-hander Chase Anderson from Milwaukee last month to beef up their rotation.
Roark, who has one career start at Rogers Centre — a forgettable four-inning performance that saw him allow four runs on eight hits in an 8-6 loss for Washington in 2018 — provides some stability to Toronto’s currently thin rotation.
He pitched over 200 innings in 2016, winning 16 games for Washington that year with a 2.83 ERA, and has pitched at least 165 innings in four other seasons.
“I think what keeps me on the field is I work hard,” Roark said. “It can be a long arduous season, repetitive travel-wise, the mental part of it can just crush you. But I think working hard and doing what you need to do to prepare yourself for every fifth day, that’s the biggest thing.
“The stuff in between the starts is the real work and the fifth day is enjoyment of it all. All the work you’ve put in for four days and then you’re rewarded with a start to go out there and hopefully kick some butt.”
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.
Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks
A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.
Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.
Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.
In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.
The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.
DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.
DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.
In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.
DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.
Blue Jackets GM, president admit fault in Babcock debacle, reveal more red flags
Days after Mike Babcock was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by podcast host Paul Bissonette — with the retired NHL player claiming Babcock was forcing players to airplay personal photos on television in his office — Columbus Blue Jackets management addressed the debacle in a tense press conference at Nationwide Arena.
“It’s on us. It’s on me…. Sometimes you flat-out make a mistake. We made a mistake,” said Blue Jackets president of hockey ops John Davidson, per Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.
“Maybe they were right,” Davidson said of people who were critical of Mike Babcock’s hiring in the first place.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, meanwhile. said he apologized to Blue Jackets players this morning for hiring the embattled head coach.
“I believe that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach,” Kekalainen said. “Obviously that was a mistake and that responsibility’s mine.”
Still, even with the talk of accountability, Kekalainen detailed what should’ve been a red flag: Babcock apparently pulled the same phone stunt he was accused of pulling with his players on the 57-year-old executive.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Mike Babcock did the phone thing with him as well. “Personally I had no problem with it but I can see how it might put someone in an uncomfortable situation.”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 18, 2023
But while Kekalainen stated he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent behind Babcock’s actions, he admitted that some of his players were not comfortable with his methods and that was concerning.
Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell announced in a team-issued statement Monday morning that he does not anticipate further changes to the team’s leadership, erasing speculation that one or both of Kekalainen and Davidson would end up on the chopping block alongside Babcock.
“Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days,” McConnell’s statement read.
To say this story escalated rapidly would be the understatement of the century. Initially, it seemed like it would die quickly after both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner released statements through the team on Wednesday morning refuting the Spittin’ Chiclets host’s version of events.
Both Columbus’ captain and the now-former coach described their encounter as nothing more than a way of sharing snippets of one another’s life in an effort to build a working relationship. During an appearance on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on the same day as Jenner and Babcock condemned Bissonette’s comments, Blue Jackets star winger Johnny Gaudreau gave a similar account to Jenner when asked about his photo-exchange meet-and-greet with Babcock.
But the story didn’t end there, obviously, with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting things changed on Wednesday night when the NHLPA received information that some of the younger Blue Jackets players were uncomfortable with their interactions with Babcock.
Friedman later reported that the information gathered on Wednesday night prompted NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey to begin an investigation before flying out to Columbus and leading what was described as an “intense” meeting.
On Friday, Walsh and Hainsey relayed their findings during a joint meeting with the NHL and NHLPA. Saturday was arguably the quietest day of the scandal in the public eye, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski, because that’s the day Columbus and Babcock started plotting his exit.
By Sunday, the Blue Jackets announced that Babcock had resigned and Pascal Vincent would be taking over as the team’s head coach.
Vincent, 51, had served as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach since the 2021-22 season. Before joining Columbus, Vincent spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, serving as an NHL assistant for the first half of his tenure before pivoting to head coach of the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vincent was named AHL Coach Of The Year for the 2017-18 season.
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