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The WBC is over, the Dominican Republic are "World Champions" and the Jays will have all of their players in camp within a day or two.  The Jays have eleven days of spring games left before they head north for the Tuesday home opener.  There are few decisions left to be made, basically the backup catcher and the long man in the bullpen.   Otherwise the roster is set, the starting pitchers are known, the batting lineup is 90% set with second base the one unknown.

Spring training, up to this point, has had as its objective to get the players in shape, particularly the pitchers arms.  Players returning from injury need to be tested.  And roles and responsibilities need to be defined.

Results from spring training are notoriously unreliable.  But if there is any predictive value to spring training it should come from the final ten days.  By this time many of the minor leaguers have been sent to minor league camp where games began this week.  Starting pitchers are up to throwing five or six innings and most of the relief pitchers are of major league quality.  The games have a greater resemblance to the regular season. 

Other than the two positional battles listed above, here is what else I will be looking at over the next ten days?

* Will Casey Janssen be ready for the start of the season?

* Same question for Brett Lawrie

* How will Adam Lind hit against decent pitching?  Lind started spring training well, can his new "yogafied" body deliver results at the end of the spring?  Can Lind hit the better lefty pitchers?

* Can Ricky Romero throw strikes?  Will he speed up his pitching, do a Buehrle, as suggested by John Gibbons?  Or will the "tweak" to his motion pay off?

* Is Colby Rasmus rounding into form?  His progress earlier in the spring was slowed by a shoulder injury.

 * Is Mark Buehrle ready to get hitters out?


Ricky Romero's next start is projected to be in a minor league game so we may not know much until his last start at the end of spring training.

The Dominican crew should be back in camp tomorrow.  They might not play until Friday.  Then the final push will be underway.

The Jays record this spring is not good but as we know from previous years that means nothing.  Last year the Jays had a great spring training and that led to their worst regular season in years.


Roll on the regular season.

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92-93 - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#269270) #
I wish the approach the club was taking with Lind wasn't one where they see how he handles lefties and take it from there. I've seen enough from Lind since 2009 that the only way he should be facing a lefty is if he's feasting on RHP so much that he forces you to keep his bat in the lineup vs. a LHP. Facing lefties should be a job Lind needs to earn, not one that he needs to lose.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#269271) #
Yoga Lind actually has a bit of a ring to it. 

I am still not sure that Romero will actually be starting in TO when the bell rings.  It aint over til it begins, as the other Yogi might have said. 

China fan - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#269272) #
For me, the key questions are:

1) can the Jays seriously remake Romero's mechanics with only 2 starts remaining in the spring? Even though they claim it's just a "tweak" to "bring him back to where he was", it seems to be several mechanical adjustments, as far as I can tell from the independent reporting. Isn't this the kind of adjustment that should be done in a few weeks in the minors?

2) given the above, even if Romero stays in the starting rotation, do the Jays really send Happ to Buffalo? Apparently there have been noises that Gibbons would like to see Happ in the major-league bullpen at least. If there are days when Romero goes just 3 or 4 innings, wouldn't it be better to have Happ as the long-relief option, rather than a Jeffress or Cecil who might be good for one or two innings max?

3) how do the Jays finesse the issue of Jeffress and Cecil, who look good but are out of options? Especially when Janssen is ready (which could even be opening day), how do the Jays manage to keep both Jeffress and Cecil? Or do they trade one of them for a C prospect, which would be unfortunate but plausible? And what about Rogers, who had a good 2nd half of 2012 but has been shaky in the spring -- is he guaranteed a job? I think the guaranteed jobs go to Santos, Janssen, Oliver, Loup and Delabar. That leaves 2 spots for 5 competitors (including Rogers, Cecil, Lincoln, Jefffress and Happ) and I'm keen to see how the Jays square the circle.

Everything else, I think, is easy to settle. Bonifacio and Izturis are both going to get lots of time at 2B, Rasmus will get plenty of time to rebound, and Lind will be given a short leash against LHP.
MatO - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#269273) #
Arnsberg fixed Romero in one week.  Bill James, years ago, suggested players should have individual coaches.  Someone else might have been a better fit for Aaron Hill for example.
Gerry - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#269274) #

I believe that either Jeffress or Cecil will be traded.

I think Happ will start in the minors so he can be ready to pitch 6 innings.  Even though teams have a long reliever that long reliever rarely pitches more than 2 innings, and those 2 innings come about once every couple of weeks.  If you need a replacement starter your long reliever will only be good for 3 or 4 innings.

Mike Green - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#269275) #
You are probably right, Gerry, but Villanueva was used as a long man/6th starter the last 2 years.  He didn't have any trouble adjusting to the starting role; his issue appears to have been endurance over the course of the season.  Happ has thrown 150 innings plus several times in his career, and has pitched better in the second half of the season than in the first half.  For that reason, I think that he will be starting somewhere in April.  I am not as sure that it will be in Buffalo. 
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#269276) #
Facing lefties should be a job Lind needs to earn, not one that he needs to lose.

My guess is that's a good summary of their actual approach. They're unlikely to say publicly that they've lost faith in Lind vs.lefthanders when they're stuck with his salary for another year, anymore than they're likely to say they wish they could move his $7 mil owing. At this point they'll just hope for the best vs righthanders with Lind, and most likely just fill out the lineup card with either DeRosa or Davis or Bonifacio facing lefties as the DH.
Lylemcr - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#269278) #

I was reading the yoga article on Lind and it talked about how he was out of shape last year.  It makes me really wonder.  How can a person be out of shape when his career is on the line? 

To me, it could be of one these reasons:

1. He was hurt more than documented.  The daily grind was all he could do.

2. Something psychological (ie. Lazy, can't handle the pressure is too much, alchohol or drugs,etc)

It really concerns me that he was out of shape.  If they can get him focused, I think he can hit again.  But....that is a big if.

monkeyman - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#269281) #
Has anyone heard either AA or Gibby say who is actually picking the final 25?  I have a hard time believing AA would want to lose both Cecil and Jeffress to keep Happ in the bullpen, but Gibby seems to be leaning that way.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#269282) #
Jeffress is getting hammered in the bottom of the 2nd today.  It was likely a serious audition for him. 
China fan - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#269283) #
Yes, it seems Jeffress is taking pity on Gibbons and easing his dilemma over what to do...
Landomar - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#269285) #

Jeffress has good stuff, but he has not had good results in his career.  If guys like Janssen and Santos are healthy to start the season, I suspect we'll just get rid of Jeffress at the end of spring training.

Janssen, Santos, Oliver, Delabar, Loup, Rogers, and Cecil.  I expect that will be our bullpen, although Happ could take Cecil's spot if it's determined that Cecil is just plain terrible at this point (which could be the case, based on Cecil's recent history).

At AAA, we'd then have Happ and Lincoln ready for callups as needed.  We will also have a lot of decent AAAA type pitchers in Buffalo, and perhaps some of those guys will turn out to be pleasant surprises this season.  After all, pitchers, and especially relievers, have a large element of unpredictability.

Chuck - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#269287) #
I don't know Jeffress from Adam, but I think it is instructive to think back to David Purcey. These Nuke Laloosh types with the raw tools that just can't quite put it together are ubiquitous. I don't think there is any great shame in cutting guys like him loose and risking the 1% chance that they'll turn into Randy Johnson on somebody else's dime.
TamRa - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 05:42 AM EDT (#269298) #
I'm pretty sure one of Jeffress or Cecil will be dealt and it may possibly come down to whether there's a significantly better return on one than the other. At a minimum, AA should be able to flip one into a similar guy who's got options.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#269300) #
For all the people happy to wash their hands of Jeffress, I'd like to mention just one interesting thing.   It was his first time, this Spring at Starting, first time into the second inning.   I listened to the game.   He pitched well in the first, as he usually does.   Between taking "something off" his fastball and using the breaking ball, he was effective in the first inning.   Is he just a one inning guy?
John Northey - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#269301) #
Richard - that is probably what the Jays were checking.  Can Jeffress go 2+ innings or is he a one inning or ROOGY pitcher? 

Checking his history...
Last year...
 3 games over 1 IP: 5 IP 11 H 11 R 10 ER 4 BB 1 SO
 10 games 1 IP or less: 8 1/3 IP: 8 H 3 R 0 ER 9 BB 12 K

Other than the walks, he was clearly better (and reasonably effective, depending on those unearned runs).  In his 3 over 1 IP games he really, really sucked (18.00 ERA)

But 2011...
4 games over 1 IP: 7 2/3 IP: 6 H 2 R 2 ER 2 BB 3 SO
10 games 1 or less: 7 2/3 IP, 6 H 6 R 6 ER 9 BB 10 SO - wildness killed him
In those 10 games, 2 were nightmares - 1 out each, 6 total walks, 3 runs, 2 hits, 0 K's.

In 2010 he had 1 game over 1 IP (2 IP 1 H 2 BB 2 SO) and 9 of 1 or less (8 IP 7 H 4 R 3 ER 4 BB 6 SO)

Net over 3 years...
over 1 IP...
14 2/3 IP  18 H 13 R 12 ER 8 BB 6 SO for a 7.36 ERA
1 or less IP...
24 IP 21 H 13 R 9 ER 22 BB 28 SO for a 3.38 ERA

His 1 IP or less is clearly better, but that wildness is a big issue.  Still, a big chuck of that (6 BB in 2/3 IP in 2 games) was two nightmare outings without which his BB-SO ratio gets a lot better.  Not good mind you, but a lot better.  Likewise for his 2+ IP games he allowed 6 runs in one game last year, remove that and his 2+ IP games look a lot better too.

I can see why the Jays hesitate to dump him.  Ideally he'd have an option left, but he doesn't.  I expect the Jays will try to sneak him through waivers at the end of spring, when most teams are set, unless someone makes a decent offer.

92-93 - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#269302) #
According to Wilner, Jeffress struggled through the first inning as well.
John Northey - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#269303) #
I wonder if Jeffress thinks he might be going more than 1 IP if he changes his approach.  Some pitchers are known for that, holding back a bit knowing they'll need it later, or trying to mix in more pitches.  I wonder if Jeffress needs to just be told 'you will never go more than 1 IP' and see what happens?  Much like how managers like clearly defined roles for each member of the pen as it allows those pitchers to mentally prep for it.  Some pitchers can handle never knowing, others need to know.  I suspect Jeffress is a 'needs to know' type - one inning so he can let it fly and focus on just getting those 3 outs and nothing else. 
China fan - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#269304) #
92-93 is correct that Wilner wasn't impressed by Jeffress in the first inning either. Wilner wrote that Jeffress gave up the 3 home runs in the second inning "after struggling through a first inning in which he kept the Orioles off the board but had their batters foul off a bucket of balls to drive his pitch count up."
Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#269305) #

I think it's possible Jeffress got to the Majors just "blowing everyone away" with his stuff.   To succeed, he might not have needed to learn how to throw anything else that well.   He might not trust anything else, including taking something off from his fastball.   He may have learned to never trust his defense.  

Dave Stieb made the change from the outfield to Pitching when he learned how to throw the Slider.   He liked how looked the same when thrown (Do they?).

How do you teach anyone anything when their Ego is in the way?

PeterG - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#269306) #
I also believe they will try and sneak Jeffress through waivers.....maybe trade Cecil.....Happ could stay up....possibly Romero to Buffalo(which would be the best thing for him). I see Bush and Storey as possible surprises to come north(Gibbons said Bush is in the mix)......Rogers will have to be effective early season or McGowan may take his job by May.
John Northey - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#269308) #
A few thoughts...
  • The back end of the pen and #5 starter will be interesting stories early on.  Romero being reworked is big - could easily force the issue and cause him to be sent down for April or make it so he has to go down in May should he not 'get it' quickly. 
  • I noticed that Bush has done well this spring but didn't worry about it as spring stats mean little.  Still... 2.45 ERA in 11 IP sounds good... but the 5 BB vs 6 SO looks bad.  At 8.6 his opponent quality has been better than AAA but not drastically so.  I'd still have him on a bus to Buffalo but keep an eye on him in case someone is needed for 2 or 3 starts or if there are issues with the long man in the pen.
  • Aaron Loup hasn't faced high end competition (rated at 8.0 which is dead on AAA level) but has done extremely well - 7 IP 5 H 1 (E)R 0 BB 7 SO 1 HBP.  Nothing to complain about there.  I think he is ML quality but might be caught in a numbers game.
  • Odd that Oliver has only appeared in 3 games so far... has he been at the minor league complex a lot?  Just doesn't seem like much work but at his age I guess he doesn't need much to get ready anymore.
  • I think raw innings pitched is a good indicator of who the Jays are looking closest at.  Might tell us stuff we don't notice otherwise.
  • Justin Germano has led the Jays with 13 IP - a NRI who has faced good quality (8.7) opponents.  0 BB vs 14 K with 0 HR but a 6.23 ERA due to 20 hits.  I think he has impressed more than most would see.  
  • Next is Brett Cecil at 11 1/3 IP - 6 BB vs 13 SO and 2 HR vs 9.0 quality.  6.35 ERA which makes sense with the wildness shown.  The K's are a nice surprise though. 
  • Dave Bush at 11 IP is next.  5 BB vs 6 SO as mentioned earlier.
  • Jeremy Jeffress is the last guy at 10+ (10 on the nose) with 7 BB vs 12 SO and 4 HR vs 8.6 quality hitters.
  • Based on those 4 if I was the Jays I'd probably be going with Germano and Cecil then Bush then Jeffress based on quality of results (HR, BB, SO being key indicators). 
92-93 - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#269309) #
Chone Figgins would be a nice guy to have around Buffalo.
China fan - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#269310) #
"....Odd that Oliver has only appeared in 3 games so far...."

He pitched 3 innings in a minor-league game this week. Apparently he has some kind of tradition where he does a 3-inning stint at some point every spring. To strengthen his arm, I guess.
China fan - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#269311) #
Romero's first minor-league inning with his new mechanical adjustment: 19 pitches, 7 batters, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 1 wild pitch.
John Northey - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#269312) #
Oy.  While I was one of those beating the drum for Romero to go to AAA I really, really hoped he'd prove me wrong and earn that 5th slot.  But with each outing things just keep getting worse.  Now, maybe he figured out a lot and will still prove my gut wrong, but if not...
China fan - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#269313) #
Three more walks by Romero in the 2nd inning. This is becoming painful.
92-93 - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#269314) #
Painful and clearer that it's unlikely Romero will be where he needs to be come Opening Day. JA Happ, welcome to the rotation.

I'm surprised Anthony Gose hasn't been optioned out yet, and I wonder if there's anything to be read into that. If he gets injured now he has to go on the MLB DL and service time will be wasted; usually by now prospects with no chance at making the team have been assigned to their minor league club.
John Northey - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#269315) #
Wouldn't be shocked if AA is working on trading Rasmus or if there is an issue potentially with Cabrera after that mess started with the drugs in Miami (his name came up).  Odds are he will be safe from that mess due to being caught last year, but the Jays might be playing it safe right now regarding that.

Gose has the most PA for any outfielder at 50 hitting 308/429/462 vs good competition (8.8 ranking).  Next is Cabrera at 47 (939 OPS), Bautista (46 PA), then Langerhaus (?) at 43 PA, then Rasmus at 34 hitting just 160/382/160 (no extra base hits, no stolen base attempts).  Davis is at 33 PA and also is hitting poorly (188/182/313 - no walks, one sac fly = OBP lower than average).  At this point if someone offers ANYTHING for Rasmus I'd be tempted to take it - he has played poorly here and who knows if he will ever be good here while Gose might be ready and better.  If you want to win you need the best possible players.

China fan - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#269316) #
Final line on Romero today (against minor-league opponents): 64 pitches, 5 hits, 5 walks, zero strikeouts, 4 earned runs, in 3.1 innings. He was scheduled for 5 innings, but didn't get close to that. If anyone wants to calculate his BB/9 ratio for the spring, please let us know, but it will be depressing reading.

After he left, Anthopoulos had intense conversations with Pete Walker and JPA, and then told reporters that there are no plans to change the rotation "as of now" -- but he said there will be conversations to come.

Source for all this: tweets by @ArashMadani
BlueJayWay - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#269317) #
I don't know if you can bring Rickey north to begin the season at this point.
China fan - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#269318) #
Just to make matters worse: I've just realized that Romero never actually managed to finish an inning today. The Jays were limiting his pitches per inning, since it was a minor-league game, and he only managed to get 7 outs with those 64 pitches. And there were only 29 strikes among those 64 pitches. It was his worst outing of the spring. Instead of getting better, he's getting worse.

Apparently AA was hinting pretty clearly that Romero's status is up for review. When you hear that phrase about "no plans to change, as of now" -- it's fairly ominous.
Chuck - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#269319) #

I'm surprised Anthony Gose hasn't been optioned out yet, and I wonder if there's anything to be read into that.

I wonder if he wouldn't serve as Lawrie's replacement should Lawrie need to be DL'd (Bonifacio to 2B, Izturis to 3B, Gose as an OF reserve). Or perhaps I am missing an obvious minor league infielder to replace a disabled Lawrie.

Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#269320) #

Buck Martinez was talking on a Tim and Sid Podcast.  Opening Day is not the end that everyone has to be ready for.    (The season with off days is 181 days long, excluding pre- and post-season.)   Taking another few weeks to be ready is not that big a deal., the season is so long.

Fifth Starter

Ricky Romero is being reworked so he doesn't throw across his body as much as he does, landing foot adjustment, mound rubber location and stuff.   He is our 5th Starter, whether he starts early April, mid-April or late April.   He is our 5th Starter.  

J.A. Happ is our 6th Starter, because ability-wise he's only that good.   (Good Pitchers have good records even on bad Teams.   So if you don't, you aren't.)    He might start the season as 5th Starter, but as soon as Romero is ready, Happ goes down.   He is our Injury Replacement Starter (6th).


Darren Oliver likes to pitch three innings, once every Spring Training.   According to Mike Wilner, he did so at the Minor League Complex using just 24 pitches to do so.   To get everyone enough innings and audition everyone for MLB, AAA and AA Pitchers are getting innings at the Minor Camp as well as at the regular site.   It is possible Casey Janssen may not be fully stretched out as a Closer (ie: a back-to-back and a two innings stint), so both Janssen and Sergio Santos will do Closing duties if necessary or Janssen stays back to get stretched out better.

I don`t think all the Option Remaining Pitchers will make the Team at the expense of those without options.   Brett Cecil (LHP - Long relief) should make the Club while Aaron Loup (LHP) may very well go to AAA.  Justin Germano and Dave Bush are ticketed to AAA, baring injuries.   Jeremy Jeffress might be salvaged if he listens.   It`s still early to make final decisions.

Ryan Day - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#269321) #
I feel like Colby Rasmus is an excellent example of what could happen if you rush Gose. Rasmus was a fantastic prospect, and had a great year in AA at 20. But then he had a so-so year at AAA (with some injuries, I believe), but ended up starting in St. Louis the next year anyway. He had some initial success, but perhaps it wasn't built on the best foundation.

Would Rasmus have turned out differently if he'd spent more time in the minors? I don't know, but I want to make sure Gose is as ready as possible before bringing him to the majors.

Besides: Gose has struck out 14 times in 16 games. Spring stats, etc, etc, but still - that's against guys who are ticketed for AAA, and pitchers who are still getting comfortable with their breaking stuff.

If Rasmus is still terrible at the all-star break, and Gose has shown some continuous success at AAA, then you can think about a switch.
92-93 - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#269322) #
Chuck: Even in that scenario, why not just option Gose down and call him up in the event you're putting Lawrie on the DL?

JNorthey: That's a scary proposition. You don't tender a guy a contract and then trade him away for a bag of baseballs based on some spring results. I've pointed this out on numerous occasions but for a reminder - Rasmus was hitting .259/.328/.494 at the All-Star break last year and then had a terrible 2nd half mixed in with some injury problems. Let Colby prove he can't handle the everyday CF job for a contender and let Gose prove he deserves it before you destroy your organization's depth by trading Colby for "ANYTHING".
greenfrog - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#269323) #
Ricky has a solid track record in the majors but has been brutal for close to a year now. As I've said in previous posts, I see a significant possibility of Steve Blass disease (or "confidence issues," if you prefer the euphemism). I would start him in the minors and give him some time to work it out away from the media glare.
China fan - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#269324) #
You can't even blame "media glare" for Romero's self-inflicted troubles now, since there seems to have been exactly 1 reporter at his minor-league game today.

To be fair, if he's being asked to make mechanical adjustments, it will take some time -- possibly several games or more. But if Happ is ready and Romero is struggling, it does make sense to have Romero working on his issues in the minors.

Chuck - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#269325) #

To be fair, if he's being asked to make mechanical adjustments, it will take some time -- possibly several games or more.

We had earlier discussed "rehabbing from injury" as the face-saving cover to have him start the year in the minors. Maybe "mechanical adjustments" can be (justifiably) used instead. The organization is going to want to tread lightly with someone whose confidence has to be waning, despite whatever brave face he may be choosing to present. Buffalo can't be seen as punishment as it might for a younger, cockier player who might need an attitude adjustment (like Orlando Hudson, back in his pimpin' days).

John Northey - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#269326) #
Rasmus is more based on the last 2 years plus showing _nothing_ in spring.  I mean, not one extra base hit yet to go with a horrid average and no attempts to steal?  That really isn't much.  Also hitting 259/328/494 is nice for 1/2 a season, but 176/238/278 in the second half is horrid - to just say 'he was hurt' isn't enough imo - if a guy keeps playing while hurt bad enough to hit that bad then you have to worry.  Lets see 2011... 246/329/413 first half, 182/230/344 second half.  2010 (his great year)?  284/369/545 first half, 265/351/435 second half.  2009?  278/329/478 first half, 216/278/314 second half.  That isn't one injury, that is a clear trend.  The first half he is a good player, lifetime 266/338/480.  The second half he is does a John McDonald impression at 209/276/339. 

By now the Jays know who Rasmus is.  It might be a good idea to hold him for the first few months, hope he does as he has always done and have a good first half, then quickly trade him before the bottom falls out - as St Louis did a few years back.  I just fear there is something wrong that means he will be worth nada in the trade market by mid-season and his rep in the clubhouse in St Louis wasn't exactly a good one.
greenfrog - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#269327) #
I'm not arguing that "media glare" is causing Romero's troubles. I'm saying that it might help him to sort himself out away from the spotlight, especially with the extra attention being paid to the Jays in 2013. There is a lot of pressure to make the playoffs this year, and extra pressure is probably the last thing Romero needs right now.
Gerry - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#269328) #

From the "what have you done for me lately files, small sample size edition", Anthony Gose is 3-19 over his last eight games (some as a replacement with one AB). His BA has gone from .375 to .279.

He needs some Buffalo time.

Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#269329) #
If you can listen to Podcasts of PTS today, they're talking with Marcus Stroman, who's sounding good, very intelligent.   Ricky Romero, in his new delivery, pitching against Pirate minor leaguers threw 60 pitches and really struggled - he was throwing strikes dominating at one moment and clueless about what he's throwing the next.    I think this is more mental than a skill problem.
greenfrog - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#269330) #
The Romero situation is confounding, because if he's right, he could be a #2 or #3 starter on this staff. But if he's lost his confidence, he might not even be an effective #5.

It would not surprise me if the Jays end up looking for more starting pitching during the season. I would love to see Rogers sign Lohse to a 1/$15M contract or some such (of course, Boras is angling for a lot more, and will probably get it). The Jays don't need someone to start in the playoffs - just someone at the back of the rotation who can give them quality innings, keep them in games and not burn the bullpen.
China fan - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#269331) #
J.A. Happ this spring: 13 innings, 1 walk.

Ricky Romero this spring: 11 innings, 12 walks.

If he wants to make the rotation, Romero will need to discover his control very soon.
greenfrog - Thursday, March 21 2013 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#269332) #
It will be interesting to see how well Walker and Mottola work out this season. Both are well-regarded but also inexperienced at the major-league level. I would have preferred more experienced pitching and hitting coaches, but time will tell. I might be jaded after observing the Jays' experience with the well-regarded-but-inexperienced predecessor to John Gibbons.
Mylegacy - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#269337) #
"Time to get serious" - about the 800 pound gorilla lurking in the spring stats...(YA I KNOW - SSS)

We've all exhausted tons of angst over Rickey's passage to the dark side. Ugly, worrying, scary.

For example his spring whip is 2.08 - awful eh? Unfortunatley - unnoticed this spring - is that Buehrle's is actually worse! It's at 2.15!

I use a rule of thumb that a whip below 1.30 is OK(ish), below 1.20 is good, below 1.00 is sweet - very sweet. Over 1.30 is worrying, over 1.40 is scary, over 1.60 is send this guy back to HiA for a makeover!

SO - what is the 800 pound gorilla...

WHIPS - Buehrle 2.15, Romero 2.08, Dickey 1.80, Morrow 1.66, Happ 1.38 and WOW - Johnson 0.37. Of the top six starters on "THE TEAM OF 2013" five are having a disastrous to rough start to their spring. Will our re-worked starting rotation scuttle our coming out party? The offense (if Boni is at 2nd) still looks scary (thank you Mr Lind).

Gerry - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#269338) #

MLBTR is reporting the Jays have claimed Todd Redmond on waivers off the Baltimore Orioles.  Redmond has spent the last four years as a starter in AAA with ERA's in the 3.50 range.  Redmond pitched in 8 major league games last season.

This needs a offsetting move with someone coming off the Jays 40 man roster.

The Jays appear to have a lot of starting depth in AAA but some of those more experienced pitchers may have outs in their deals.  Or, the Jays might think Redmond could have a better future as a reliever.

John Northey - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#269339) #
Well, the main reason I'm worried about Romero is a mix of last year and the spring while the others had a good season last year so I figure they might be just tuning up while Romero is in the deep kaka.

MLB has added some historic spring stats (2006 to now) so lets see how the two starters have done recently in spring.  Stats are shown 2006-2007-...2012-2013 : overall. 

Buehrle: 3.10-6.95-2.14-6.50-2.08-4.00-6.62-6.23 : 4.49
Romero: 9.00-na-na-3.91-1.89-7.91-0.00-7.27 : 4.39

Buehrle: 2-14, 6-13, 7-15, 8-14, 6-13, 3-12, 4-12, 7-7 : 43-100
Romero: 1-4, na, na, 13-22, 9-11, 9-20, 2-10, 7-6 : 41-73

Buehrle: 1.14, 1.77, 1.14, 1.67, 1.62, 1.50, 1.58, 2.15 : 1.52
Romero: 2.67, na, na, 1.57, 1.42, 1.71, 0.36, 2.08 : 1.50

So historically Buehrle has been very similar to Romero in spring.  WHIP's are as close as you get, BB-SO favours Buehrle, but ERA is (slightly) in Romero's favour.  Both have their worst WHIP's in a full spring (2006 was a courtesy one for Romero I suspect), both are walking as much as they K for the first time and ERA's are ugly but not the worst either has put up in spring.  Of course, we are missing Romero's nightmare AAA game here (doesn't count in the stats).

Like I said though, I don't worry much about Buehrle as he has had a few solid years (a lot of them) while Romero is coming off a nightmare season and seems to be getting worse as spring rolls along.
Gerry - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#269340) #
Drew Hutchison has been moved to the 60 day DL.  Redmond has been optioned to Buffalo.
Gerry - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#269341) #
Casey Janssen pitched his first major league inning of the spring and it was perfect, 11 pitches 2 K's.
China fan - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#269342) #
Mylegacy, the problem with your spring statistics is that they ignore Romero's disastrous game of yesterday, which didn't count in the official statistics because it was a minor-league game. Romero's numbers would be far worse than any other starter on the team if yesterday was included.

In any event, the numbers don't really matter. What matters is that the Jays are satisfied with the progress of their other starters, and they are obviously very dissatisfied with Romero's performance. It's only Romero who is being told to make mechanical adjustments. And it's only Romero who, according to Anthopoulos yesterday, has a chance of being sent to the minors to work out his difficulties.
China fan - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#269343) #
".... we are missing Romero's nightmare AAA game here...."

Unfortunately he wasn't even pitching against an AAA team yesterday. It was a team of A-level prospects from the Pirates system.
Mike Green - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#269344) #
Ricky led the league in walks allowed in 2012, and has struggled mightily in the spring.  Walks are the one thing that drives me crazy, and I suspect I am not alone.  If it were my club, Ricky would open the season either in long relief, in Buffalo or on the DL. 
John Northey - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#269345) #
Oh geez... it just gets worse for Ricky the more we dig in isn't it?  A level kids are known for swinging at anything if they get a chance to see a major leaguer (Morris was talking about that on the broadcast today and it fits what I've noticed in the past in spring).  For Ricky to have walked as many as he did, and to have as much trouble as he did ... oy vey.

Suddenly that $7.5 mil for the next 3 years plus $300k buyout of his 2016 $13.1 million option seems like money poorly spent.  Lets hope he gets it together.  We know the Jays will give him every opportunity to.  At least with AA at the helm we can feel confident he'd find a taker if Romero is done.
John Northey - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#269346) #
Happ is now down to under 2 for spring ERA, or less than 1/3rd of Romero's.  Clearly Happ saw it as a competition or at least as a showcase for other teams.  Ricky... well... hrm. 

Now, I hardly advocate using just spring stats.  But last year Happ was also better than Romero - 85 ERA+ over 144 2/3 IP vs Romero's 74 over 181 IP.  Career it is Happ 97 vs Romero's 105.  Both have a 140+ ERA+ season (Romero 2011, Happ 2009), Happ has 2 in the 110's vs 1 for Romero but Romero also has one in the 100's.  Both have a year in the 70's as well (Happ in 2011, Romero in 2012).  Happ just seems a year further along in the recovery process from a disaster year.

I'm wondering if the Jays will DL Romero at the end of spring now - so that he doesn't have to be 'sent down' officially but can be sent down for 30 days while still officially being a major leaguer. 

Richard S.S. - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#269347) #
Who inherited Mel Queen's job? He's got a very interesting task ahead of him. He only has to totally rework Romero's delivery. Romero know how, what, why and when to pitch, he just has a little trouble with the "where".

The only other Pitcher I know who beat himself up over every pitch was Juan Guzman. Romero became the Ace of this Staff by default, because no one else was even close. That may have been a mistake. His 2009 - 2011 showed a very good Pitcher. His stubborn pride wouldn't let him say he was hurt, so he tried to compensate with next to no success. It's just possible he no longer trust his stuff. If it's more mental than physical, it's easier to succeed but harder to have success.

Since it's possible Romero might need months to get right, I expect A.A. to find more Pitching. Since J.A. Happ is our temporary 5th Stater, who's the first callup (not named Romero) in case of injury?
Mylegacy - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#269348) #
Excuse this ramble...

Romero - I have to say I LOVE the guy. It's always been obvious to me his stuff was more electric than his control or command. He was an "Ace" because no one else was even near being an "Ace".

Last year he completely fell apart...mentally, physically (with his mechanics) and most every other way. He was struggling and if there was a god anywhere in the universe he should have been either put out of his misery or at least rested - EVEN - if only for a start to get his breath...but we couldn't...with every ambulance in the GTA being used to rush Jay's hurlers to various and sundry emergency wards as their wings fell off - we abused a terribly struggling, physically and mental exhausted warrior. A great guy who'd given us yeoman's service for a few years and we crushed him. What did he do? He sucked it up and lived through the worse few months of his career (and possibly his life). I LOVE the guy. Does that mean I want to give him so much rope we don't do in 2013 that which we've been ordained to do? No. Life - can be unforgiving. Should Ricky step back and attempt repairs far form the glare of big city lights of the GTA? Yes.

But I LOVE the guy. I love the warrior. When repaired - I'd gladly let him lead us into the fray once more.

Johnson - he does look very sweet - n'est pas? Will we re-sign him? Would you rather throw that money (and a few shekels more) to get Cano this off season and have a Dominican Ubber Squad of Latin Delight? Will Sanchez join us by June 2014 and with Cano joining the other "World Champions" in our flock might that not be the throw of the dice we should take?

Buehrle - having a very fast - but very easy to hit spring. Very little being said about him. I do know this, in 2014 and thereafter, this is gonna be one very expensive 5th starter. By FAR the most expensive 5th starter the Jays have ever had.

Morrow - Mr Wonderful Stuff. Will this be the year? We need it to be...but will it be... sigh.

Dickey - at this point, to me, his record will be almost his second most important contribution to the team. His FIRST contribution (no matter how good or bad his season plays out) will be a fantastic series of gif's of him blowing away Pedroia, Cano, Ortiz, and any Yank's still playing, and sundry other "stars" with his Tricky Dickey Dazzler. Oh joy - years of replaying those gif's. I'm drooling already!

Happ - remember Dave Bush (ya, I know he's back in the AAA fold) - well Happ reminds me of him - only slightly better. Just good enough to have some utility until pushed out by an actual middle of the rotation guy. We could do worse.

In the pen - I'm SO GLAD Janssen has been slow to round into form. This has given Santo's some hope he'll open as the closer and he is rising to the challenge. Bravo. It looks like we've two closers - either one looks juicy. Oliver is a 62 year old machine from some other universe, Delebar and Loup are BOTH wonderful multi-role guys. Cecil should beat out Jeffress (and his 6 million dollar arm) and Lincoln (however I did like his movie). This pen has FIVE seriously good arms. I'm excited - good thing my incontinence problem is under control.

A last word - on Emilio Bonifacio. As my dear departed Mother would say, "Dear, oh dear, oh dear - can that man fly!" This guy HAS to be the everyday(ish) 2nd baseman. He will turn out to be the STEAL of that trade. When (if) he gets on base at an over - lets say - 330 OBP, he'll team with Reyes (Boni hitting 9th Reyes batting lead off) - to give us a magical, disruptive, driving pitchers crazy one-two punch on the bases that we will marvel about for decades. Mark my words.

That was exhausting - time a wee dram.

grjas - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#269349) #
A great guy who'd given us yeoman's service for a few years and we crushed him. What did he do? He sucked it up and lived through the worse few months of his career (and possibly his life). I LOVE the guy.

Jeez mylegacy, i was thinking the same thing. And I'm only drinking wine..well maybe the scotch comes later. Frankly, I have somewhat of the same feeling for "he that cannot be named" (hint: he's a DH). Another guy that works his guts out and never complains....despite being painful and frustrating to watch.

May be I am getting too soft brained on my old age, but It would be nice to see these guys succeed in an age where pro athletes shoot their girlfriends in the can, or have their friends feed them to the dogs, print repulsive comments on their face, bang everything that moves, yada yada...

Nonetheless, Ricky's gotta turn it around fast or be Buffalo bound. We all want to win.
greenfrog - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#269350) #
A couple of years ago Romero pitched one of the best games I've ever seen by a Jays' starting pitcher. His stuff was electric and his control/command was superb. He was completely dialled in, hitting his spots seemingly at will (fastball, curveball, changeup, in, out, up, down). A great memory - I hope he can get back to being even 75% of that pitcher.
greenfrog - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#269352) #
Interesting interview with AA on Sportsnet. He said the team has been "active" in looking for more starting pitching depth, namely, someone better than the AAAA pitchers he's added (Germano, Ortiz, Vargas, Bush). He said they'd like to acquire another arm of Happ's calibre, but isn't optimistic, as many teams are in the same boat.
John Northey - Friday, March 22 2013 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#269353) #
Finding quality for the 6th starter is tough, especially on the cheap.  Germano and Bush have shown a bit this spring and might be guys who you can get away with during a short DL stint (2-3 starts) but no more than that most likely.

The best 6th starter would be the kids if they are healthy and producing.  Which kids were invited to camp and how did they do, both in camp and last year?  Generally a kid who shows well in camp is remembered.
Sean Nolin : 2 IP, 5 H 3 ER 1 BB 2 K 1 HR - not a nice spring.  Last year was 10-0 with a 2.04 ERA in A+/AA over 101 1/3 IP with a 27-108 BB-SO ratio.  A strong spring would've pushed him to the top of the prospect list, which he can still reach with a strong first half be it in AA or AAA (probably AA).  The Jays obviously thought highly of him as he faced a 9.2 quality lineup (closer to ML - 10 than AAA quality - 8)

John Stilson : 2 IP 1 H 0 R 1 BB 0 SO - solid but a K would've been nice.  3.88 ERA in his first pro season 104 1/3 IP between A+/AA 42 BB 91 SO.  Along with Nolin on the short list.  Needs a strong first half to be called up - very strong.

Chad Jenkins : forget he is just 24 - 1 IP 0 BB 2 SO 1 R.  4.50 ERA in majors last year over 32 IP 11-16 BB-SO.  In AA he had 20 starts 31-57 BB-SO ratio.  Well down the list I suspect.

And that is it for starting pitchers under 25 in camp.  A bit surprised as I thought more prospects would've been kicking around just for the experience.  There are many others of course who will be looked at - Deck McGuire for example - while some kids could shoot through the system if they go nuts (Aaron Sanchez for example).  Right now though Stilson and Nolin are the ones who the Jays would be looking closest at I suspect given their invites to camp.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 05:12 AM EDT (#269354) #
AA specifically mentioned Nolin in the interview, saying that he (AA) has learned not to count on contributions from starting pitching prospects. In summary, it sounds as though his thinking is as follows:

- The Jays could use more starting pitching depth. The organization now has lots of AAAA pitchers for emergency depth; what it needs is more *quality* depth (someone like Happ)

- The Jays are not counting on contributions from other minor-league SPs in the organization (e.g., Nolin)

- Accordingly, AA has been actively working the phones in an effort to find another Happ-like arm. However, he isn't optimistic about landing one, given supply and demand

I'm sure AA would love to add someone like Porcello, but I'm not sure he has the pieces to trade for him. Dombrowski's asking price is no doubt very high.
China fan - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 07:31 AM EDT (#269355) #
Just to update the numbers for J. A. Happ:
He has now pitched 19 innings this spring, with only 3 walks.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#269356) #
Yes, but please keep in mind Happ pitched to more minor leaguers than major leaguers. Baring a recovery by Romero, Happ's 5th Starter now.
China fan - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#269357) #
Major leaguers might have a slightly better eye at the plate than minor-leaguers, but throwing strikes is a talent that doesn't depend too much on the quality of the opponent. Happ is throwing strikes.

On another front: Janssen is fully recovered from injury and has been declared the closer. I really like the top 5 pitchers in the Jays bullpen: Janssen, Santos, Oliver, Delabar and Loup. That's a top-5 that could rival any bullpen in the league. Rogers and Cecil make a pretty good 6 and 7 too.

And now Anthopoulos may have found a creative way to keep Jeffress on the major-league team for a while, although it's going to infuriate a few Bauxites. He is talking about the possibility of having Lawrie on the DL to start the season, and going with an 8-man bullpen for the opening few games, until Lawrie is ready. Now I'll duck, because the brickbats are going to be flying when some Bauxites hear about the possibility of an 8-man bullpen yet again....
92-93 - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#269358) #
An 8 man bullpen coming out of spring training when your AAA team is less than a 2 hour drive away. Might as well just handcuff Gibby before the game.
China fan - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#269359) #
As long as we're treading into controversial waters today, here's one more provocative idea that will drive some people crazy: is it possible that McGowan could become the 6th starter? He seems to be recovering well, and Anthopoulos keeps repeating that McGowan has the best stuff on the team. (He repeated it again yesterday.) He'll probably need a couple weeks of minor-league rehab in April, if not longer, but if Romero continues to struggle, McGowan might deserve a chance at a start or two. Who else is there? Jenkins, Bush, Germano, Nolin, McGuire? Not a lot of appetizing options there, at least for now.
92-93 - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#269360) #
There's really no such thing as a 6th starter, but sure, McGowan could pitch his way into being the first option for a recall. Don't hold your breath.

AA also keeps on repeating that he wants a Villanueva-type arm in the bullpen, so if Dusty can pitch he'd be an option for the 7th RP.
bpoz - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#269361) #
I guess rosters for our minor league teams should be announced by what... late this week?

I just read an article written in Aug 2012 in which Tom Signore said that Jenkins & McGuire were ready for the Majors. He was thinking Sept call up.
He may have those 2 plus Nolin & Stilson in his rotation come Opening day. I like K Gray, I think that is his name of the NH media. After 50IP, 8 starts or so we should have an idea how these 4 are doing.

It is supposed to be a big jump from A+ to AA, so Nolin has to deal with that the most.
I am not sure what to conclude about AA to AAA.
I also firmly believe somewhat that the move to the majors is also a big challenge. A better word eludes me at the moment.
Moving backwards is also a move that can be hard to understand for me regarding results. Jenkins & Loup pitched well enough in AA to get some ML work and they seemed to do as well if not slightly better. Probably something to do with being unknown to the league. IMO the Major league hitters will eventually figure them out. We will see.

J Chavez is a good example of a guy that was OK for the first few innings but got figured out in the 4th-5th inning. He is now on the Oakland 40 man roster. He may be OK, depending on how he is used.
Chuck - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#269362) #
Pat Tabler: "Reed Johnson made the rounds in the Blue Jays clubhouse to visit his old teammates."

Any guesses on the number of players still around from those days (2007)? Three. Janssen, Lind and McGowan. And I guess you can throw in Gibbons.

I'm not mocking Tabler (at least not this time). Just pointing out how quickly and thoroughly rosters get turned over in pro sports.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#269363) #
If Romero is in the rotation and there is an 8 man pen with Jeffress (while Happ is in Buffalo) at the outset of the season, the GM would be sending a message to the players that winning now was not as important as previously thought.
John Northey - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#269364) #
Well, it depends.  Early on is the time starters would be most likely to get knocked out quickly I'd think thus some value to extra relievers.  Romero would have a lot of support in the clubhouse from players who've been around awhile and knowing he is a past all-star would give him a lot of strength with the new guys too.  While those of us who have never personally known any of the players can easily say 'send him down' there are clubhouse concerns that exist and to ignore those could be a big error (see the Jimy Williams era for extreme examples).
greenfrog - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#269365) #
Buck Martinez and Tabby interviewed Pete Walker during today's telecast. Although Walker didn't give a clear indication one way or the other, he seemed to imply that if Romero might not break with the team if he continues to struggle. The Jays' priority is getting Romero right and there is apparently a mechanical fix that everyone (including Romero) recognizes he needs to assimilate.

Walker said this might take another start or two, a couple of weeks, or longer. My impression was that that "longer" meant that he could spend some time in the minors to start the season. Given the persistence and severity of Romero's woes, I see this as a probable (not certain) outcome.

I don't see the Jays using him as a reliever, and given AA's MO, I don't think clubhouse politics will be a factor in deciding where Romero will be pitching in early April.
jgadfly - Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 10:31 PM EDT (#269366) #

Gerry ... Are you meeting Doug Davis this spring ?   If you are could you please inquire about the rehire of Mike Barnett as Minor League hitting co-ordinator ?  Are the Jays changing their hitting approach/philosophy ?  2012 was a disaster as far as the young hitting prospects were concerned.  Numerous prospects regressed and if they had made the equivalent advances as their pitching cohorts then the overview of the system would have been much more positive . Even with all of the offseason trades involving the prospects the lower level hitting talents will still be battling for playing time while there will be very few "in system" prospects above High A with Gose, Sierra, Jiminez & Pillar being the exceptions . Lansing again should be young and clogged with talent . Also, any news of the Taylor kid from Texas and an official word/update about Alford's status ?

Richard S.S. - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 01:41 AM EDT (#269367) #
I have read several stories that all state A.A. is searching for more "name" pitching for AAA like J.A. Happ and not having much success. I suppose you could get someone good if you paid him enough to be in AAA. I'm just wondering who's available, that's good enough to go after?
TamRa - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 06:01 AM EDT (#269368) #
speaking I guess more with my heart that the skepticism in my head...but there's a part of me that's thinking that IF Romero is in Buffalo with no resolution in sight, and Happ is in the majors with no obvious #6 if something happens...

That the Blue Jays ought be grooming Dustin McGowan as a starter for as long as he holds together. I can see Happ getting five starts andif he's doingwell, fine, if he's not and Romero is smoothed out, fine...but if neither are what they want and Dusty is still going strong on May 1...

I'm up for some more storybook magic!

TamRa - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 06:11 AM EDT (#269369) #
Now I'll duck, because the brickbats are going to be flying when some Bauxites hear about the possibility of an 8-man bullpen yet again....

I would suggest the usual arguments against it woldn't apply in this situation in that

a. it's for a very defined short duration
:b it's "out ofthe gate" as opposed to mid-season when you would presumably beless likelyto make certain substitutions anyway
c. it is done with the realization that you might get Jefress through waivers on April 5orwhenever, where you wouldn't have on March 30

We'd really be straining for things to grip about if we spent more than a passing thought on unhappiness over a few days with an 8 man pen.

jerjapan - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#269370) #
If Romero is in the rotation and there is an 8 man pen with Jeffress (while Happ is in Buffalo) at the outset of the season, the GM would be sending a message to the players that winning now was not as important as previously thought.

Do players actually dislike the 8 man bullpen?  Do they spend much time thinking about it at all?  Are they ready to see a quality teammate like Romero face the ultimate humiliation?   Based on the progress the team has made in the past few years, I would assume most of the players trust in AA and the rest of our management team.  I can imagine all sorts of scenarios where an individual pitcher would prefer to have a 3rd lefty option in the pen, for example.

Additionally, my assumption would be that most of the players want Romero in the rotation, and have faith in his abilities to bounce back. 

IMO, this is the sort of meme where the difference in opinions between Bauxites and players is pretty wide. 
greenfrog - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#269372) #
An eight-man bullpen could be useful in helping the Jays' avoid bullpen burnout later in the season. I could see Gibbons wanting to bring at least three relievers along slowly in the early going: Janssen and Santos (for rehabilitative reasons) and Oliver (because the guy's 42).

There is also the issue of opportunity cost. If the eighth reliever is displacing, say, Mike McCoy, then having eight relievers for a week or two might not be such a big deal.
Mike Green - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#269374) #
With a short bench, it would be much more likely that Lind gets an everyday job.  This is an avoidable situation driven by a perceived need to protect future upside (Jeffress), and would be understandable if the club was in a different phase of the competitive cycle.
China fan - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#269375) #
"....An eight-man bullpen could be useful in helping the Jays' avoid bullpen burnout later in the season. I could see Gibbons wanting to bring at least three relievers along slowly in the early going: Janssen and Santos (for rehabilitative reasons) and Oliver (because the guy's 42)...."

Excellent point, and I fully agree.
China fan - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#269376) #
"...the Blue Jays ought be grooming Dustin McGowan as a starter for as long as he holds together..."

I must retract my earlier support for this idea, because I subsequently saw comments from Jays officials saying that McGowan's health is more likely to allow him to be in the bullpen, rather than the rotation. Too bad, because it leaves the Jays short of depth if Happ is in the rotation and Romero is in the minors or Dunedin on a rehab assignment. This must explain why Anthopoulos is shopping for pitching again.
China fan - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#269377) #
"....With a short bench, it would be much more likely that Lind gets an everyday job...."

As long as Davis and Bonifacio are on the roster, I don't see this as a serious problem. (Unless we were keen to see Lind platooned with DeRosa or Izturis.)

And since Lind is the DH this year (rather than 1B), it's easy to rotate a Bautista or Reyes into the DH spot occasionally to give them a break in the field. There's really no shortage of DH candidates to deploy against LHP to avoid using Lind in those situations.

And don't forget that Gibbons has specifically raised the possibility of using Lind on a full-time basis for the first couple weeks of the season. That could coincide with the short-bench 8-man-bullpen period, so there's really no major issue there.
MatO - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#269378) #
Don't forget the added cost of reinforcing the bullpen scaffolding in left field to suppport all those relievers.
92-93 - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#269379) #
The major issue is using Lind on a full-time basis.
Ryan C - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#269380) #
AA was on the radio with Wilner for a brief period around 1pm today.  One thing perhaps of note AA mentioned is that in the team's view (or at least what they want the public perception to be) Happ is not in a competition for a rotation spot.  They have their five starters and have always planned that these will be the five starters they break camp with regardless of what happens in Spring training.  Happ is still in competition for a spot on the team, in the bullpen, but the rotation is locked in and has been since before spring training started.  I imagine Romero will be on a pretty short leash once the season begins, but AA sounded adamant that he will be breaking camp as their fifth starter.

AA didn't sound too impressed with Jeffress' recent performances, Wilner was pumping him up and AA kind of threw cold water on him saying that Jeffress hasn't pitched well his last couple outings.  Lawrie could start the season on the DL (backdated) so it would likely only be for a few days. 

The idea of starting the season with an 8-man bullpen was mentioned as a possibility, one of the main advantages being that if they keep guys an extra week, it could reduce the chances of another team having room to claim them on waivers.

92-93 - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#269381) #
Maybe 3 bad outings in a row from Jeffress puts a rest to this silly notion that it makes any sense to carry 8 relievers to open the season.

Janssen Santos Delabar Rogers Oliver Cecil Loup with Lincoln in AAA and let's play ball.
TamRa - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#269383) #
With a short bench, it would be much more likely that Lind gets an everyday job.  This is an avoidable situation driven by a perceived need to protect future upside (Jeffress), and would be understandable if the club was in a different phase of the competitive cycle.

For a WEEK? Maybe less?  Wildly over-thinking the issue IMO. Get Jefress (if you really want to keep him in the organization...or get no trade offers you like...a few days past opening day and theodds you can slip him through waivers go up DRAMATICALLY.

and if you have to tax your bench in the first week of the season you have much much bigger problems than how many people sit on it.
TamRa - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#269384) #
Additionally, my assumption would be that most of the players want Romero in the rotation, and have faith in his abilities to bounce back. 

IMO, this is the sort of meme where the difference in opinions between Bauxites and players is pretty wide.

Very much agreed.

greenfrog - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#269385) #
Most of the players might want Lind as the everyday DH. Doesn't mean it's a good idea.
jerjapan - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#269386) #
Greenfrog, I'm not advocating letting the players make managerial decisions.  I was simply disagreeing with the statement that the 8 man pen, and Romero in the rotation, rather than Happ, is sending an organizational  'we aren't valuing winning enough' message to the players. 
greenfrog - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#269387) #
Also, how do we know what the Jays' players think about the Romero situation? Furthermore, why do we assume that they all share the same opinion? Perhaps some think Happ deserves a shot to start the season (with Romero working things out in the minors), while others would prefer Romero. Even among Bauxites, there seems to be a wide range of views about how to proceed.

To argue that all Bauxites think X, while the players themselves likely prefer Y, seems overly simplistic to me. Where is the evidence for this proposition? I haven't heard any quotes from players on the issue.
MatO - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#269388) #

John Stilson pitched the 8th inning of today's game against the Twins.  The Twins' announcer managed to pay enough attention to the game to say that one fastball was at 97.





mathesond - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#269389) #
I read somewhere that there were Porcello-to-San Diego rumours, but that it didn't look like it was going to get done, which would mean the Tigers would send Drew Smyly to the minors. I'd much rather see Smyly on the Jays 25 man roster myself, but have no idea what it would take to get him (after the Marlins trade I sorta hoped AA could flip Buehrle to Detroit for Dirks & Smyly, but figured if I liked it, it wasn't realistic)
China fan - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#269390) #
In other news, the Yankees are on the verge of acquiring Vernon Wells for their battered outfield, according to reports today. He will replace Juan Rivera.

I'll leave it to others to insert their own jokes here.
MatO - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#269391) #
Looks like Vernon Wells has accepted a deal to the Yankees.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#269392) #
This is a Good Move for Vernon Wells, he gets to play.
This is a Great Move for Los Angels, Wells pays for NY.
This is an even better more for us, Wells plays for NY.
New York loses.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#269393) #
Colby Rasmus, 2012 OPS+: 85

Vernon Wells, 2012 OPS+: 91
China fan - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#269394) #
And on an OPS-per-dollar basis it would be.....?
greenfrog - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#269395) #
If the Jays finish with 84-88 wins in 2013, will you find Colby's superior OPS-per-dollar ratio sufficiently consoling?
China fan - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 07:49 PM EDT (#269396) #
Wasn't really trying to argue with you. But still a little curious about your position. Are you saying that the Jays should dump Rasmus and try to replace him with someone similar to Vernon Wells?
John Northey - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#269397) #
Last year Wells was (via FanGraphs) worth $2.5 mil - 0.6 WAR, 1.7 UZR/150, RAR of 5.4
Rasmus was (same source) worth $6.1 million - 1.4 WAR, -0.6 UZR/150, RAR of 13

Two factors pushed Rasmus up - his playing CF vs Wells in LF, and playing time (262 PA Wells, 625 PA Rasmus).  Basically they were worth about the same overall.  Wells no longer is viewed as a CF (-21.3 UZR/150 in 46 CF Innings, double digits below 0 in 4 of the past 5 years and -8.9 the other), Rasmus still is. 

Rasmus is in his age 26 season, Wells his age 34 season. 

Take all of that and basically anyone in baseball would take Rasmus over Wells in a split second.  But Rasmus will get $4.7 mil from the Jays while Wells gets $21 mil from some mix of the Yankees/Angels both this year and next.  I have trouble seeing any way to say that having Wells, even at the same price, would be a good idea.

greenfrog - Sunday, March 24 2013 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#269398) #
No, I would prefer having Rasmus over Wells, based on his age, position and upside (how much upside remains to be seen). I guess I found the knee-jerk mockery of the Yankees a bit annoying, given that Rasmus didn't deliver much more performance in 2012 than did Wells. Apparently the Yankees will be paying about $4-5M per year for Wells's services (based on the rumours), a similar AAV to Rasmus's contract. Of course, he's being paid to be a stopgap / fourth outfielder.

The fact that Rasmus dove for a catchable fly ball today, only to have it clank off the heel of his glove, may have primed me for a semi-grumpy post about him.
John Northey - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 12:12 AM EDT (#269399) #
I was a fan of Rasmus at first but am souring on him as time goes by.  After Gose has slumped in late spring (as ML rosters are taking shape) I suspect he does need more AAA time but the minute AA feels he is ready I won't shed any tears over Rasmus going elsewhere.  He is a lot like Travis Snider in the respect of having tons of talent but being unable to put it together.  Speaking of whom, Snider is hitting 289/348/421 vs 8.6 quality (just over AAA quality pitchers) with 12 K in 46 PA (157 per 600 PA).  Seems the current view is Snider will be in a platoon this year.
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 05:52 AM EDT (#269400) #
Be thankful we've got Colby Rasmus, given the Free Agent / Trade market costs the last few years. Many were moaning and groaning about Rajai Davis taking over as CF. Having Rasmus lets Anthony Gose develop enough in the Minors to survive up here effectively, which he's not yet there. One thing to ask, who's Gose's heir? The reason I ask is that person also needs this year or more to develop. Rasmus is still relatively cheap, above-average defensively and needs to stay healthy. He's still under contract for two years so let's not rush/stampede things. I, for one, would like to see what he can do this when he no longer must be the man.
China fan - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#269401) #
Gibbons today confirmed that Lawrie will open the season on the DL, and an 8-man bullpen is likely to begin the season.

Lincoln and Thole were sent to minor league camp; JPA will be opening-day catcher, with Blanco as his back-up.

So the final bullpen spots go to Cecil and either Jeffress or Happ. Looking at all the hints so far, with Anthopoulos recently insisting that Romero is "one of our five" in the rotation, I'd guess that Happ could get the final bullpen spot, ready to step in if Romero falters. Tandem starters, anyone??

Alternatively, of course, the Jays could keep Jeffress and try to slip him through waivers in the 2nd or 3rd week of the season. It depends on whether the Jays really like him or not. On the evidence of his recent showings, he looks like he might be okay for a batter or two, but nothing longer.
bpoz - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#269402) #
Richard, this is an interesting concept you have me wondering about.


I think we all have some kind of concept/definition in our minds. Whatever it is...leader...carries the team on his shoulders, etc...

J Guzman was to me, way back when but not Steib. Steib seemed to be a loner but great pitcher & competitor. Definitely Winfield , Carter and many others.

Recently Halladay, worked hard and was respected by his team mates.

Rickey Romero, maybe, because he cares so much and shows it. But last years results disqualifies him.

I have a feeling that J Reyes could be the man for us, talent, hustle & never give up.
Jonny German - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#269403) #
"JPA will be opening-day catcher, with Blanco as his back-up."

To be clear, do you mean to say that Arencibia will be catching Dickey on opening day? This was a small point of contention earlier, with JPA wanting the assignment despite the fact that catching Dickey is Blanco's raison d'etre.
Mike Green - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#269404) #
Lawrie is eligible to come off the DL on April 6, correct?  That's the fifth game of the season, aka Romero's first start, if things proceed as they appear to be doing.  Perhaps the club will move him up a day so that he has the full protection of the 8 man pen!
China fan - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#269405) #
Jonny, here's a tweet from Shi Davidi which explains why the Jays abandoned their earlier plan to have Blanco as the "personal catcher" for Dickey:

JPA to catch opening day. He and Blanco will share duties with Dickey. #Bluejays impressed by JPA's work with Dickey at WBC.
greenfrog - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#269406) #
Perhaps also because Arencibia has been swinging the bat well: 448/484/759 in spring training. Not that ST stats mean anything, but it can be hard not to be swayed.
Gerry - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#269407) #
If one catcher is better offensively than the other it can be difficult to maintain a personal catcher for one pitcher.  Lets say Blanco was made Dickey's personal catcher.  That takes JPA down to 129 starts.  Now lets consider all those day games after night games where the catcher normally gets a rest.  There are probably 30 or so day games after night games.  If they happen equally when each pitcher is pitching, that would be 18 day game/night game combos where Dickey would not be pitching either the day game or the night game.  That takes JPA down to 111 starts.  Add in a couple of days when JPA gets banged up and you are looking at 105 games.  Offensively that is less than ideal assuming JPA hits better than Blanco. 
Ryan Day - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#269408) #
Regardless of his actual skill as a catcher - and the organization likes him more than some of us - Arencibia does seem to be a hard worker, and appears to be liked & respected by his teammates for it. He worked with Dickey during the offseason to try and get the hang of the knuckleball, and put in a lot of work during spring training. It's important for an organization to reward that behaviour, and at least give Arencibia the chance to prove he can't handle Dickey.

Besides, having a 100%-personal catcher has its drawbacks - if Blanco gets hurt, having Arencibia come in to catch Dickey without any experience could get ugly.

That said, I'd still expect Blanco to catch a solid majority of Dickey's starts.
Magpie - Monday, March 25 2013 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#269424) #
That takes JPA down to 111 starts.

Which seems pretty normal. Only a handful of the 30 teams have a catcher who starts 100 games - just four such teams last year, just seven teams the year before. There were only three guys who started 111 games behind the plate in 2012 (Wieters 132, Pierzynski 121, Martin 116.)
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