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My right shoulder is so restless it hurts, I'm giving Yahoo's fantasy baseball pages ten thousand hits a day, and my marginal utility from hearing "Centerfield" has been above zero for weeks now. That can only mean one thing. It's time for spring training baseball!

The Jays begin their Grapefruit League season today. They'll head to Lakeland to take on the juggernaut Tigers, who are 1-0 on the spring, having won their opener yesterday, a hard-fought 2-1 duel against Atlanta. Brandon Morrow gets the ball for the Jays. For Detroit, Anibal Sanchez will make his first start as the proud owner of an $80-million contract.

Today's game is on Sportsnet, the Fan, and for us members of the Blue Jays Diaspora living abroad. To celebrate, here's a fresh thread.
Hold the Drum and Beat the Phone | 111 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 08:53 AM EST (#268870) #
Brandon Morrow will follow R.A. Dickey in the rotation, and should have a very big year. Something to think about for baseball pools.

Melky Cabrera should also do well hitting second and might go higher in pools than expected.

I like this time of year as you see more players than just the regulars, something some of us don't see otherwise. I intend on PVRing all Spring games. Let the fun begin.
China fan - Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 04:48 PM EST (#268875) #
The Jays have acquired the disgruntled Phillies reliever, Michael Schwimer, in a trade for a marginal prospect, 22-year-old first baseman Art Charles, a slugger who was at Vancouver last season. Schwimer had an ERA+ of 91 last season for Philadelphia until he was sidelined in a dispute over whether he was injured or not when the Phillies tried to demote. He had a 9.4 K/9 last season. He looks like a depth signing for the Jays. Not sure how he makes the team, unless Janssen needs some injury rehab time and others such as Cecil and Jeffries are deemed expendable -- none of which seems likely at this point.

To make room for Schwimer on the 40-man roster, the Jays transferred Luis Perez to the 60-day DL list. This implies that the Jays still have room for two more players on their 40-man roster, since they can easily transfer Drabek and Hutchison to the 60-day DL as well. (This settles an earlier discussion about the timing of when an MLB team can start transferring 40-man roster players to the 60-day DL after spring training starts. Almost immediately after spring training begins, apparently.)
China fan - Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 04:55 PM EST (#268877) #
Schwimer, by the way, had excellent minor-league numbers, but is now 27. His major league numbers are less impressive, except for the nice K rate.

Does anyone know if he still has options? Looks like he used 2 options in 2011 and 2012.
China fan - Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 05:02 PM EST (#268878) #
Okay, to answer my own question: Shi Davidi tweets that Schwimer does have options left. So he looks like an excellent depth acquisition, and could be one of the first choices for promotion if the Jays have any bullpen injuries this season.
China fan - Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 05:50 PM EST (#268879) #
Art Charles was not included in any lists of the Jays top 30 prospects, as far as I can tell. Nor was he a "prospect to watch" in the latest Batters Box prospect list.

Marc Hulet weighs in on the trade on his Twitter feed:

"Nice trade for TOR. Art Charles is a big dude w/ massive pwr but all-pull approach, limited athleticism, didn't love his hitting mechanics."
Gerry - Sunday, February 24 2013 @ 08:52 AM EST (#268882) #

Jeff Blair has written a book about the Blue Jays: Full Count, four decades of Blue Jays baseball.

It will be published in April. Amazon link here.

bpoz - Sunday, February 24 2013 @ 09:44 AM EST (#268883) #
I am curious how AA will develop power bats for the system. I think that we can use more in the system.
ogator - Sunday, February 24 2013 @ 11:35 AM EST (#268884) #
Power bats? How about any kind of bats! This team seems always to be acquiring pitching, especially relief pitching as if hitters will fall from trees. Who are the minor league hitters I am supposed to be excited about? Over the winter the Jays traded many prospects but they still have many pitching prospects with significant upside. There are not many exciting bats left in the system. There are a couple but the stock is thin.
92-93 - Sunday, February 24 2013 @ 01:14 PM EST (#268885) #
This organization's complete and utter inability to produce offensive talent is a very real concern.

Schwimer didn't burn an option in 2011, so he has two remaining.
hypobole - Sunday, February 24 2013 @ 02:33 PM EST (#268886) #
How many players have the Jays drafted since Snider who's primary strength was the hit tool? If you keep drafting athletes, trying to turn them into ballplayers, I would venture to say the attrition rate would be substantial.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 24 2013 @ 03:37 PM EST (#268887) #
The team has done pretty well at acquiring bats in the trade market in recent years (Bautista, EE, Lawrie, Reyes), but yes, it would be nice to see some more homegrown hitting talent. The Jays traded away a solid bat in Hill and may have dealt another one in d'Arnaud.
92-93 - Sunday, February 24 2013 @ 05:41 PM EST (#268889) #
It's not like they were pumping out bats before Snider. Who have they developed into quality MLB hitters in the last 15 years? Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, Orlando Hudson, Aaron Hill, and Adam Lind. If you can think of others help me out, because the only names I can think of are guys who couldn't do anything here and went on to have MLB success elsewhere like Jayson Werth and Felipe Lopez.

I'm sure there were a few different management/development teams in place over these years but at some point you have to figure out if there's something inherently wrong with the way the organization conducts itself or not from an offensive development perspective. While it's great to churn out arms like they've been able to do, it's a risky proposition relying on your ability to move arms for bats down the line.
John Northey - Sunday, February 24 2013 @ 08:39 PM EST (#268890) #
Of course, d'Arnaud was acquired via trade as well.  Back in the 90's there were lots of hitters coming through it seems, Delgado, Stewart, Gonzalez (OK, field not hit), Rios, Wells, Lopez, Green, Kent, Young, etc.  The best it got was an 88 win season.  Now AA has made it clear he is after pitching, pitching, pitching as they have a lot of value in trades.  Dyson is the only pick to make it to the majors though for AA so far (I think). 

I think the trick is a first baseman (for example) cannot play in too many places - 1B or DH, maybe 3B or LF if you are lucky but you are costing something if you do that.  Same even for shortstops - if their glove is a part of their value then moving them to another positions reduces that value.  But pitchers?  If you are in the rotation it doesn't matter if you are #1 or #5, you get the same number of starts (give or take 1 or 2) and you don't lose much, if any, value by having a #1 pitch in the #4 slot.  Thus teams like the Phillies trying for 3-4 aces ala Atlanta in the 90's.  Thus the Jays being able to trade for 2 solid starting pitchers, then going out and adding a Cy Young winner.  You only start to lose value when they are moved to the pen or AAA, and in the pen they can actually up their value in some cases (Scott Downs, Paul Quantrill, Tom Henke, Duane Ward and many others found their calling in the pen).  A hitter never increases his value on the bench, outside of the rare platoon case (ala Gance Mullinorg taking two guys who couldn't stick and making them a very effective combo) which is getting rarer all the time with 7 man bullpens.

scottt - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 09:55 AM EST (#268891) #
I suppose everybody else saw the the Happ Granderson at bat.

This will be an interesting year.
Chuck - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 10:06 AM EST (#268892) #
While everyone else is spending the spring getting prepped for the season, Happ's 2013 regular season WAR is aleady about 0.7.

Granderson has been, on average, a 4 WAR player the past 3 seasons. He will miss about 5 weeks, or 18% of the schedule. Granderson will likely be replaced by a true replacement level player (so lacking in outfield depth are the 2013 Yankees) so his absence will cost the team around 18% x 4 WAR.

If Happ doesn't throw a single major league inning, his 0.7 WAR would be the third best season of his career.
John Northey - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 10:28 AM EST (#268893) #
I was thinking the same thing... wonder how ugly things would get if teams decided to try doing that on purpose - have a wild kid pitch against your top opponents best hitters in spring and see if you can knock a few out for a couple of months. 

Of course, given this is the Yankees we are talking about watch them find a scrap heap who goes out and produces at a 5 WAR/150 game pace while Granderson is out.

greenfrog - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 10:58 AM EST (#268894) #
Perhaps during the subsequent Lawrie PA the Yankees were thinking about reducing the Jays' WAR by a roughly equivalent amount.
hypobole - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 11:44 AM EST (#268897) #
Fortunately MLB isn't the NFL. Most pitchers will retaliate, but very few would purposely headhunt. If one of yours was injured by a division opponent, especially if it was perceived to be intentional, there are 19 games that year to retaliate. And if you injure one of their stars and they one of yours, it could well doom both clubs.
electric carrot - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 12:27 PM EST (#268898) #
I hope Granderson recuperates quickly and has an all star season when he returns against every club but the jays.  Hate his team but Granderson is a class act and a great player.
robertdudek - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 01:13 PM EST (#268901) #
Jays are playing a split squad Red Sox today. Radio only. Dickey starts as well as 7 of 9 regulars (no Bonifacio or Lind).
John Northey - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 01:24 PM EST (#268902) #
Jays know how to annoy fans... advertise 'click here to listen' then you get the beg screen asking to pay $20 to listen.  Sheesh.  I thought they were offering today's game as a freebie.  I might still sign up, but hoped for a free one first to get a feel for delays and the like.
John Northey - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 01:26 PM EST (#268903) #
What a weird first inning for Dickey.  Gameday showed his 4 pitch walk was mainly pitches at the knees (ie: strikes) and that he threw just 9 pitches, gave up 1 walk, 3 hits, and 2 runs.  To have 4 baserunners and under 10 pitches (5 strikes, 4 balls) for an inning is quite the thing to do.  A shame it wasn't on TV as I'd like to see Sierra's throwing out the runner at third base.

robertdudek - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 01:37 PM EST (#268904) #
According to Wilner he threw 18 pitches the first inning. Something is screwy with gameday, perhaps?
Gerry - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 02:00 PM EST (#268905) #

Pitch counts are not used in spring training on Gameday.  The number of pitches is usually the numbers of batters faced, one pitch per hitter.

The Jays are claiming that to listen to the games you just need to sign up for a free account, you don't have to pay until the regular season begins.  I haven't tried myself though.

Gerry - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 02:10 PM EST (#268906) #
Speaking of claims by the Blue Jays, they have claimed Lars Anderson according to MLBTR.  Anderson is the David Cooper replacement.  Drew Hutchison to the 60 day DL?
robertdudek - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 02:10 PM EST (#268907) #
News just in, Jays claim Lars Anderson. Could he push Lind for an everyday job? Unlikely, but one can hope.
robertdudek - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 02:23 PM EST (#268908) #
Gameday pitch sequences are definitely not accurate: Webster pitched B4 and threw exactly 13 pitches, 9 strikes.
John Northey - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 02:25 PM EST (#268909) #
Gerry -  that must be it or we have the most accurate pitchers in baseball history going today - lists just 24 pitches by the Red Sox all strikes.  Pretty silly really - how hard is it to give us a pitch by pitch play by play in the spring?  Ah well.

As to the 'free spring' - nope.  Every link I try, either on the Jays site or or the Fan 590 I just get told I have to pay to listen. 

hypobole - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 02:31 PM EST (#268910) #
Odd. I clicked on "Listen to webcast" and the radio feed is playing. Free.
John Northey - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 02:36 PM EST (#268911) #
The 590 site now has directions... had to have an account, but not pay, then you can get in via the scoreboard but it didn't work from the link on Gameday.  Weird, but whatever works.  Nice to be able to listen.  Thanks hypobole for giving me the final push to try again.
hypobole - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 07:05 PM EST (#268912) #
ESPN Sweetspot has an over/under for Jose and Edwin HR's. David Schoenfield has Edwin at 33.5 and Jose at 36.5 although he admits he'd take the over on both, as would I.
greenfrog - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 07:33 PM EST (#268913) #
The Jays have seven games against the Yankees in April, so they should have a chance to take advantage of the Granderson injury by putting a nice dent in the season series.
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 25 2013 @ 10:30 PM EST (#268914) #
Previously I'd written that a 15-12 record in April was the minimum acceptable record.   With 3 games -vs- Cleveland, 02, 03, 04 April; 3 games -vs- Boston, 05, 06, 07 April as our first Homestand, it's possible to be 5-1 or better, after just six games.  With the Granderson injury, there's no limit to how many games Toronto can win.   For every game won this month, there's one less  must win game in September.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 08:03 AM EST (#268915) #
For a good laugh, the spring stats are up on now.  Today's dreamer...

Lance Zawadzki would be a favorite for a job if spring counted - leads in hits with 4 and has a line of 667/714/1.333 for a 2.048 OPS and even has a stolen base to boot.  Whats funny is this isn't odd for him, in spring lifetime he has hit 360/391/616 over 86 PA over 4 springs for 4 organizations (2 in AL, 2 in NL).  In the real world though he has just 20 ML games (200/300/257) and in the minors he has hit 258/328/390 but hasn't had an OBP of 300 or better since 2009.  He looked like a good prospect in 2009, reaching AA at 24 hitting 285/369/456 mainly at shortstop.  Then he didn't get 100 games in any minor league season and 2010 was his last over 100 for combined ML and minors (not by much).  Probably some injury issues.  If he can get back to the 800+ OPS guy he looked to be earlier then he might be a useful backup.  He plays 2B/SS/3B and has one game in RF as well.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 01:48 PM EST (#268916) #
Interesting story today about the Fasano Flop - Sal Fasano's attempt to teach a method of blocking the plate that reduces the likelihood of injury.
"The catcher positions himself in the right spot, receives the ball, then rocks back on his heels, relaxes his body and stiffens his grip on the ball, then just flops backward on to the plate"
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 03:44 PM EST (#268918) #
Maybe Sal will attain the fame that Dick Fosbury achieved.
China fan - Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 04:40 PM EST (#268919) #
So it looks increasingly likely that Casey Janssen won't be ready for the start of the season. He's back to throwing long-toss from flat ground, and he won't be back on a mound for at least a week.

Luckily, the Jays have lots of bullpen depth now, and Santos is looking very good so far. Here's my guess on the new bullpen lineup if Janssen cannot start the season:

Jeffress or Schwimer

But there are problems with this lineup: arguably too many LHP, and there are question marks about the skills of Jeffress and Schwimer. I wonder if the Jays might be tempted to scrap their original plan to leave Happ and Lincoln in the minors as starting pitchers. One or both of them might be more valuable in the major-league bullpen.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 05:09 PM EST (#268920) #
If you are going to have a 7 man pen (or even a 6 man pen), having three LHPs is pretty much optimal.  Assuming that they are any good, of course...
92-93 - Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 09:43 PM EST (#268921) #
That doesn't look like lots of bullpen depth to me, China fan. I see one reliable reliever, 3 righties with great to tremendous stuff but little predictability, and two lefties looking to establish themselves in the big leagues. I think they'll be just fine but if this team has a weakness it's their bullpen.

The rotation can go a long way in making the bullpen look good; if starters are consistently taking the ball into the 7th inning then the relievers can pitch with higher effort more sporadically. That's what I'm hoping for, a masking of the bullpen's inexperience by not asking for too much.
robertdudek - Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 09:50 PM EST (#268922) #
I think they'll be just fine but if this team has a weakness it's their bullpen.

I think the weakness is 1b/DH
92-93 - Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 09:58 PM EST (#268923) #
I have no problem with a Lind/Bonifacio/Davis DH spot. AL DHs only hit .256/.328/.430 last year, and if you're willing to bench Lind vs lefties (we'll have to see about that) there's more than enough talent to fill the position. You should be fine with EE at 1B.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 07:13 AM EST (#268925) #
For those who want to try to make sense of spring stats... Baseball Reference has added spring stats with a new feature - strength of opponent where 10 = ML, 8 = AAA, 7 = AA, 5 = A+, 4 = A, 1.5-3 = short season A & rookie ball, 1 = pitcher hitting or hitter pitching.

So for example, Brad Lincoln & Esmil Rogers have faced only ML hitters but Neil Wagner has a 5 rating (A+ hitters) so consider that when looking at how all 3 have 1 inning each of shutout ball.

Christian Lopes is the youngest to play this spring at 19 - listed at DH but didn't hit, I guess he pinch ran for someone (2B/SS in Bluefield/Vancouver last year with an 801 OPS).  The oldest is Darren Oliver at 41.

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 08:09 AM EST (#268926) #
At least Oliver decided to come out of retirement.

Incidentally, who starts at DH against RHPs if Lind gets injured? Lars Anderson?
hypobole - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 09:06 AM EST (#268927) #
Unless Lars is raking, I'd rather see Gose up and Jose, Colby, Melky take turns DHing.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 09:31 AM EST (#268928) #
I'd prefer to see Gose in centerfield, Rasmus in right, Bautista at first base and Encarnacion at DH from the start of the season.  That is not very likely to happen at the outset of the season, but as the season wears on, who knows?
Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 10:10 AM EST (#268929) #

Unless Lars is raking

He hasn't raked since age 20 in AA. Though once semi-famous and highly regarded, he seems little more than a generic placeholder at this stage in his career. If he is raking in AAA, that would be a seriously unexpected bonus.


Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 10:35 AM EST (#268930) #

That is not very likely to happen at the outset of the season, but as the season wears on, who knows?

I am in agreement with your suggestions, but I'm not as optimistic as you about this happening any time soon. It seems that position changes too often take place long past the time they are due, and often after protracted negotiations and trial balloons. I think the root of the problem is the blow to the involved players' pride which causes organizations to tread very lightly on this front. This means, for example, that many center fielders get to stay in center field even when a preferable alternative is at hand, playing a corner on the very same team (I am not suggesting that moving Rasmus off centerfield is at the root of your suggestion).

And I wonder about someone like Bautista, who plays as though he is the outfield captain, even from his perch in right field. And who gets to frequently showcase his arm. Would he accept a move to first base? I'm not saying that I know he wouldn't, just that I don't think it's anywhere near a slam dunk that he would. And absent his complete buy-in, I'm not sure a position change would take place.

I think it is human nature, and not just for athletes, to refuse to accept that we can't do something as well as we once could. And that's what a position change is almost always a tacit admission of. And because the world gets to witness it, it's a humbling experience.

92-93 - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 10:39 AM EST (#268931) #
Preaching to the choir, MG. Some of us thought the team was better in 2012 with that alignment too.
Gerry - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 10:45 AM EST (#268932) #
Baseball Prospectus has an excellent story written by Eric Knott, an ex-big league pitcher.  The story details his opinions and knowledge of PED use within the game and the choices many players had to face.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 11:01 AM EST (#268933) #
I am in agreement with your suggestions, but I'm not as optimistic as you about this happening any time soon

"Who knows" is optimistic?  I guess I'm a glass half full kinda guy.  I could see a manager working a complicated CF/RF/1B/DH system with Gose, Rasmus, Bautista, Encarnacion and Rajai/Bonofacio so that Bautista gets some time in right field, Encarnacion gets some time at first base, Rasmus gets some time in center field and so on, as a transitional first step.  That's why they pay Gibbons the big bucks- to manage egos and to make the changes that the team needs.
electric carrot - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 11:10 AM EST (#268934) #
I think there are other considerations beyond ego for not changing positions.  (Ego, I expect is normally the biggest.)  But also, acclimatizing to a new position I think takes up a lot of mental space and I've noticed that often when a player does take a new position generally the hitting production goes down until he finds his rhythm.  Possible injury is a third reason not to push for change.  I believe the right time to push the envelope with Gose is likely next year.  IN 2014 I expect he's less likely to fail after developing his hitting chops in the minors and thus less likely to cause a situation where the experiment with Bautista at first base would need to be aborted.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 11:35 AM EST (#268935) #
I agree with electric carrot. I think Gose's time (assuming he continues to develop) starts in 2014. The Gose/Rasmus/Bautista/EE shuffle is an interesting idea, but it would involve changing a lot of variables at once (including moving the latter three players to less-demanding - and less marketable - positions, which might not go over all that well).

However, I wouldn't be surprised to see moves (internal or external) made around the CF/1B/DH positions in 2013 - perhaps a Gose promotion, or acquiring another potent bat for the stretch drive.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 12:17 PM EST (#268936) #
Thanks, Gerry, for posting the link to the Knott article.  Nuance and ambiguity is often lost in the PED debate.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 12:18 PM EST (#268937) #

"Who knows" is optimistic?  I guess I'm a glass half full kinda guy. 

I wasn't trying to be snarky. There are glass half full types at this forum, you being one of them, and glass half empty types, me being one of them. That's why I read your remark as tinged with optimism.

A third group I should acknowledge is the "Only half full? Are you nuts? My glass runneth over. I'll need another glass or two to hold everything."

CeeBee - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 12:47 PM EST (#268938) #
Sometimes I think there's a fourth type as well. "The Glass is not only practically empty but it's chipped. Time for a new one!".
Ryan Day - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 01:03 PM EST (#268939) #
Bautista grudgingly played third in 2011 for the good of the team, and third is generally regarded as requiring some skill to play. I'm not sure how well he'd take to becoming a first baseman, and he's a guy you want to keep happy for a variety of reasons. I wonder if the defensive improvements would outweigh potential clubhouse discord.
Geoff - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 01:18 PM EST (#268940) #
I would add a group for "Why bother having a glass? Our drink isn't as tasty as others' and it never will be. We will never be served the top shelf stuff. Somebody else can have at my share; I am just going to sit here and watch other people who get nice drinks enjoy their beverages."
mathesond - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 01:51 PM EST (#268941) #
Let's not forget the group that says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be
CeeBee - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 02:15 PM EST (#268942) #
Hell, who need a glass..... bring me the keg!
John Northey - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 02:51 PM EST (#268943) #
Good point Ryan about the challenges of player management.  Always thought Cito Gaston deserved a ton of credit for working so well with Joe Carter back in the early 90's - here was a guy who was an All-Star who he was able to shift between LF/RF/1B/DH as he needed to with no complaints.  Dave Winfield needs a game or two in RF?  Carter to LF.  Rickey Henderson is here?  Carter to RF.  Want to DH Olerud? Carter to 1B.  Just a shame that once Carter couldn't hit he wasn't allowed to leave as a free agent but during the years when it mattered (91-93) Carter was shuffled like few stars are. 

Just look back to 1988 to see how much of a disruption it can become with a poor manager - Jimy Williams vs George Bell on LF vs DH.  All to create a slot for Sil Campusano.  For the kids out there, Bell just won the MVP for 1987 and was not known for his defense in LF.  Lloyd Moseby was in CF and was decent but nothing special on defense either.  In 1987 they both had career years.  But the Jays decided to put Campusano into CF for 1988 as the Jays came up just short of the playoffs in 1987.  Campusano hit just 264/333/451in AAA the year before so he didn't seem ready to take the world by storm, but he did do that at 21 in AAA Syracuse (a poor park for hitters).  So massive disruption, as Bell refused to DH in the spring at times, other times would sit as far from Williams as possible, openly challenging the manager.  Gillick also failed here as he should've either found a trade for Bell (to make it clear he supported his manager) or fired Williams (which would've said the inmates ran the asylum, but at least you'd know who was in charge) as it was a toxic environment.  In the end Bell DH'ed for all of 7 games, while Mulliniks and Fielder platooned as DH's with an OPS+ of 143/100 respectively (Fielder was very poorly used back then...what a waste) and Campusano 'hit' 79 OPS+ over 73 games/158 PA (ie: benched mainly) and never developed.  3rd place, 2 games back.  One has to think the drama, the wasted time on Campusano (who clearly was overmatched and not ready from day one but had to get time to 'save face' for the management) cost at least those 2 games.  Meanwhile Rob Ducey had a 120 OPS+ in his limited playing time, the kid who should've been given more of a shot instead as he hit 284/388/462 in Syracuse in '87 and seemed ready for at least a backup role.  Ah well...what could've been.  In an alternate universe the Jays gave Cito Gaston the job in 1986 and won 4 WS titles from 1987 through 1993 and Cito retired to the HOF while Jimy Williams moved on to other teams and never was thought of in Toronto again.

Bautista did play a bit at 1B but I suspect he didn't like it much as he didn't do so after the first couple of weeks last year.  If Lind really stinks again and Gose shows he is ready (or Sierra does) then a challenge will come up as then you would want to shift Bautista to 1B or DH as both kids would be better defensively I'd suspect.  That is when we will see if we have a Cito Gaston or a Jimy Williams - a guy who can manage egos and get stars to move, or a guy who knows how to waste talent.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 03:02 PM EST (#268944) #
I imagine the off-season or spring training would be the best time to experiment with changes in position (as the Yankees were planning to do with Granderson this spring, moving him to LF with Gardner in CF).
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 03:04 PM EST (#268945) #
Jimy Williams...I'll have a full glass of vitriol, bartender!  Why he is not the "person who shall not be named" is a mystery to me.

I can understand why it might be hard to make all those position moves, and it may well be that a Lind/Davis platoon gets the job done well enough. 

John Northey - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 04:05 PM EST (#268947) #
Spring is the best time to experiment.  I remember Cecil Fielder at 3B a lot one spring, Olerud in LF another, Delgado in LF (actually made it into the season there) - all very ugly experiments.  For some reason Jimy Williams played Fielder at 2B/3B a couple of times one year...very scary stuff.

But key to it is to get the players buy in.  If the player doesn't buy into it then you cannot make it work. 

bpoz - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 04:37 PM EST (#268949) #
I am still laughing. I will go for a full half glass.

I think Ryan Day is on to something. Detroit VS Toronto in the playoffs, our 3B Lawrie playing great D & their 3B weak D.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 04:37 PM EST (#268950) #
I'll have a full glass of vitriol, bartender!

I believe they call that a "Cannonball." Half price if you're a member of the Box.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 05:04 PM EST (#268952) #
Actually, a cannonball is apparently a mellow drink according to Caddyshack.  Warning: the link contains definitions of "cannonball" which may be offensive to many. 
Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 05:14 PM EST (#268953) #

Olerud in LF another

Overbay has asked the Red Sox to give him playing time in the outfield this spring. That won't be pretty. I'm not sure he's any faster than Olerud was.

Geoff - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 06:50 PM EST (#268955) #
Warning: the link contains definitions of "cannonball" which may be offensive to many.

I was on the fence about clicking the link until you mentioned this. Thanks.

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 11:15 PM EST (#268957) #
Yes, if you choose to link to offensive content, please include a warning. Thanks +1
John Northey - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 07:58 AM EST (#268959) #
MLB Trade Rumours listed all the players who are out of options and under 5 years service time.  For the Jays those are: Emilio Bonifacio, Brett Cecil, Jeremy Jeffress, Luis Perez, Esmil Rogers, Sergio Santos.  Bonifacio and Santos was in no danger of being sent to AAA.  Perez will be on the 60 day DL to start the season.  That leaves Cecil, Jeffress and Rogers who are all fighting for bullpen slots.  Rogers was said to be safe earlier in the winter, so the only 'at risk' players then are Cecil and Jeffress. 

Before yesterday...
Cecil so far: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 runs, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts against a 9.5 (near ML) offense
Jeffress: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 strikeouts against a stronger 9.9 offense.

Jeffress: 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR - about as bad as it gets outside of Lincoln (didn't even finish an inning) and that was against Houston who might not have ML players this year (OK, not really but it seems that way).

Ick.  That was a bad game for Jeffress.  Still, one game won't decide anything this spring.  The 6/7 slots of the pen will be a dogfight I suspect.  If close then Jeffress and Cecil will get the call I suspect so others will have to really impress to stick.
John Northey - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 09:55 AM EST (#268960) #
Noticed Baseball Prospectus has an interesting thing today, the Glavine line which is a 'minimum pace' for 300 wins set at 15.5 wins a year from age 22 on which gets you 310 wins at age 41.  15 on the nose would get you 300 at age 41, but one thinks you want a bit of breathing room.

So checking a few Jays and ex-Jays just for fun...
Halladay: 199 wins at age 35 - should have 217 for the 'Glavine line' thus needs to either last a couple years past 41 or needs to have a few 20 win seasons to get back on pace.
Romero: 51 wins at age 27 - 93 is the pace for 300 so not much hope right now
Morrow: 39 at age 27 - less of a shot
Henderson Alvaraez: 10 at 22 - already 5 1/2 wins back despite an early start, shows how hard it is to be on pace at any point of ones career

Dave Stieb 1990: 32 years old, had his highest win total at 18 that year then had just 10 wins left in his career.  166 wins with 170 1/2 being the goal for that age so he was in eyeshot if his career didn't fall apart after 9 games the following season (was on a 15-16 win pace with a 134 ERA+).  Sigh.  A bit surprised he was still close to pace given he never won more than 18 in a season and had just 8 wins pre his age 22 season.
Lylemcr - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 12:19 PM EST (#268961) #
I have an unrelated question.  Any news on how Tyler Beede is doing down in Vanderbuilt?
92-93 - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 12:28 PM EST (#268962) #
5.0ip 5h 1er 5bb 3k
7.0ip 2h 1er 1bb 9k

Beede has made 2 starts. He is not Vanderbilt's Friday night starter.
Magpie - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 12:40 PM EST (#268963) #
Any news on how Tyler Beede is doing down in Vanderbuilt?

In 2012 he went 1-5, 4.56 in 16 appearances, 11 starts. He pitched 71.2 IP, fanned 68, walked 32.

They're just starting the 2013 season, and he's off to a nice start: 2-0, 1.50.
Magpie - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 12:45 PM EST (#268964) #
Always thought Cito Gaston deserved a ton of credit for working so well with Joe Carter back in the early 90's

It was the player who made it possible, of course. And in fact Carter's defensive positions in Toronto were far, far more stable than they were during his Cleveland days. Most memorably, he was involved in a Mel Hall-Pat Tabler platoon in which Carter played LF against LHP (Tabler at 1b) and 1B against RHP (Hall in LF.)
Richard S.S. - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 01:02 PM EST (#268965) #
While everyone is getting their work in and the WBC looms, we'll have an opportunity to see how the "depth" is hitting. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed (eyes crossed is normal) regarding injuries.

Tyler Beede wasn't signed because of a disagreement on Beede's shoulder injury. Wanting twice Slot was not a wise move. Would he be in mid- to high-A this season if signed?
China fan - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 01:32 PM EST (#268966) #
".....If close then Jeffress and Cecil will get the call I suspect so others will have to really impress to stick...."

Anthopoulos and Gibbons have repeatedly stated that this year is different -- they want to field the best possible team, regardless of options. They won't try to hide a player on the major-league roster for a few months just to avoid losing him, because that could damage their chances for the 2013 season, even if it might have long-term benefits.

Of course some of that is predictable rhetoric. All else being equal, or if there's little to choose between two players, they would naturally favor the player who doesn't have options. But if it's going to significantly harm the team to keep a player who is out of options, I think it's true -- they will give up the player, or try to trade him.

What does that mean for Cecil and Jeffress? If they're clearly worse than other pitchers such as Lincoln or Happ, they will be dropped or traded (even for a C-level prospect). I don't see how the Jays can leave Lincoln and Happ in the minors if they are clearly better than others in the major-league bullpen.

Of course we're just guessing at this point, but I have a hunch that Cecil will make the team, even though I'm basing this on those nearly-worthless statements about "the best shape of my life" and "my great new off-season workout regime that I got from Delabar." Jeffress is facing a much tougher hurdle. If Jeffress doesn't perform better than Happ or Lincoln in spring training, I think the Jays have to drop him, no matter how much talk there might be about his 100 mph velocity or whatever.
John Northey - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 02:30 PM EST (#268967) #
Jeffress is the one most on the bubble I think.  He is a reliever only, and his big asset is a good arm.  If he doesn't have control then there are many guys who could fill his slot.

Cecil has been a successful starter in the majors before and should be useful in the long relief role.  Happ might be better but Happ also is the insurance against a starter getting hurt, thus Cecil in majors in pen and Happ in AAA until someone is hurt makes a ton of sense vs Happ in pen and Cecil elsewhere with no decent backup for an injured starter.

Lincoln in AAA as a starter seems to not be the best of ideas, and how he does in the first few weeks with his non #1/2 pitches will go a long way to deciding what to do with him.  If his #1/2 pitches are lights out but #3 on are 'oh crap' or the efforts to stretch him out seem to be failing then he is the one Jeffress needs to fear the most.  I could imagine Cecil even losing his slot to Lincoln under the right circumstances.

IMO Cecil will be here, Happ in AAA, and Jeffress released at the end of spring with Lincoln in the pen.

China fan - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 02:55 PM EST (#268968) #
The thing is that Happ can be an effective backup to the rotation even if he's the long man in the bullpen. He won't be perfectly stretched out, but we saw in 2011 and 2012 how the previous long man, Villanueva, could step in and pitch 5 innings in a pinch. So you're only missing an inning or two if Happ is not fully stretched out -- which is not a huge deal. Against that, you have to weigh the cost to Happ's morale and ego if he's demoted to the minors. You can say, he's a professional, he has to accept his assignment (and the $3-million salary will certainly ease the injury to his ego), but the reality is that Happ should be in the majors if he is among the 12 best pitchers on the team.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 03:29 PM EST (#268969) #
We'll see who is healthy when March leaves like a lamb.  Happ may very well be in the major league rotation in April. 
Chuck - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 03:53 PM EST (#268970) #

Happ may very well be in the major league rotation in April. 

Yes indeed. Buerhle and Dickey are probably good bets to leave Florida intact. But nothing is certain after that. Johnson missed most of 2011, Morrow missed time in 2012 and Romero has knee "issues" and had off-season elbow surgery, albeit allegedly minor.

Further, and many may well disagree with me here, if Romero struggles through the spring, the organization may well keep him in the minors under the dignity-saving cover of "rehab".

John Northey - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 04:07 PM EST (#268971) #
Romero in AAA certainly could happen.  He had a horrible 2012 and if all signs show a bad 2013 is likely then the Jays could do worse than send him down and let Happ start. 

Now there is a big challenge - what to do if Happ pitches better than Romero and looks likely to be better at least at the start of the year.  Romero should still have an option left as he has less than 5 years experience and never was sent down (his 3 games in the minors in 2009 were injury rehab iirc). 

China fan - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 04:50 PM EST (#268972) #
"....if Romero struggles through the spring, the organization may well keep him in the minors under the dignity-saving cover of "rehab"...."

I agree that this is possible. The "rehab" scenario is much more likely than the morale-damaging route of optioning him to the minors. The knee and elbow issues are the perfect cover. In fact, they might be more than just cover. Some writers are saying that Romero's knee issues could indeed be affecting his pitching. If so, let him get comfortable in the minors, or at least let him try to adjust to the knee situation if it's becoming a chronic or lingering thing. Happ to the rotation, Lincoln and Loup and Cecil to the bullpen until Janssen is ready. With Romero, we can only hope that he figures out a way to adjust to those lingering issues.
Gerry - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 08:12 PM EST (#268973) #
I taped todays game and watched parts of it. It was a YES broadcast and featured radar gun readings. My observations, remembering that it is early in spring training:

Sergio Santos was sitting 95-96 with his fastball. He threw at least one nasty slider. Ken Singleton said he threw a July slider in February, not what the hitter was expecting.

Brett Cecil's fastball was 89-91. Cecil followed Steve Delabar's training program over the winter.

John Stilson hit 96 with one fastball and was sitting around 94. His command was not great, he was up in the zne quite a bit.

Evan Crawford was another with poor command. He has such a jerky delivery that you woner if he will ever have great command.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 08:50 PM EST (#268974) #
What happen if A.A. or John Gibbons decides on a six-man Bullpen until Janssen is ready?
Richard S.S. - Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 09:48 PM EST (#268975) #
On my MLB At Bat APP I listened to Wilner and Hayhurst on the feed they were on broadcasting the Jays' game. Mike said they had an agreed upon deal with Chicago for Jake Peavy with the money all approved. Chicago backed out and with the salary increase already approved, they revisited the Josh Johnson offer.
Named For Hank - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 09:41 AM EST (#268976) #
A third group I should acknowledge is the "Only half full? Are you nuts? My glass runneth over. I'll need another glass or two to hold everything."

Sorry I'm so late in replying, I was trying to find a bucket to pour all of these full glasses into.

Mike Green - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 10:29 AM EST (#268977) #
What happen if A.A. or John Gibbons decides on a six-man Bullpen until Janssen is ready?

Two full glasses of Cava for me to celebrate the beginning of the end of the 7 man pen.  A bench of Davis, Bonifacio, Lind, a middle infielder and a catcher would be pretty much ideal on this club. 

I don't think that it will happen; managers want to have long pens especially in April.  This year, with the Jays only having one off-day between April 2 and 21, and the starters not being fully stretched out, this preference would be understandable. 
92-93 - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 12:14 PM EST (#268978) #
I agree with the idea that Happ can be the rotation's backup while pitching out of the bullpen, and in fact would prefer that. There's a lot of value in using one pitcher every 3-5 days to finish a game instead of sending three arms out to get seven to nine outs. If you are consistently asking him to throw 30-45 pitches he should be fine to give you 3-4 innings (50-60 pitches) when you first need him out of the rotation and by his 3rd start would be sufficiently stretched out. Call me a sucker for the Carlos Villanueva & Brian Tallets of the world.

"I don't see how the Jays can leave Lincoln and Happ in the minors if they are clearly better than others in the major-league bullpen."

Here's the thing - when the GM consistently states that he won't let spring numbers affect his decisions it's basically impossible for them to show they are clearly better than the others unless AA believed that happened in 2012. I think AA is letting Lincoln start as a way of pacifying him on his impending demotion should guys like Jeffress need a spot. It's better for Lincoln to exhaust any potential starting opportunity before relegating himself to the bullpen, even if that means the difference between an MLB salary and a minor league one for a couple of months. The salaries this year of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes are a pretty good illustration of why.
China fan - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 12:25 PM EST (#268979) #
Mike, it's more than just the Jays preference for a 7-man pen in April (or an 8-man pen as we often saw in the past couple of years). It's also the reality that the bench players don't get used much, especially the last player or two on the bench. Even if they reduce the bullpen and expand the bench, it won't produce any additional ABs for the bench players, because of the utilization that the Jays prefer to follow, which favors . That's why they had room for DeRosa as a "mascot" who is unlikely to get much playing time. Even with all the injuries last season, Vizquel got only 150 at-bats. Perhaps the Jays now believe that Vizquel got 150 more ABs than he should have received, but that further proves the point: except for extreme circumstances, the Jays prefer not to give more than a handful of ABs to the last guy on the bench.
China fan - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 12:31 PM EST (#268980) #
"....when the GM consistently states that he won't let spring numbers affect his decisions it's basically impossible for them to show they are clearly better than the others...."

I assume that they don't use official statistics to judge a pitcher in spring training. I assume that they judge everything on what the coaches and managers detect from close observation in the spring games and practices. I'm not an expert, but I thought that the observations of the coaches would be the real deciding factor. Is that not the case? Especially since the competition in spring games is so variable. So someone like Jeffress might have better numbers than Lincoln, but the Jays could still decide that Lincoln has better command and better stuff (and more major-league experience) and deserves the job. At least I hope that's how it works.
92-93 - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 12:48 PM EST (#268981) #
The reason those players aren't used much is precisely because of the 4 man bench. It's harder for the manager to pinch hit and pinch run in the 6th inning if he's worried about getting through the game without playing people out of position. Adding another player to the bench allows you to pull the trigger on substitutions you want to make earlier. For a lot of 2012 the Jays had only 3 men on the bench, one of them being a catcher, so it was hard for Farrell to play around with the offensive side of the roster.
92-93 - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 12:51 PM EST (#268982) #
I'm not sure AA would even trust observations made in spring. You can read this quote in different ways.

ďI wish there were two weeks left,Ē (AA) said. ďIím anxious and excited to start the season. You watch these games and Iíve learned you canít take too much out of them. Each year Iím on the job I put less stock into spring training evaluations. Iíve been burned too many times in the past doing that.Ē
China fan - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 01:15 PM EST (#268983) #
On the AA quote: I think he's right about the problem of drawing conclusions from the spring games, but my comment about "observation" was about more than the actual games. The coaches and managers are also observing the bullpen sessions and intra-squad games and generally how a pitcher looks in the spring. It has to be one of the factors in clarifying who should win the competition for jobs such as 7th man in the bullpen. Otherwise they would just invite 25 players to spring training and not bother with watching the other guys.

On the issue of the bench size: I was trying to describe the existing Jays policy (which favors a 7-man or 8-man bullpen); I wasn't necessarily saying that the existing policy is the best. Clearly a larger bench would allow more platooning and substituting, which could be an advantage in some situations. But it would also mean a greater workload for the pitchers. There is some speculation, for example, that Janssen's current ailments are partly a result of his busy workload in 2012. It wasn't an extraordinarily heavy workload by historical standards (62 appearances, 64 innings), but the Jays may feel that the pitchers will be healthier if their workload is slightly smaller. They can't have everything: a large bench and well-rested pitchers. They have to choose one or the other, and -- right or wrong -- they seem to favor the pitchers.
92-93 - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 01:17 PM EST (#268984) #
AA said spring evaluations, not results.
92-93 - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 01:21 PM EST (#268985) #
"Even if they reduce the bullpen and expand the bench, it won't produce any additional ABs for the bench players,"

"Clearly a larger bench would allow more platooning and substituting,"
China fan - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 01:36 PM EST (#268986) #
The quote from Anthopoulos: "Each year Iím on the job I put less stock into spring training evaluations."

He didn't say "zero stock." Obviously spring is used to observe and evaluate players.
Dave Till - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 02:13 PM EST (#268987) #
Listening to Blue Jays spring training baseball for the first time this spring. Aaaah. (sigh of relief)

Listening to Buerhle get out of that bases-loaded jam made me almost want to weep with joy. Competent veteran starting pitching. Yow.

Mike Wilner is bringing the snark this afternoon. Me like. And Dirk Hayhurst is a great colour commentator. Do we really need Jack Morris?
92-93 - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 02:34 PM EST (#268988) #
We don't.

Sports fans do, though.
hypobole - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 02:40 PM EST (#268989) #
Jays policy does not favour an 8 man pen. That was simply a byproduct of some very ineffective starting pitching.
China fan - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 06:01 PM EST (#268990) #
I agree that Jays policy does not favor an 8-man pen. But we've seen it several times in the past two seasons, and we've never seen a 6-man pen. I think the Jays have a bias towards protecting their pitchers by limiting their workload and maximizing bullpen depth, rather than expanding their bench, when they have a choice. Is that bias justifiable? I don't know, it's debatable.

On the question of bench size: of course a larger bench would theoretically allow more platooning (that's just a statement of the obvious) but the point I was trying to make was that the Jays don't usually take advantage of those opportunities, because they prefer to give bench jobs to "mascots" like Vizquel and DeRosa who aren't supposed to get a lot of playing time. In this case, the bias is towards "character players" with "intangibles" and "chemistry" -- rather than platoon partners. Again, I'm not necessarily defending it, just describing it.
greenfrog - Friday, March 01 2013 @ 08:44 PM EST (#268991) #
Apparently this spring DeRosa gave Dickey the heads-up that he was tipping his pitches last season (Washington actually had some success against him). One of the perks of the DeRosa acquisition...
Oceanbound - Saturday, March 02 2013 @ 04:31 AM EST (#268992) #
Dickey was tipping his pitches? That's a surprise.

"Pretty sure he's going throw a knuckleball this time."
"He did! We've so got him figured out!"
92-93 - Saturday, March 02 2013 @ 12:06 PM EST (#268993) #
Dickey does throw his fastball much harder and more often than traditional knuckleballers, so there's that.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2013 @ 12:14 PM EST (#268994) #
RA versus all of baseball (2012): 226/278/362

RA versus the Nats (2012): 283/322/425

DeRosa said that Washington "had his pitches." Dickey and Hentgen have apparently addressed the issue.
CeeBee - Saturday, March 02 2013 @ 12:42 PM EST (#268995) #
That alone might be worth the DeRosa signing.
SK in NJ - Sunday, March 03 2013 @ 12:05 PM EST (#269006) #
Gibbons said Lincoln is no longer starting, and McGowan (if healthy) has a chance to make the team as a reliever. I think we all know how the McGowan story will end, but I would imagine Lincoln being strictly a reliever increases his odds of making the team out of ST.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, March 03 2013 @ 05:15 PM EST (#269011) #
Lincoln, as a reliever, still has an option left if it's needed.   Right now, everyone is being evaluated for Bullpen positions.  And everyone being evaluated is, as usual, trying too hard to do well while hoping to stay unhurt.
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 04 2013 @ 04:46 AM EST (#269013) #

As for Relievers for the Bullpen (small sample warning), Lincoln 21.60, Delabar 10.12, Jeffress 9.00, Cecil 6.75 are not performing up to their standards.  

Lincoln struggled badly, but was it because he was going to be a Starter or just mental.   He's a good Reliever, with the advantage of being further along than the hitters are at this time in the Spring.   Or at least he should be further along.   Delabar is working on locating his fastball, before working on the other stuff.   His fastball, however, is supposed to be his best pitch.   Jeffress has a great fastball and big control issues he was working with.   Is he that much of a longshot for this Team?   Cecil learned new things and still sucks.  His fastball has more zip,but does it matter?

McGowen is now a reliever - maybe, if healthy - again.

John Northey - Monday, March 04 2013 @ 12:51 PM EST (#269015) #
Quite the battle for the pen now...
Locks: Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver
Lock if healthy: Casey Janssen
Likely Lock (old AA comment): Esmil Rogers
No Options: Dustin McGowan, Brett Cecil, Jeremy Jeffress
Options: J.A. Happ, Brad Lincoln, Steve Delabar, Michael Schwimer, Aaron Loup

Phew.  So 4 slots maybe locked in, leaving 3 slots for 8 guys to battle over.  3 have no options, so in the past we'd figure they were locks.  Now that is just a tie breaker.  Based on pre-2013 spring if I was going for 'best' I'd probably take option guys north, 3 of  Happ, Lincoln, Delabar or Loup.  McGowan will probably get through waivers with his contract, Cecil though I doubt will make it while Jeffress is 50-50.  Quite the battle indeed.
92-93 - Monday, March 04 2013 @ 01:46 PM EST (#269017) #
I know Gibbons mentioned him yesterday but McGowan really isn't a factor in any bullpen race until he steps on a mound, pitches, and shows an ability to recover from that outing to get back on a mound a couple of days later. I'll believe it when I see it.

On a similar vein, I'm really concerned about Casey Janssen. When a guy is worried enough something is wrong with his arm that he won't get up on the mound to throw bullpens, there's a problem. At this point I'd be surprised if he's ready for Opening Day.
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