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Thanks to Steve for pointing out this story from the Official Site, about Josh Phelps' retirement from catching. Of course, the picture still isn't any clearer behind the plate; Spencer Fordin gives Ken Huckaby as good a chance as Wilson and Myers.

Yesterday, Richard Griffin declared Huck #1:

The ace in the hole for Huckaby... is the still-developing Cy Young candidate, Halladay, who loves to pitch with Huckaby as his catcher.

I think they might come north with three. Use Wilson mostly as a PH and start him vs. lefties, Huck catches Doc every fifth day, and comes in for defensive purposes, while Myers gets whatever workload he can handle. Cash replaces Huckaby when his bat's deemed ready. If they cut one C to keep Aquilino Lopez, it becomes a choice between Huck's glove and Wilson's bat, so it's a fine line between being #1 and being waived. I think Doc will pitch just fine to Myers.
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Coach - Friday, February 21 2003 @ 11:46 AM EST (#95782) #
Even more from Griffin, this time about the battle between Jason Kershner and Scott Wiggins for the second lefty spot in the bullpen. According to Rich:

The morning odds on the second southpaw spot show Wiggins at 2-1; Kershner and Miller 5-1; Not-here-yet 8-1, Young 10-1.

Kershner seems more of a LOOGY, Wiggins can go an entire inning or two, but I'll take that 8-1 on Hendrickson.

First hint: Batter's Box will be moving soon. We have our own .ca domain name and new server space, so if all goes well technically, you might be adjusting your bookmarks next weekend.
_Shane - Friday, February 21 2003 @ 12:54 PM EST (#95783) #
All three catchers making the 25man roster? Someone's had a change of mind.
Coach - Friday, February 21 2003 @ 01:40 PM EST (#95784) #
Shane, I think it might happen. I still expect that Wilson's bat will be deemed more valuable than Huckaby's glove, and they will go with 12 pitchers. But ever since the 11-man staff was mentioned, that opened up an option for another C, so I'm considering the pros and cons. Werth is another variable; if he makes the team as fourth OF, he'll probably be the third C -- bad news for Huck.

Until the deadline for these decisions, we may not know. There's no point making a public announcement until the end of the Grapefruit League; someone could get hurt. So for now, there are four #1s, and in order of their likelihood of a 2004 big-league job, I rate them Cash, Myers, Wilson, Huckaby. For the 2003 opener, it should be Myers catching Doc, but if they are carrying 14 position players, Huckaby wouldn't be a bad choice.
_dp - Friday, February 21 2003 @ 03:30 PM EST (#95785) #
I think the case could be made for carrying 3 catchers in this circumstance, but then that limits flexability with the OF reserves and means that there's not really a legitimate masher on the bench. It also limits the possibility that someone with some upside will thrive in a reserve capacity, as most of the guys on the bench will be past their peaks. All three catchers are pretty much known quantities, unlikely to do anything abnormally special with the bat, and the infield reserves of Bordick and Berg look the same. I'd rather have an extra corner OF and live with a little less offense or defense behind the plate in the hopes that rotating a guy into the lineup 3 times every couple of weeks sparks something.

Of course, this points to what I think will be a problem this year- the presence of too many mediocre vets crowding out the youngsters. Doug Creek and Jeff Tam are taking valuable spots in the pen, while Myers seems like kind of a burden given the offense/defense balance the Jays already had at the position, and the fact that Cash will probably arrive mid-season, muddling the picture even more. The overcrowded pen got more bodies with the acquisitions of Sturtze and Lidle, meaning that a couple of the youngsters will wind up at AAA or buried as long men.

The up side to this is that JP isn't afraid to cut ties with guys who aren't performing or who have been rendered obsolete, so if Sturtze is getting rocked while Miller is tearing through the IL, Miller will be recalled while Sturtze gets waived.
Craig B - Friday, February 21 2003 @ 04:04 PM EST (#95786) #
Seven men fixed as starters. Josh Phelps is the DH. Bordick and Berg make ten. Myers is eleven, a fourth outfielder is twelve, and that means it's either Jayson Werth and a catcher, or two catchers.

That's if you're carrying fourteen... I am hearing dark rumours about Aquilino Lopez having to stay on the active roster. If he does, it's possible the Jays will have to go to twelve pitchers all the time.

It would be nice to work something out regarding Lopez, but I'm thinking that the Mariners would really like to get him back.
Dave Till - Friday, February 21 2003 @ 04:41 PM EST (#95787) #
If Lopez can actually pitch, he could take on what used to be Thurman's role, and the Jays could start the season with 11 including Lopez. This would leave room for three catchers, which might be a good idea, since Huckaby, Wilson and Myers all bring different skills to the table (Huck can catch, Wilson can reach base, and Myers is a lefty).

The Jays' Opening Day pitching staff would be Halladay, Lidle, Sturtze, Hendrickson, Linton, Walker, Escobar, Politte, Tam, Creek and Lopez. That's lots more depth than last year's staff (which was about as deep as a Turtle Pool).

I don't see Werth making the team this year; there's no point in having him rot on the bench as the fifth outfielder. Berg can be the emergency fifth outfielder if you need one. Can Wilson play the outfield at all?
Dave Till - Friday, February 21 2003 @ 04:43 PM EST (#95788) #
Oops, I forgot that Werth can catch. But that doesn't really change things: unless the Jays are planning on developing him as a catcher, there's no point in leaving him in Toronto to back up Huckaby and Myers.
_Jurgen Maas - Saturday, February 22 2003 @ 01:46 PM EST (#95789) #
More crazy ideas about Phelps.... MLB radio suggested that he might play some OF.
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