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Blue Jays: Robbie Ray and the Blue Jays agree on a 1 year, $8M deal – Jays Journal

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The Blue Jays have struck early in free agency, re-signing Robbie Ray to a one-year deal and hoping he can continue to trend toward his former self.

The Blue Jays are the first to strike this offseason, signing Robbie Ray to a one-year, $8 million deal as per Jeff Passan of ESPN. Robbie Ray is coming off a terrible season, with an ERA of 6.62 and 45 walks in 51.2 IP.

Re-signing Robbie Ray was a decent move for this Jays club, but the question is whether he is actually worth $8 million. His numbers were quite ugly last year, but there is also an argument to be made that a small sample size of 11 starts in a shortened season doesn’t do the southpaw any justice.

Between Ray’s All-Star 2017 season and the 2018-19 campaigns, he boasted a modest 3.72 ERA in 85 starts with an eye-popping K/9 of 12.1. If his 2020 numbers were just the product of a small sample size then the Jays are getting a steal of a deal, but if his numbers don’t wind up fixing themselves in a bigger sample size, then the Jays are overpaying for Robbie Ray. Albeit, $8 million is not enough to cash strap a team in baseball terms, especially a team owned by a massive public company (Rogers Communications). At this point the question for Blue Jays fans is whether or not Ray’s numbers were only inflated because of a bad stretch in a small sample size.

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Robbie Ray’s general player profile fits the bill for the Blue Jays MO in their rotation, namely to have guys who consistently eat innings to take pressure off the bullpen and spot starters. Excluding the shortened 2020 campaign, Robbie Ray threw at least 123.2 IP between 2015 and 2019. This is similar to the last offseason’s signing of Tanner Roark and acquisition of Chase Anderson.  Between Roark, Anderson and Ray, all are starting pitchers with modest career ERA’s between the high 3’s and low 4’s and an ability to throw a lot of innings.

At just 29 years old, this upcoming season will be crucially important for Ray to secure a more sizeable contract next year. For Ray, this is an opportunity to rebuild his value and put 2020 behind him going into 2021. A good season in 2021 should help nullify his abysmal 2020 performance and net a multi-year deal. However, another bad season could make Robbie Ray the newest journeyman in MLB.

The quick movement on the hot stove could be a sign of more to come for the Blue Jays. They are coming off their first winning season after three losing ones and looking to increase their payroll. In 2017, coming off back to back ALCS appearances, the Jays ranked 7th in baseball with a total payroll of about $175 million dollars. Presently, the Jays have a much more favourable aging curve with respect to performance, and look to have an offseason that starts to inch their payroll towards the upper tiers of the league. Mark Shapiro recently told Sportsnet, “The resources are going to be there to add in a meaningful way and we’ll conduct this offseason much like last offseason”. This statement indicates that a marquee acquisition, much like Hyun Jin Ryu last season, will be the expectation again.

Next: Lindor interested in playing in Toronto?

For the sake of Jays fans, hopefully this Robbie Ray signing is just the calm before the storm.

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In Pictures: Grief and shock over Maradona's death – Aljazeera.com

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Hundreds of people have begun filing in to see the coffin of Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires’s Casa Rosada after the football legend died at the age of 60.

At a slow pace, people on Thursday passed in front of the coffin that was draped with the Argentinian flag and his number 10 jersey.

Scuffles briefly broke out as crowds jostled as they queued to enter and police had to hold people back.

Maradona’s family and closest friends came at dawn before the start of the public wake.

Tens of thousands of people spent the night in a vigil in the Plaza de Mayo, singing songs in tribute to Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986.

Stunned fans gathered outside the humble home where he was born and raised in the Villa Fiorito neighbourhood.

Fans also went to the stadium of Argentinos Juniors, where he started as a professional footballer in 1976. They stood at the historic La Bombonera stadium of his beloved Boca Juniors.

More were at the headquarters of Gimnasia La Plata, the team he was coaching.

“I am touched. I can’t understand it, I can’t see the reality. Diego will never die, today is the birth of the Maradona myth,” said Dante Lopez, a physician who went to the Argentinos Juniors stadium, which carries the beloved player’s name.

Fans put candles and flowers along the wall around the field.

“Diego was Argentina in the world. He gave us joy and we will never be able to repay him for so much joy,” said Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, who issued a decree for three days of national mourning and offered the presidential palace for the funeral.

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Raptors waive centre Dewan Hernandez, open up additional roster spot – Sportsnet.ca

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The Toronto Raptors have waived centre Dewan Hernandez, the team announced Thursday.

The 23-year-old battled injuries throughout his time with the Raptors organization after being selected 59th in the second round of the 2019 draft, and spent the vast majority of his on-court stints with Raptors 905, where he posted career stats of 13.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on 40.8 per cent shooting in nine games.

Waiving Hernandez, whose deal was set to guarantee this coming weekend, also opens up an additional roster spot for the Raptors, who will likely use it on Canadian forward Oshae Brissett (he had a nice season on a two-way contract with the team last season) or a standout training camp invitee.

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Report: Ravens record more positive COVID-19 tests – theScore

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The Baltimore Ravens recorded multiple new positive COVID-19 tests and will continue to work virtually Thursday, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

The positive tests from Wednesday include one player, one position coach, and one staff member, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Baltimore has reported multiple new cases every day since Sunday.

The Ravens’ Thanksgiving matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed to Sunday amid the team’s ongoing outbreak.

Baltimore has seven players on the reserve/COVID-19 list and an unconfirmed number of positives among coaches and staff.

The AFC North club disciplined a strength and conditioning coach Wednesday for failing to report symptoms, or wear a mask or tracking device consistently, which may have led to the outbreak.

If the game can’t be played Sunday, it’s possible the NFL will have to use its contingency plan of adding a Week 18 to make up delayed games.

If the NFL does add Week 18, it could push back the start of the playoffs or eliminate the extra week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

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