Alek Manoah's Back! Damian Lillard to Toronto? Nylander's Contract - The Homestand Show

July 5, 2023

We're in the dog days of summer, but there's so much going on in the Toronto sports world. There are the Leafs and there are the Blue Jays who won last night. But let's talk about Toronto FC. What is going on with them? They lost again. However, the Jays had a significant victory against the White Sox yesterday, winning the series opener, which is a rare occurrence this season. The big news from yesterday's game is that Alek Manoah is back. According to John Schneider, Manoah will start on Friday against the Detroit Tigers. Some might think it's a rush job, and I agree. Waiting until after the All-Star break would have been wiser to ensure Manoah's complete comfort and confidence. Rushing him back could be a dangerous game. If he performs poorly, it might damage his confidence again. Manoah was sent down on June 6, and now, after two starts in the minors, he's being brought back up. His recent performance in the minors wasn't stellar, but the Jays are desperate for pitching and want to see what Manoah can do against a struggling Tigers team. It's a risky move, considering their lack of depth and the pressure on the team.

The Blue Jays' struggles this season have primarily been with their bats. If their offense had been better, they might not have felt the need to rush Manoah back. They are currently just one or two games out of a wild card spot, which adds to the urgency. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. seems to be turning things around, with two home runs in his last five games, including a clutch homer to beat the White Sox yesterday. Tonight, the Jays have burritos on the mound, and I like their chances against the struggling Lance Lynn.

Moving on to Toronto FC, it's another disappointing loss for them. Losing 4-0 to Orlando City makes it three wins in 22 games, with 13 points separating them from a playoff spot. It's been a disastrous season for Toronto FC, especially considering the high expectations at the beginning of the year. The big-money players they brought in have failed to deliver, and it's become the most cataclysmic season in TFC history. Terry Dunfield, who took over as coach, has a tough task of turning things around in just two more games. Hopefully, when the club finds a full-time coach, they'll consider keeping Dunfield on staff as he has potential and deserves a fair chance.

In basketball news, Michael Grange's recent article sheds light on some unrest and turmoil within the Raptors' dressing room. Veterans such as VanVleet and Siakam have reportedly been frustrated with younger players on the team. This adds to the challenges the Raptors are facing. As for trade rumours, there's speculation about Damian Lillard potentially leaving the Portland Trail Blazers. While some believe the Raptors should go all-in on acquiring him, I think it's fiction. The Raptors need to figure out their direction before making a move for a superstar like Lillard. Without a solid roster and proper support, acquiring Lillard wouldn't guarantee championship success like the Kawhi Leonard trade did.

Overall, it's an eventful time in the Toronto sports world. The Blue Jays are striving for consistency and improvement, while Toronto FC faces a difficult season. The Raptors are dealing with internal issues and trade rumours, which adds to the uncertainty surrounding the team. It's crucial for these organizations to make wise decisions and prioritize their long-term success.

The Toronto Blue Jays made an unexpected move by recalling Alek Manoah, and today we have Jordan Horrobin from NorthStar Bets to discuss the implications. We touched upon Manoah's recent call-up, and now it's time to dive deeper into the topic.

Alek Manoah, who pitched in the minors, has been given the opportunity to start against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit this Friday. He had two starts in the minors, one in the Florida Complex League and one in Double-A, and he performed well in the Double-A outing. This led the Blue Jays to believe that he was ready for a return. Jordan Horrobin from NorthStar Bets shares his reaction to the news.

Upon hearing about Manoah's recall, Jordan was initially taken aback. He couldn't believe Manoah was already back with Toronto, less than a month since being sent down. Jordan expected Manoah's next start to be with the Buffalo in Rochester, so this came as a surprise. Most people share this sentiment, as it seemed like the Blue Jays had stripped everything down to the bare bones in the minors, trying to figure things out. Bringing him back so soon feels rushed and poses some risks.

Waiting a week to observe his progress would have been a more cautious approach. If Manoah struggles in his return, it raises questions about how the Blue Jays will handle the situation. Will they give him additional starts to figure things out, or will they look for other options?

Regarding Manoah's first start back, a good outing would entail pitching at least five innings. The key factor to watch would be his command and pitch control. If he can limit walks and show improved command, even if he allows a few runs, it wouldn't be a major concern. However, an increase in walks or if things start to unravel, it could be cause for worry, as command was his initial issue.

The conversation shifts to the impact of Manoah's return on the Blue Jays' bullpen. With Manoah back, the team would no longer require a bullpen game every four to five days. Trevor Richards, who performed well during this period, has showcased his ability to handle higher-leverage situations. This provides more opportunities to use him in crucial spots, creating a positive impact on the bullpen dynamics.

The hosts reflect on the risks and potential outcomes of Manoah's return, hoping for a successful outing. The discussion then turns to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who has been on fire lately. He has shown immense confidence and effectiveness in high-leverage situations, making him a dangerous hitter. His resurgence is reminiscent of his impressive performance in 2021, and the hope is that he can sustain this level of play.

Shifting focus to Brandon Belt, the hosts highlight his immediate turnaround. Belt, known for his elite beard, has proven his worth on the field. Despite initial doubts about his signing, he has been performing exceptionally well, contributing to the heart of the Blue Jays' lineup. His recent series against his former team, the Giants, showcased his relaxed approach and impressive home runs.

Lastly, Jordan praises Jordan Romano, who has been outstanding in his role as a closer. Romano's recent save further solidifies his exceptional performance, with a total of 25 saves so far this season. His contributions to the team deserve recognition and appreciation.

Chris Johnston of NorthStar Bets also joined the show to provide the latest updates on William Nylander and the contract negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Let's dive into this topic that seems to be Justin Pougnet's favourite: the future of Nylander in Vancouver. However, these rumours are unfounded and exaggerated.

According to Chris, it appears that the Leafs and Nylander have not made much progress in their negotiations. There have been discussions and an offer from Toronto, but both parties remain far apart in their positions. This impasse has hindered any substantial conversations or negotiations regarding the contract terms. It is important to note that Nylander is already signed for the upcoming season, so there is no immediate deadline to finalize a deal. There is still time for both sides to find common ground, even if it means Nylander playing out the final year of his current contract without an extension.

When asked about Nylander's worth of $10 million per year, Chris believes there is a valid case to support it. Comparing Nylander's performance to other players who recently signed contracts, such as Pierre-Luc Dubois and Timo Meier, Nylander has outperformed them in terms of goals and points during their best seasons. However, one aspect that might impact the negotiation is that Nylander plays as a winger while the others play center, which could be a point of contention. From a statistical standpoint, Nylander's request is not unreasonable, but whether the Leafs can seriously consider it remains uncertain.

Negotiations can be tricky to decipher in real time, as emotions often play a role for both parties involved. It is common for employees or players to aim high in their requests, while the employer or team tries to find middle ground. In Nylander's case, he must consider the Leafs' proposal for an eight-year contract. The NHL rules restrict him from signing an extension longer than eight years with his current team. If Toronto reaches $9 million per season over eight years, totaling $72 million, Nylander would need to earn more than $10 million per season on a seven-year contract if he were to become a free agent. It becomes a numbers game, and it's still too early to determine the direction this negotiation will take. However, there is a possibility that both sides may start moving closer to each other as time progresses.

Looking ahead, it is worth considering the upcoming negotiations for Mitch Marner. If Marner seeks a $15 million per year contract next summer, it could lead to an even more intense situation. The NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman have implemented a hard salary cap system, unlike other leagues that offer teams some flexibility. This system has created challenges for teams that excel in drafting and developing players, putting them at a disadvantage during crucial stages of their development. The absence of kickbacks or exceptions in the salary cap structure seems punitive for teams who have invested in their talent. While this issue has not been addressed in CBA negotiations, it may become a topic for discussion during the next negotiation cycle in 2026.

Switching gears, let's discuss the recent moves made by the Leafs, including the signings of Max Domi, Tyler Bertuzzi, John Klingberg, and Ryan Reaves. These additions have brought much-needed grit and toughness to the lineup. When asked about the best move the Leafs made, Chris highlights the signing of Bertuzzi. Although some circumstances played a role, Bertuzzi's decision to accept a one-year offer from the Leafs positions him well for the future. He had received longer-term offers initially but chose the shorter deal, giving him an opportunity to become a free agent next summer when the salary cap is expected to increase significantly. 

Bertuzzi is likely to play alongside some of Toronto's best players, such as Matthews and Marner or Tavares and Nylander. His aggressive forechecking and high-energy style of play add a different dimension to the team's top-six forwards, addressing a need that the Leafs have had in the past.

Currently, the Leafs are over the salary cap, with the possibility of Jake Muzzin going on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) and a potential trade involving Matt Murray. Whether they remain over the cap depends on factors such as salary retention in a Murray trade. The Leafs would prefer to unload Murray's $4.7 million cap hit, but it might not be easy due to the significant amount of money remaining on his contract. There is a chance that Murray could be bought out, and the Leafs will have another buyout window if they go through salary arbitration with a player like Ilya Samsonov. Additionally, Brad Treliving, the Leafs' general manager, aims to make changes to the team's blue line, which could involve moving out salary to accommodate incoming players. With these considerations, the Leafs have various options to navigate the salary cap situation.

In summary, the negotiations between William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs are currently at a standstill, with both parties far apart in their positions. Nylander's worth of $10 million per year can be justified based on his performance compared to other players who recently signed contracts. However, the Leafs' ability to meet his demands remains uncertain. The NHL's hard salary cap system has raised concerns about its impact on teams that excel in drafting and development. Moving forward, the Leafs' recent signings, including Tyler Bertuzzi, bring added depth and toughness to the lineup. The team's salary cap situation is still in flux, with potential moves and adjustments to be made. Only time will tell how these negotiations and roster adjustments will play out for the Toronto Maple Leafs.