Sports: SIMMONS SUNDAY: Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah is his own kind of star

Blue Jay way helped organically produce latest all-star contingent

  Blue Jay way helped organically produce latest all-star contingent LOS ANGELES — It is almost by definition an event to celebrate individual accomplishments, a gathering of the best in the game. But the five Blue Jays who made the trip to the West Coast as participants in the 92nd Major League Baseball all-star game are also representative of an organizational triumph for the Toronto franchise. Each of that fivesome relishing the experience at Dodger Stadium this week was not a ready-made major leaguer when they entered the Jays system. They all spent some developmental time and multiple stops in the minors before making it to the big team. From the highest-profile of the group — Vlad Guerrero Jr.

He couldn’t be more different — Alek Manoah from Dave Stieb, from the late Roy Halladay, from the greatest starting pitchers ever developed by the Blue Jays.

Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Fenway Park on Saturday. Manoah picked up the win in Toronto's 4-1 victory. © Provided by Toronto Sun Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Fenway Park on Saturday. Manoah picked up the win in Toronto's 4-1 victory.

Manoah oozes personality along with pitching poise. He wants the ball, the headlines, the show, everything that goes with being a major-league star. He has demonstrated that since arriving in Toronto a year ago, and he gave a peak to the rest of the baseball world on Tuesday night at the All-Star Game, pitching and broadcasting an inning, smiling his way through his three strikeouts, all at the very same time.

With a new manager and a break to reboot Blue Jays ready for crunch time

  With a new manager and a break to reboot Blue Jays ready for crunch time BOSTON – At 93 games in, the Blue Jays are well past the half-way point of their 2022 schedule, still looking to reach full throttle. With an all-star break providing an opportunity to exhale, however, the unofficial second half launches here on Friday. It begins with new manager John Schneider and the rest of the Jays facing the Red Sox in a three-game series at historic Fenway Park. While not exactly a mathematical midway, the series serves up an opportunity for the Jays to vault into an extended run the likes they have only hinted at during the first portion of the season.

He is nothing like the uber-intense Stieb, who came to the Jays at the age of 20 as an outfielder turned pitcher who had ridiculous talent. Stieb was known for the movement on his pitches and for the stare he might give an infielder or an outfielder who had made an error while he was on the mound. It was once said that Stieb would leave Major League Baseball with the same number of friends he started with — none. All he did was his job. For 12 seasons, he was the greatest pitcher in Blue Jays history.

Halladay didn’t start the way Stieb did. He almost lost his career before his delivery was re-invented in the minor leagues. He wasn’t an instant success the way Manoah has been, but once he found his way the tightly wound and ultra-serious and singular Halladay had such a presence in his own clubhouse that even his teammates were intimidated by him.

Should Blue Jays go all-in for Shohei Ohtani trade?

  Should Blue Jays go all-in for Shohei Ohtani trade? The Toronto Blue Jays are expected to be aggressive leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline, but could they make a splash for one of the game’s brightest stars? And would it be worth it? No, this article isn’t about Juan Soto, though that’s fun to speculate about, too. Instead, it’ll focus on two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. Prior to this week, the Los Angeles Angels were adamant about not making Ohtani, who’s eligible for free agency after next season, available via trade. That should sound familiar to Washington Nationals fans who heard GM Mike Rizzo echo a similar stance regarding Soto earlier this season.

The early numbers from Manoah’s first 38 big-league starts are quite similar to those of Stieb. Manoah has 19 career wins; Stieb had 17 with a lesser team back in the early ’80s. Stieb had an earned run average at a time when earned run averages were higher across the board. And Stieb threw 271 innings in his first 38 starts to the 226 Manoah has thrown in these protected pitching times.

The biggest difference, though, is personality. Halladay didn’t care to show any. Stieb was a fight waiting to happen most days he was on the mound and most days he was off of it. Manoah so much wants to be a face of the game, someone we talk about, someone we can trust.

Being in on Manoah early is like being in on a great stock. He’s right where Stieb was at the early stages and ahead of where Halladay was in his early challenging years. Halladay went on to have eight great seasons with the Jays. Stieb had 12. The Jays would settle for either of those numbers now and in the future.

SIMMONS SAYS: Bullpen is holding back Blue Jays from truly contending

  SIMMONS SAYS: Bullpen is holding back Blue Jays from truly contending When the Blue Jays won their first World Series they did so with an everyday lineup that is really no better than the lineup manager John Schneider puts out most days. The difference between the 1992 Blue Jays and the current edition: Pitching. The real difference: The bullpen. In the World Series against the Braves, the Jays’ deep bullpen, which included starting pitchers Jimmy Key, Todd Stottlemyre and David Wells, dominated Atlanta, throwing 19.1 innings in the six games. They allowed just one earned run in that time.

THIS AND THAT

When Matthew Tkachuk followed the Johnny Gaudreau departure in Calgary with the stunning news he wouldn’t re-sign with the Flames, it was almost as if they were piling on general manager Brad Treliving and the city itself. But Treliving took a punch to the gut, stayed on his feet, and recovered by dealing Tkachuk to Florida in exchange for winger Jonathan Huberdeau, defencemen MacKenzie Weegar and other parts in a rare big-time for big-time hockey trade. If somehow the Flames now turn around and sign Nazem Kadri as a free agent, they would be adding Kadri, Huberdeau, and Weegar to their lineup while subtracting Tkachuk and Gaudreau, which would be a big win for Calgary … The key for Treliving will be getting Huberdeau and Weegar to commit long-term in Calgary … A personal aside: I spent eight years living and working in Calgary. I left 35 years ago for family and professional reasons. There hasn’t been a year when I didn’t wonder if I would make the same decision again. It was a fabulous place to live … With Tkachuk in Florida, the Atlantic Divison gets harder to play against. Four of the top five right-wingers in the NHL — Mitch Marner, Tkachuk, David Pastrnak, and Nikita Kucherov are all in the division. Four of the top centres — Auston Matthews, Steven Stamkos, Sasha Barkov and, assuming he signs, Patrice Bergeron, are all in the division … Huberdeau had an amazing 115-point season in Florida and a rather invisible playoffs, with just five points in 10 games. Weegar was Florida’s best defenceman when Aaron Ekblad wasn’t playing.

Berrios strikes out six in seven innings in Blue Jays' 4-1 victory over Tigers

  Berrios strikes out six in seven innings in Blue Jays' 4-1 victory over Tigers TORONTO — As Toronto Blue Jays management attempts to improve its roster before Tuesday's trade deadline, a pair of acquisitions in the past 12 months, Jose Berrios and Matt Chapman continue to enjoy their most productive stints with their new team. Berrios pitched another sound seven innings with seven strikeouts and surrendered only one run on three hits in the Blue Jays (57-45) 4-1 victory against the light-hitting Detroit Tigers (41-62) on Sunday. Chapman drilled a two-run, two-out homer in the second inning to spark Toronto's offence. He also singled in the fourth inning to reach base safely in 10 straight games, which has seen him go 16 for 33 (.

HEAR AND THERE

So with the Buffalo Sabres better, the Ottawa Senators better, the Detroit Red Wings better, with Gaudreau in Columbus, with Carey Price returning to play in Montreal and New Jersey looking deeper, which playoff team from this season misses the playoffs in the East next season? And which of these non-contenders jump into contention this season? … Can’t remember a season in which CFL quarterbacking has been so average and the games so terrific. It doesn’t make sense. Ten games have been settled by three points or less. The officiating, though, we don’t have enough time or space here to get into all the inconsistencies … That was classy of national broadcaster Ken Rosenthal, who wrote the names of Blue Jays broadcasters Jamie Campbell and Buck Martinez on his ‘Stand Up to Cancer’ board at the MLB All-Star Game. Vladdy Guerrero Jr. did the same … The culture of silence is not universal to hockey. It exists in gymnastics nationally. It exists in private schools. It exists in fraternities. It exists in skiing. It exists in bobsled. It exists in the Catholic Church. It exists in the Canadian Army. It is heartbreaking and disturbing in every instance. There seems no exclusivity on despicable behaviour.

SCENE AND HEARD

This is how unruly an off-season this has been for the disintegrating Chicago Blackhawks. They weren’t even able to keep their great television colour man, Ed Olczyk, one of the very best in the business, who left Blackhawks TV for the Seattle Kraken … Can you say tanking? As of today, Petr Mrazek is listed as the Blackhawks starting goaltender … The Leafs may need Calle Jarnkrok to kill penalties with Ilya Mikheyev gone to Vancouver. Jarnkrok did PK work rather well for Nashville in their Stanley Cup season of 2018 but hasn’t been used much that way the past few seasons … Wasserman Media Group, the agency that represents Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, has acquired the Jet agency, the baseball group that has Byron Buxton, Chris Sale and Charlie Morton among its highest-profile clients … Why managers hate the home run derby? Seattle rookie Julio Rodriguez — who is a player you can’t take your eyes off — put on a show Monday night, hitting more than 81 homers yet losing in the final to Juan Soto. Friday night, he was scratched from the Seattle lineup due to wrist soreness … Will all the owners, CEOs, and bigshots in professional sports not currently involved in sex scandals, please raise your hands? … Just for one special season — don’t care who you cheer for — wouldn’t you love to see an outfield of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Juan Soto? … What a wonderful group of young baseball stars: Soto, Rodriguez, Ronald Acuna Jr., Guerrero, Fernando Tatis Jr. All 25 and under, all of them Hispanic.

Berrios strikes out six in seven innings in Blue Jays' 4-1 victory over Tigers

  Berrios strikes out six in seven innings in Blue Jays' 4-1 victory over Tigers TORONTO — As Toronto Blue Jays management attempts to improve its roster before Tuesday's trade deadline, a pair of acquisitions in the past 12 months, Jose Berrios and Matt Chapman continue to enjoy their most productive stints with their new team. Berrios pitched another sound seven innings with seven strikeouts and surrendered only one run on three hits in the Blue Jays (57-45) 4-1 victory against the light-hitting Detroit Tigers (41-62) on Sunday. Chapman drilled a two-run, two-out homer in the second inning to spark Toronto's offence. He also singled in the fourth inning to reach base safely in 10 straight games, which has seen him go 16 for 33 (.

AND ANOTHER THING

Ok, so this is insane. Or close to insane. Since missing almost the entire 2019 CFL season, Zach Collaros is 24-1 as the starting quarterback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. No one — not Doug Flutie, not Warren Moon, not Anthony Calvillo, not Russ Jackson — has ever done anything close to that … Weird, if someone plays a single game in the OHL, or any other major junior hockey league, they are no longer eligible to receive an NCAA hockey scholarship. But NCAA players can play in Olympics, in world championships, in NHL development camps, and that doesn’t affect their scholarship status at all … Wander Franco is 21 years old. What in the heck is he doing carrying around $550,000 worth of jewelry, let alone leaving it in his car for someone to steal? … If Aaron Brown was the seventh best hockey player in the world, he’d probably be someone like Leon Draisaitl or Victor Hedman. But the Canadian is just about the seventh best sprinter in the world — and was the only sprinter to qualify for both the 100-metre and 200-metre finals at the world championship. He didn’t land on the podium in Oregon, but he lands on my podium for accomplishment … Americans finished 1-2-3 in both the men’s 100 and 200 at the worlds. Jamaica finished 1-2-3 in the women’s 100 metres … Worth wondering about: Jon Elkin, the Maple Leafs goaltending guru, is a longtime associate of hockey pariah David Frost. When Frost was banned from OHL arenas, he was known to sign in as a scout using Elkin’s name, who at the time was a part-time scout with the Flames … Happy birthday to Patrice Bergeron (37), Barry Bonds (58), Mikael Kingsbury (30), Karl Malone (59), Maurice Green (48), Kasperi Kapanen (26), Mike Marson (67), Shawn Michaels (57), Joe Mixon (26). Nomar Garciaparra (49), Rafer Alston (46), and Gary Payton (54) … And, hey, whatever became of Arland Bruce?

Alek Manoah battles as bats heat up in Blue Jays Twins killing

  Alek Manoah battles as bats heat up in Blue Jays Twins killing MINNEAPOLIS — With his big body doing its electric thing, Alek Manoah was cruising on a near-perfect summer night in the Twin Cities. Retiring the first 10 batters he faced at Target Field on Thursday, it looked like it was going to be one of those dominant outings for the Blue Jays 6-foot-6, 260-pound all star right hander. And then his night — which ultimately would end in a 9-3 blowout win over the Twins — was put to the test. A Carlos Correa Retiring the first 10 batters he faced at Target Field on Thursday, it looked like it was going to be one of those dominant outings for the Blue Jays 6-foot-6, 260-pound all star right hander.

[email protected]

twitter.com/simmonssteve

BLUE JAYS’ SECOND-HALF GOAL SHOULD BE TO FIRST IN WILD-CARD RACE

There are 10 shopping days to go before the Major League Baseball trade deadline and this is, indeed, a signature time for Ross Atkins, Mark Shapiro, and the up-and-down Blue Jays.

This has not been a great half-season for the Jays and, placing that aside, almost anything seems possible for the second half. The most important requirement, though, is finishing first among wild-card teams in the American League.

The Jays can’t finish first in the American League East unless something completely wild happens in the second half. They trailed the Yankees by more than 13 games heading into Saturday night. You’re not going to make that up over the final 67 games.

But in the new three-team wild-card setup, finishing first among the second best matters a lot. The first wild-card team will have home-field advantage in the post-season. That’s all your home games in a best-of-three series and that’s never happened before.

Tampa Bay is first right now, slightly ahead of the Jays, who were tied with Seattle for the final playoff spot. After that, there’s a significant drop between teams. It’s very possible that Tampa, Toronto, and Seattle will be the wild-card teams. The question is: In what order?

A three-game series at home with Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman starting the first two games and Jose Berrios starting the third, if necessary, puts the Jays in an advantageous position. They have a strong home record and a so-so road record. Tampa has almost the same numbers, home and away. The Jays needs at the deadline are: 1) hard-throwing bullpen depth; 2) another starting pitcher; 3) a left-handed batter, like Josh Bell, from the Nationals. With a move or two they can win a playoff round: After that, as the Atlanta Braves proved a year ago, anything is possible.

SIMMONS SUNDAY: The NFL wants the book to be thrown at Deshaun Watson

  SIMMONS SUNDAY: The NFL wants the book to be thrown at Deshaun Watson The National Football League turned to a decorated judge, Sue L. Robinson, an expert in dispute resolution, to deal with the nasty Deshaun Watson situation. They thought, who better to deal with a mess like this one than a woman who had been a United States district judge. Until the decision came down, which was a contradiction of sorts — her words blasted Watson but her suspension only called for six games. That caused the NFL head office to freak out. Followed almost immediately by an appeal. Now they’ve turned to another decorated lawyer, former New Jersey Attorney General, Peter C.

EVEN THE BEST GMs CAN GUESS WRONG WHEN IS COMES TO PROSPECTS

Pat Gillick almost cried when he traded Steve Karsay to the Oakland A’s in the deal for Rickey Henderson. It wasn’t that he didn’t want Henderson. It’s that he believed that Karsay, a first-round draft pick from 1990, was going to be a great major-league pitcher.

He didn’t turn out that way.

Karsay wound up winning 32 big-league games over parts of 11 seasons. He only threw more than 100 innings once in his career. He only started 40 games pitching for Oakland, Cleveland, Atlanta, New York, and Texas.

Henderson played just one season for the Blue Jays; they won the World Series that year.

Alex Anthopoulos didn’t want to trade Jeff Hoffman in the summer of 2015. He was convinced Hoffman was the real deal. He was almost certain — as was incoming president Mark Shapiro after the fact — that trading Hoffman away would end up biting the Blue Jays.

Hoffman was the key piece in the deal for Troy Tulowitzki, the shortstop who helped turn the Blue Jays’ season around in 2015 — the most important Jays’ season of the past 20 years. Colorado insisted Hoffman be part of the trade.

But Hoffman never amounted to much with the Rockies, winning just 10 games over five seasons, with a bloated earned run average of 6.40. He is now a middle reliever with the last-place Cincinnati Reds.

The message in this? Even the best GMs — and Gillick and Anthopoulos are among those — can guess wrong when it comes to prospects. They fall in love with the future and with the possibilities. Gillick thought Karsay would be a star. Anthopoulos thought the same of Hoffman. Gillick won a World Series with Henderson. Anthopoulos almost got there with Tulowitzki.

TORONTO NOW IN CONVERSATION WHEN IT COMES TO LANDING BIG STARS

Kevin Durant and Juan Soto are both available for trade, two of the largest stars in the NBA and MLB, and it’s funny to see Toronto linked as a player of sorts in any kind of trade conversation.

Once upon a time, a Durant would be available or a Soto would be available and Toronto would be on the outside looking in, the kind of city and team that never gets mentioned when mega-stars of this caliber are available.

It’s entirely possible and probable that both Durant and Soto will end up traded to other places, to higher-profile teams in higher-profile cities. But what’s different now is that the Raptors can actually put together a package of consequence for Durant, maybe as deep a package as any NBA team can muscle up.

Whether Masai Ujiri wants to be that aggressive is a card he has yet to play. The beauty of Durant at this stage? He has four years remaining on his contract with Brooklyn.

The Blue Jays have a deep minor-league system, with more prospects and young players of significance than they’ve had in years. And like Durant, Soto is signed up for this season and the two seasons after that. So any team making a deal for the young slugger will only have to pay $17 million a season, which is less than the average of what the Jays will be paying Jose Berrios for the next six seasons. They have enough to put together a package for Washington.

Whether they choose to be involved is their business right now.

There was a time when this kind of talk would be reserved for sports radio and nowhere else. Now there’s an element of possibility to it, small as that may be. But an element nonetheless.

SIMMONS SUNDAY: The NFL wants the book to be thrown at Deshaun Watson .
The National Football League turned to a decorated judge, Sue L. Robinson, an expert in dispute resolution, to deal with the nasty Deshaun Watson situation. They thought, who better to deal with a mess like this one than a woman who had been a United States district judge. Until the decision came down, which was a contradiction of sorts — her words blasted Watson but her suspension only called for six games. That caused the NFL head office to freak out. Followed almost immediately by an appeal. Now they’ve turned to another decorated lawyer, former New Jersey Attorney General, Peter C.

See also