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And so the last week of spring training begins.  This week includes a trip to Montreal before the team reverses direction and returns to Tampa to face the Rays one week from today.  Things are looking better today than they did a week or two ago.  Back then it looked like no-one wanted to be the fifth starter, now we have a competition.  But first the news.  Anthony Gose, Mike Nickeas, Chris Getz and Steve Tolleson were all sent down today.  It will be interesting to see how Gose reacts to his demotion, he was unhappy last year to be sent down.  Gose improved his hitting as spring training progressed and finishes with a 250 average.  He needs to show some hitting skills in AAA.  In other news Munenori Kawasaki will not be part of the team but he remains in camp.  I assume that if he can catch on with a major league team the Jays will let him go.  Finally Jose Reyes is going for an MRI on his hamstring.  The Jays say it is just to confirm that nothing major is wrong but it doesn't sound good.

A week ago it looked like no-one wanted the fifth starters job.  but over last week Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond and Dustin McGowan all pitched well.  The only contender who didn't pitch well was JA Happ who the Jays want to be the fifth starter.  Even Jeremy Jeffress pitched well in one appearance.  If the Jays are to clear out some bodies from their bullpen jam through a trade, it will happen this week too. 

The offense has been hitting well.  The first seven hitters in the expected lineup are ready for the season to start.  Colby Rasmus has not hit top gear yet but he missed time with a sore neck.  And Ryan Goins, today named as the starting second baseman, is hitting .176 with a 452 OPS.

The battle for backup catcher is close.  Thole has been hitting better this year than last but is still way behind Kratz.  Dickey prefers Thole but will the Jays choose defense or offense?  At second base they chose defense, for catcher who knows?

Matt Tuiasosopo is in camp and playing today.  If the Jays get down to seven relievers at some point who will the fourth bench player be?  A catcher, Sierra and Izturis take the first three spots.  That leaves either the third catcher or Tuiasosopo as the fourth.  It looks like it might be Tui's job to lose.

Spring Training, The End Is Near | 103 comments | Create New Account
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uglyone - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#283636) #
I'm glad gose was sent down. I thought they might keep him up as his play picked up this spring, but the kid needs a solid year in AAA after a pretty disastrous year last year. I haven't given up on him yet, as last year was really the first dissappointing year for him imo, but he needs to show more this year.

I thought getz was challenging for that 2b spot, but none of the challengers looked very good, unsurprisingly. I still don't this goins experiment will work, but if the rest of the lineup keeps hitting like they've been hitting this spring then maybe they can get by with one sinkhole in the lineup...as long as he's giving us plus plus D. Still don't like it, though.

Can't see how they don't keep Kratz on the bench.

Big test for mcgowan tommorow in a minor league game - if he pitches well on 65pitches, and doesn't feel any pain, i think he wins the #5 spot outright. And it sure would be encouraging to see morrow pitch well today.

And i don't like the sound of this reyes situation. A kawasaki-goins infield for any extensive time would be less than good.

John Northey - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#283637) #
Yeah, the Reyes hamstring does not make anyone happy I'm sure. Kawasaki is obviously here until they know Reyes can play everyday.  The odds of a 7 man pen and Kawasaki getting the extra bench slot jumped with this hamstring bit as I suspect the Jays would prefer to leave Goins at 2B everyday rather than flip flop him around unless they get another 2B in trade...cannot imagine they are insane enough to put Izturis there on a regular basis.
Gerry - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#283638) #
Gibbons did say that if Reyes is injured Goins will move to short with Izturis at second.
John Northey - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#283639) #
Oh god no.  What a mess that could be.  Izturis last year really played himself out of a role in the major leagues and if he didn't have a 3 year deal he'd be gone. To let him play everyday again before he shows anything of value (his spring has been meh at best - 276/300/276 with 1 walk and 0 K's and 8 singles) would be insanity.  Steve Tolleson has hit well in spring, can play anywhere on the diamond (even SS) and is projected by Oliver to be a 1.3 WAR player if he played everyday vs Izturis 0.7.  I just don't see why any sane person would keep Izturis on this team unless his defense has suddenly skyrocketed this spring (extremely doubtful). Yeah, it sucks to have to eat 2 years of a 3 year deal but that is a sunk cost and to lose games due to him is crazy. 
Parker - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#283640) #
The same reason Happ is still on the team... he's owed a bunch of money and he's had success in the past.
Mike Green - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#283641) #
Did Gibbons mean that if Reyes is injured, Goins will play short, Izturis will play second and there will be no backup middle infielder on the club?  I would be very surprised if that were so.  If he means that on opening day when the Jays face David Price, the lineup will feature Goins at short and Izturis at second if Reyes cannot play, that makes some sense.  Notwithstanding Izturis' terrible season in 2013, there is reason to believe that he'd be as good or better as anybody facing a LHP and playing second base.

I would hope that if Reyes were injured, the club would have Kawasaki on the 25 man and platoon him with Izturis until Reyes is ready. 

Chuck - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#283642) #
Some dude's NCAA brackets.

Can the season just start already (the Northern Hemisphere portion of the schedule, that is)?

uglyone - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#283644) #
Sounds like morrow had his velo up to normal and went 75 pitches, so there doesn't seem to be any real health concern at this point.

His line was sullied mostly by the 3bb. Otherwise he only gave up mostly rinkadink singles, while K'ing 4 thru 5. Most of his problems came while pitching out of the stretch, surprise surprise.

So basically he looks on track to be the same old morrow to start the year, and healthy for now.

Janssen also threw an inning, though apparently his velo wasn't there.

John Northey - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#283646) #
As a safety precaution they should have Kawasaki or someone who can play SS other than Goins on the team while Reyes has a wonky leg.  Now, there is still a week until opening day so he could be near 100% for then and with a day off every week no matter what it might be OK, but at this point they have to be worried. A short bench is fine when all are healthy, not so good if they aren't.  Really not good when one of the 3 bench guys showed extremely poor defense and offense the previous season.
greenfrog - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#283650) #
My view this off-season was that the Jays needed a backup SS (someone like Brendan Ryan). I also suggested that Drew could be useful as the team's starting second baseman and backup SS and 3B.

We'll see how it all works out. The fact that Reyes's hamstring is acting up in the warm climes (and soft grass) of Florida doesn't bode all that well for the transition to concrete, early-spring weather, and everyday (nine-inning) play.
Chuck - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#283651) #
From age 22 to 25, Reyes was a healthy, every day player. In the ensuing 5 years, he has been a healthy, every day player just once.

What do you reckon the over/under is on his games played this season? 130?
greenfrog - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#283652) #
The Rangers have really been hammered by injuries in the early going. Holland, Profar and Soto are all going to miss significant time. That's just off the top of my head - not sure if any others have gone down as well.

Looks like Arencibia could get a chance to bring his brand of baseball to the Rangers over the next couple of months. Should be interesting.
Four Seamer - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#283653) #

What do you reckon the over/under is on his games played this season? 130?

I'll take the under on that one. 

krose - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#283654) #
Signing Drew just makes sense! With the injury history of Reyes and the black hole at second, there just doesn't seem to be a good reason to not bring Mr. Drew on board. Unless....
greenfrog - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 07:31 PM EDT (#283656) #
Interestingly, Jason Parks just called Myles Jaye (remember him?) a very good prospect and a potential 3/4 starter or quality late-innings reliever. The Jays certainly have traded away a fair bit of interesting prospect talent over the last couple of years:

Gomes
Syndergaard
d'Arnaud
Becerra
Alvarez
Marisnick
Nicolino
Desclafani
Hechavarria (plus Escobar - not a prospect, but still...)
Jaye
Wojciechowski

I'm sure I'm missing a couple of semi-interesting players.

Probably only two or three of these players will end up being really good, but that's quite a bit of quality (and cheap) prospect talent.
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#283657) #
For the Record:
On a Blue Jays Talk podcast, Mike Wilner said that R.A. Dickey had no preference to who catches him.

That being said, I fully expect Kratz to make the Team. He's done well catching Dickey. Taking good defense is fine,but IF you can also add offense without losing defense, do it.
PeterG - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#283658) #
Reyes MRI show mild strain....day to day......according to Barry Davis tweet.

On another subject, am coming to TO late May for a weekend series.......

How is the view at RC from upper deck behind home plate?  Lower deck seats seem to be unavailable unless in of......any other recs?

Mike Green - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#283660) #
There is a certain logic about letting Reyes DH against lefties (at least in the RC), and giving him periodic days off in the RC.  If he plays 55 games in the field and  DHs 15-20 games at home, you might get 70-75 games from him in the field on the road.  If you did that another right-handed middle infielder would be handy.  It doesn't look like the club is thinking that way. 
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#283661) #
With a possible Jose Reyes injury rearing it's head, A.A. should be thinking about a top quality S.S. to be backup. Reyes isn't getting any younger or any healthier from this point on. Who that will be?

If Goins is to be the Starting 2B and primary S.S. Backup, then we need a better backup 2B than Izturis.

J.A. Happ is either a terrible disaster of a Starting Pitcher or he needs a D.L. stint because he's too good a Starting Pitcher to be pitching this bad without being hurt.
92-93 - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#283662) #
The view of the game from behind home in 500 is, in my opinion, far superior to the view from outfield 100s. Save the $ for a few extra pops upstairs.
uglyone - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#283664) #
Greenfrog - i still say syndergaard is the only one of those guys we'll really regret giving up.
92-93 - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 08:39 PM EDT (#283665) #
I hope they regret giving up Henderson Alvarez already. He's a good arm to have around.
greenfrog - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#283666) #
Without the trades mentioned above (excluding the Rasmus trade), the Jays might be looking at a 2015 rotation of:

Syndergaard
Sanchez
Hutchison
Morrow
Alvarez
Stroman

The collective salary of that group would be ridiculously low. Depth starters would include Nolin, Nicolino, Woj, Desclafani, plus all the good young Jays pitching prospects (Tirado, Osuna, Norris, et al.).

They would also have d'Arnaud and Gomes behind the plate, and Escobar (Hechavarria backup) at SS. All of whom would also be very cheap, leaving tons of salary space for a few useful FAs, Red Sox/Cards-style.

You can see the logic behind AA's moves, but you can also see a very different and potentially fruitful path not taken. If you're the glass-half-full type, you could view this as an indication that the Jays have done a solid job under AA of getting quality pitching prospects into the system.
Mike Green - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#283667) #
Marisnick has had a hot spring, and might turn out to be a very fine player.

The point of the trades was to make an effort to win in 2013 and 2014.   The theory was that there was better value in the trade market than in the free agent market, i.e. that prospects were in general overvalued.  We'll see how the theory works out in practice in 6-8 years, after Syndergaard, d'Arnaud, Marisnick, Nicolino and Alvarez have passed through their pre-free agency years.

Newton - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#283668) #
Where is the evidence from this offseason that they are attempting to win in 2014?

Goins nowhere.
whiterasta80 - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#283669) #
I agree that the view from 500 behind the plate is actually quite good. When you factor in value its probably my favourite spot to watch a game at the dome.

Regarding the trades: we might have all of those young, cheap (and unproven) players but we'd also be averaging about 18,000 fans per game and having. You have to take these chances from time to time for your fan base (this fan base in particular) to respect you. I have no problem with any of the deals based on what we knew at the time.

What has consistently puzzled me has been the follow-up. First they paid a high price for JA Happ, then they don't immediately insert him into the rotation. This offseason has been even more confusing. How can you just leave the team as is?
greenfrog - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#283670) #
Yes, Marisnick should be counted too. And Gomes, even though that was a different sort of trade.

It's also worth noting that some of the players traded by the Jays have done better than was perhaps expected (Syndergaard, Alvarez, Gomes, Escobar), making the trades look worse in retrospect than they did at the time. On the other hand, some of the other prospects (Nicolino, d'Arnaud) have stalled a bit.

I'm hopeful that this off-season's relative inactivity was mainly a reflection of AA's realization that trading top-shelf prospects probably isn't the way to go for a franchise like Toronto and that throwing good money/prospects after bad didn't make sense.

By contrast, Boston quickly adapted to the new paradigm created by the new CBA: they stopped trading elite prospects; they dumped their bad contracts on the new rich kid in town (LAD), nabbing a couple of prospects in the bargain; they hoarded their draft picks; they stopped signing free agents to long contracts, opting instead for lower-risk mid-tier FAs; they upgraded their coaching staff; and they identified some useful bargain bin players (Carp, Sizemore) and less-heralded but useful role players (Nava). And their player development system seems to be in good working order.
greenfrog - Monday, March 24 2014 @ 11:00 PM EDT (#283672) #
Obviously Boston isn't a completely fair comparison, as it's an attractive destination for free agents and other personnel. But I love the way they've decided to have their cake and eat it too (prospects, development, coaching, fiscal responsibility, free agents, bargain signings, prudent extensions). The Jays, on the other hand, in order to assemble its current roster, had to pile up quality prospects and then deal a bunch of them, in part in order to take on another team's pricey FA signings (Buehrle, Reyes).

Last off-season's moves were a creative effort by AA, but right now Boston's more disciplined approach seems to be paying greater dividends.
Chuck - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 12:44 AM EDT (#283673) #
Mike "Cuttlefish" Moffatt is one obsessive ex-Bauxite. I recently linked to a London Free Press article in which he was trying to decipher a piece of cryptography (or perhaps random art) that he found in the Western University stacks. Another 10-15 have shown up since and Mr. Moffatt is finding himself at wit's end. He was on CBC's As It Happens tonight discussing the matter.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 07:04 AM EDT (#283674) #
Without the trades the rotation this year would be...
Morrow
Alvarez
Hutchison
McGowan
Redmond

Our catching would be in better shape (assuming they game Gomes a shot and d'Arnaud stays healthy), Escobar/Hechavarria at SS/2B with Goins backup and Marisnick fighting with Sierra for the backup OF slot.  No one would think the Jays have a prayer of the playoffs as the rotation would be all question marks (Alvarez & Morrow & Hutchisons recovering from injury, waiting for McGowan to go down). 
Thomas - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#283675) #

No one would think the Jays have a prayer of the playoffs

And the difference from the status quo is.....?

I kid, I kid.....

smcs - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#283676) #
Is it just me, or has Sportsnet been doing significantly less advertising for this team, especially compared to the last two years? I haven't been hit over the head with commercials like the one with the Metric song last year or the "Coming Home" one the year before.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#283677) #
Don't watch sports other than baseball very often (3 daughters so our TV is stuck on ABC Spark most of the time) so haven't noticed.  If the Jays want teen girls to come then shirtless Blue Jays in ads on Teen Wolf, Vampire Diaries, and the like is how to get them based on my observations. Maybe do a Hunger Games spoof using baseball players, or one turning into a werewolf and attacking the opposing pitcher with Gibbons in the dugout shaking his head and saying "that isn't what I meant when I said to attack the other team".
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#283678) #
Without the trades the rotation this year would be...
Morrow
Alvarez
Hutchison
McGowan
Redmond

Alternate universe discussions are always a bit dicey, but one would guess that with an extra $40 million per annum (or so) available in the budget, they might have been able to afford Ubaldo or perhaps even Tanaka, along with Mark Freaking Ellis.  Nevermind.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#283679) #
My Cardinal envy knows few bounds.  If I were a manager and an opposing baserunner described a collision with my 5'9" second baseman as like "running into a truck", I would have the widest possible internal smile.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#283680) #
Without the trades the $40+ mil per year would probably just be in Rogers pockets as last year would not have seen the bump in attendance and TV viewers...in fact might have dropped instead.  No way the Jays with AA running them would ever agree to a Tanaka type deal (tons of risk, only get rewards if he pitches well in all but his escape clause year).  Would the Jays have overpaid to get other free agents in? Doubtful as that doesn't seem to be AA's method - outside of the Miami trade he really hasn't taken on big contracts and only signs ones over $10 mil where the team has massive leverage (Dickey wanting security and had a price in his head already that was publicly known, Morrow a good distance from free agency) or the deal looks like a potential steal but has some risk (Bautista, Encarnacion).  Reyes & Buehrle came with big deals and I still wonder if there wasn't pressure from somewhere on AA to make a splash last winter.

It'll be interesting to see what happens this year.  If the Jays win 90+ and are in playoff contention in the final week of the season then all is good, although many will complain that he didn't sign player xyz this past winter (depending on who has a bad year here and who has a good year elsewhere).

Mike Green - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#283681) #
I don't understand, John.  Rogers was willing to spend $40 million to acquire players by trade but not to acquire players through free agency.  That doesn't seem likely.  If you are saying that it had to be spent in the 2012-13 off-season, there was Anibal Sanchez available then instead of Ubaldo.  He had put up 4.2, 3.7 and 3.6 WAR seasons prior to last year's even better year...I like Mark Buehrle, but Sanchez was a good bet to be better value than Buehrle.

Anthopoulos said at the time that there was better value in the trade market than the free agent market.  Like I said, that opinion wasn't clearly right at the time and isn't looking particularly good right now.

Anyways, I'd rather focus on the actual situation rather than the alternate universe.  It's March, after all.

John Northey - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#283682) #
Agreed on focusing on what is rather than what might be. We have no idea what the Jays would've done with cash. I was more going on how AA said he had parameters for each player and didn't feel value for the dollar was there and how outside of Buehrle and Reyes every other guy seems to have been signed with an eye towards value for the dollar (ie: if he performs then the deal is a steal, if not then it is a Romero).

Right now the Jays have one obvious weakness, second base, another variable in the rotation (Hutchison might be good, McGowan & Morrow might be healthy but few will bet on all 3) and what I see as a big question mark that few have talked about is LF. 

Cabrera had a terrible year last year (88 OPS+) but this spring seems healthy (Gibbons even talking of using him in CF now and then) and is hitting 429/441/589 in 59 PA.  Is that a spring illusion or might he be in his PED mode without PED's?  If he flops we have to pray that at least one of Gose/Pillar/Sierra is ready and that the Jays guess right on which. I suspect Gose would come up and platoon with Sierra in LF while we get stuck with Lind full-time at DH (can't imagine Izturis would get to face LHP instead as last year he hit 606 OPS vs Lind's 573...geez did Izturis suck last year).  Maybe they'd go down to a 7 man pen and call up Pillar too (Pillar/Gose in LF, Sierra at DH with Lind) .  No matter how you cut it things would be ugly unless a nice surprise happened with one of the 3 kids.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#283683) #
At the end of the day the decisions this offseason have just left us with very little margin for error. If we had a Drew in the lineup then this Reyes injury (or the inevitable Lawrie injury) wouldn't be so pressing. If we had another starter (even a Maholm/Capuano) then we wouldn't be hoping that multiple prospects take a big leap in development and if we had a DH who could hit lefties we wouldn't be talking about needing to make roster decisions on both which positions someone can cover and which way they hit.

The funny thing is that we still could solve a few of these problems with a Stephen Drew or a Morales. On the pitching side that ship has largely sailed, although Scott Baker just hit the market again what what its worth.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#283684) #
I still don't mind not adding any of the mediocre FA SP. I like our in house options.

But the Drew option is a bit upsetting. He's an unarguable significant upgrade in the one slot that its clear we have no potential to even get average production from. Literally every other roster slot i can see at least average production from without needing much luck. 2B we will be lucky to even get replacement production, let alone average.

Now i'll give some leeway because of who his agent is, and the fact that he still wants to play ss - but if he ends up somewhere else for cheap it'll be pretty annoying.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#283685) #
I also think people are forgetting what a good prospect hutch is.

Here's a comparison to another prospect we're all familiar with (not including hutch's rehab stints last year):

AA

Hutchison (20-21): 31.2ip, 9.4k/9, 1.4bb/9, 1.71era, 2.19fip
Syndergaard (20-20): 54.0ip, 11.5k/9, 2.0bb/9, 3.00era, 3.24fip

A+

Hutchison (20-20): 62.1ip, 9.5k/9, 2.0bb/9, 2.74era, 2.57fip
Syndergaard (20-20): 63.2ip, 9.0k/9, 2.3bb/9, 3.11era, 2.60fip

A

Hutchison (19-20): 95.2ip, 9.7k/9, 2.4bb/9, 2.34era, 2.29fip
Syndergaard (18-19): 112.2ip, 10.5k/9, 2.5bb/9, 2.64era, 2.19fip


The kid is really good.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#283686) #
The Jays have signed Shawn Hill, again.  I am not sure if it is to cover for an injury or not.  It looks like the AAA rotation is full, maybe he is headed to AA.
Chuck - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#283687) #
Those crazy CanCon requirements.
Lylemcr - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#283688) #
Bedard and Baker were released today.  I have always been a Baker fan....
uglyone - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#283689) #
Happ is getting absolutely destroyed again today, while duaty is dominating his minor league start.

Don't even think the jays have a choice any more.
ogator - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#283690) #
Can someone translate the previous post and explain how one would know what someone is doing in a minor league start as it is happening?
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#283691) #
How many pitches has McGowan thrown in the minor league game?

I understand that the plan is to give him 70 pitches (or close to it) today and (all going well) for him to throw 85 pitches (or close to it) in his last start.  I also understand that he has expressed some skepticism about his ability to reach that number.

The team's plan might be a bit optimistic, but the general idea of stretching him out before considering him for a rotation spot is a good one.

Mike Green - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#283692) #
Sometimes Gameday raises more questions than it answers.  Take, for instance, this situation.  Sanchez at 2nd, Tabata at 1st, 1 out.  Gameday says "Neil Walker grounds into a forceout right fielder Matt Tuiasosopo to shortstop Ryan Goins.  Gaby Sanchez to third base.  Jose Tabata out at second base.  Neil Walker safe at first base". 

I could understand Tabata being forced out on a hard-hit line drive which he though might be caught, but on a ground ball?  I've never seen that before.  I'll guess that it is a Gameday error.

China fan - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#283693) #
In his minor-league start today, McGowan threw 62 pitches and had a very good line in his 4 shutout innings. According to John Lott's tweet, here's what he did today: 62 pitches, 41 strikes, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 4K. Velocity: 92-96.

McGowan's 62 pitches was obviously better than the 48 pitches of last game, and he still has a chance to throw 75 or 80 pitches in his last outing, which could still put him in contention for a rotation slot -- especially after Happ's poor outing today. But it might take some "tandem starts" and piggybacking by long relievers on the days when McGowan starts.
China fan - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#283694) #
"....I also understand that he (McGowan) has expressed some skepticism about his ability to reach that number..."

Do you have a source for that statement, Mike? I believe you are mischaracterizing his feelings on the subject. McGowan has said he still prefers to be a starter if he can. And he knows that starters have to pitch a lot more than 85 pitches per game.

Of course a lot will depend on how McGowan feels tomorrow after his 62 pitches today. The Jays are understandably a little bit cautious, and that might be why they limited him to 62 today instead of the 70 that was mooted as a possibility. But as long as the number is steadily increasing in every game, and as long as he continues to feel good after every start (as he has so far), I don't see why he can't be a starter this year. (Don't forget that it was a 10-day flu problem that delayed his innings this spring -- it wasn't due to any mechanical problem or any excessive caution on his part or the team's part.)

I think it's probably wrong to assume that McGowan must still necessarily be "fragile" and "at risk of blowing up." He's been regularly hitting 96 mph for more than a year, and I don't think a "fragile" pitcher is capable of that.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#283695) #
Ugly day for the non-McGowan guys. 
Happ 3 IP 12 H 7 R 0 BB 3 SO 1 HR ... well, at least he didn't walk anyone.
Rogers: 2 inherited runners scored plus 6 more runs in his first inning of work and an unearned one in the 2nd. 3 wild pitches, 2 HR, a walk, 6 hits.  Not a great 2 inning appearance.

Ick.  I see Happ joining Romero in the minors soon, maybe off the 40 man as well (who'd claim him now?).  Rogers might just be having 'one of those days' but long relief/emergency starter is his role even if he flopped at it today.

Redmond and Jeffress odds of making the team seem to climb every time someone else pitches other than McGowan.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#283696) #
Here's the Lott article that I had in mind, CF.   "It's going to be tough, I think" is the quote from McGowan in relation to increasing his workload.

62 pitches is good.  If he makes it to 75 in his last start without pain afterwards and pitches well, he'll have a good case to be the 5th starter.


Eephus - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#283697) #
Hey, a couple of touchdowns and Toronto is right back in this!

Wait, wrong sport. Nevermind.

If he can get stretched out to 4 or 5 innings, I'd be in favour of McGowan in the rotation (never thought I'd have the chance to say that ever again) with somebody like Redmond available to pitch 2 or 3 innings right after. That has a chance to be sneaky effective, or at least has more of a chance than J.A. Happ has right now.

uglyone - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#283698) #
Pretty happy about what happened today.

Happ and rogers removed themselves from any consideration of being part of the rotation, while mcgowan absolutely dominated in the minor league game.

Everything is lining up just right imo. Dickey-hutch-buehrle-morrow-mcgowan, with redmond as the #6, and hopefully they're healthy long enough that stroman/nolin/sanchez will be ready when we need a 7th or 8th.

I'd have zero sadness seeing happ and rogers off the team altogether.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#283699) #
"Can someone translate the previous post and explain how one would know what someone is doing in a minor league start as it is happening?"

www.twitter.com
John Northey - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#283700) #
Rogers final line - 2 2/3 IP, 9 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 2 BB 4 SO 2 HR.  Well, his K/9 was good...

Stilson gave up 4 runs on 5 hits in his inning but no walks and 2 K suggest there is something there other than 'blech'

Ybarra doing 1 1/3 IP 3 H 1 R/ER 1 BB 2 SO in fill in work I suspect. On a day like this he was wonderful

22 to 5 final - 29 hits given up. Wow.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#283701) #
So Happ, as a player with 5 years experience, can decline to be sent to the minors and opt out of his deal.  Does that mean he forfeits his salary or is it guaranteed?  If he forfeits he might accept the minor league demotion.  If he keeps his salary he will take the money and run.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#283702) #
Uglyone, I see that your preference is to not capitalize pitcher's names.  I am not sure how this plays in the locker room- maybe Buehrle is a Robert Frost fan while Hutchison pulls out a dog-eared book by e.e. cummings to relax after a game.
China fan - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#283703) #
MIke, thanks for the McGowan reference from the Lott article. Again I think the key factor is the 10-day setback because of his flu, earlier in spring training, which made it difficult for him to reach the 90 or 100 pitches that one normally needs. It's not that the target is tough, it's just the shortage of available days before the beginning of the season.

Having said that, however, it is significant that McGowan's 62 pitches today represented his longest outing since 2011. It's a milestone, and perhaps a risky one, but I honestly believe he is on a stronger path now.
85bluejay - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#283704) #
I heard on the radio that Happ would still get paid if he declined to be optioned and chose FA - but I think that's incorrect, my recollection is that he would forfeit his salary if he chose FA. I hope the Jays option him - he's going to go off - last yr. he was unhappy when initially he was put in the BP - my fear is that he goes to the pen because John Gibbons is a big fan of Happ
PeterG - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#283705) #
Happ will be a distraction if on the team as he is a malcontent to begin with imo......my guess is that a way will be found to put him on 60 day DL so he will need 5/6 minor league rehab starts.......if not, then I would ask him if he will accept the option to Buffalo to work things out and if not he should be DFA'd.

We can start Redmond in April while McGowan is further built up pitching behind him.....make the switch as soon as Redmond appears to be losing it be it the 3rd or the 6th......or if he goes 5, just make the switch then.....

92-93 - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#283706) #
"A player with at least 5 years of Major League service may not be demoted to the minor leagues on optional assignment without his consent. A 5-year player who refuses an optional assignment to the minors must be offered his release."

That's from Cot's. I read that to mean the team is still on the hook for paying him, which means Happ isn't going anywhere barring a trade.

I'm firmly in the "Start McGowan, there's nothing to lose" camp. Even if all you can get out of him is 75-90 pitches in 5-10 starts before his arm implodes, that will have been worth it. Perhaps he can bridge the gap to a Stroman/Sanchez showing they are ready down in the minors, and they're going to be carrying 8 relievers anyway with 4 off days in April so having a limited McGowan shouldn't really effect the roster all that much.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 07:31 PM EDT (#283707) #
Even if all you can get out of him is 75-90 pitches in 5-10 starts before his arm implodes

Seems a bit harsh, no? It has taken McGowan many years to get to the point of being a healthy and productive contributor to a ML team. I would be loathe to ruin his health just because the front office is disorganized and failed to address most of the team's needs this off-season (starting pitcher, starting second baseman, RH bat / corner OF, backup SS / utility infielder).
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#283709) #
Loath, I mean (not "loathe"). Thought I'd better correct myself before Dewey made an appearance.
85bluejay - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#283710) #
The Jays FO deserves major criticism for the handling of McGowan - given their failure to add starting pitching, the team should have asked McGowan to start his throwing program earlier and be in a position to be stretched out earlier in spring - the FO/manager waffled too much about what to do with him.

Yeah, apparently Mr. Happ will be paid whether or not he accepts the demotion to the minors - that's a sweet deal for him, another waste of money by AA to compound a horrible trade.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 08:03 PM EDT (#283711) #
How does Happ's situation differ from Ricky Romero's? Romero could have elected free agency but did not want to forfeit his pay. Is Happ not similar?
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#283712) #
Seems a bit harsh, no? It has taken McGowan many years to get to the point of being a healthy and productive contributor to a ML team. I would be loathe to ruin his health just because the front office is disorganized and failed to address most of the team's needs this off-season (starting pitcher, starting second baseman, RH bat / corner OF, backup SS / utility infielder).

I'm not sure what a second baseman has to do with Dustin McGowan, but if I can put what I think is the gist of this a different way, the wisdom (not to mention ethics) of trying to make Dustin McGowan a starter does not turn on the whether the team needs a fifth starter. The man has had numerous surgeries and other health problems. The chances of him succeeding as a starting pitcher seem remote at best, and another injury will almost certainly end his career. He may be able to continue a career out of the bullpen and i think he should be left to do that, rather than risking the health of an obviously now fragile pitcher in what looks like a 'Hail Mary' move.

There were 13 drafts between 2000 when McGowan was drafted, and now. It seems rather myopic to focus on the last offseason if the cupboard is bare.
85bluejay - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#283713) #
I don't think Romero had 5 years of ML service as required
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#283714) #
My point is that I don't think McGowan should be carrying the burden of the team's failure to improve the ballclub this off-season. The Jays wouldn't be so desperate to prep him to start had it built a more complete roster. Had the Jays acquired, say, Ellis, Morales and Ryan, the team would be in good shape to start the season, even with someone like Redmond as the fifth starter, because the offense and defense would be stronger. (Of course, if they'd acquired someone like Kazmir, they wouldn't need McGowan to start - at least not yet.) They wouldn't need to rely on McGowan as a fragile-but-with-good stuff SP to compensate for weaknesses in other areas of the team.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#283715) #
Had the Jays acquired, say, Ellis, Morales and Ryan

Well, first of all, if they had acquired Kendry Morales at this point they should be Bakered. Morales is a guy worth about $5 million a year who unwisely decided to ignore a $14.1 million a year QO and isn't going to sign for anything like his value with the Blue Jays.

Second, while I appreciate opinions differ on this and I certainly mean no offence, Mark Ellis has made tens of millions in his career, and in my view at least the chance that he is going to go to Canada to finish his career with what was a last place team last year, rather than the St. Louis Cardinals, for an extra million dollars or so, are about zero, even ignoring that this extra million would be gone quickly with the tax and cost differences.

Third, who is Ryan?
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#283716) #
Morales was worth 2.2 and 2.7 bWAR (slightly less fWAR) over the last two years. I think you're understating the current market value per WAR for a would-be contender like the Jays.

We don't know what Ellis would or would not have signed for this off-season. I agree that it would likely have been hard to bring him to Toronto, though.

Ryan is Brendan Ryan. Elite defense at SS for when Reyes is injured and/or should be rested (which, combined, will probably add up to a significant number of games).

These are just a few random names that I think would help fill some gaps in a modest way, both now and when the inevitable injuries strike. I actually had other players higher on my wish list this off-season (Kendrick, Kazmir, Hanigan, Hudson, Colon, Drew, maybe Ubaldo/Santana).
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 09:50 PM EDT (#283717) #
With respect, it's not only the money that might be enticing to Ellis.  Competing for playing time with Ryan Goins is not the same as competing for playing time with Kolten Wong.  Ellis might get 200 PAs for St. Louis; you could safely guarantee him 400-450 here. Playing 5 days a week might be just about perfect for a player of Ellis' age.
Paul D - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#283718) #
One of the reasons McGowan is behind schedule is because he missed 10 days with the flu.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#283719) #
Morales was worth 2.2 and 2.7 bWAR (slightly less fWAR) over the last two years. I think you're understating the current market value per WAR for a would-be contender like the Jays.

greenfrog, I don't pretend at all to be a statistician, but I wasn't picking the $5 million number out of the air.

Certainly, nothing like what Boras/Morales are looking for after declining a 14.1 million offer.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#283720) #
The Jays FO deserves major criticism for the handling of McGowan - given their failure to add starting pitching, the team should have asked McGowan to start his throwing program earlier and be in a position to be stretched out earlier in spring - the FO/manager waffled too much about what to do with him.
If you want to criticize them for not giving Dusty his flu vaccination, maybe. Because the flu is the only reason he's behind schedule. And even then, if there are no setbacks, he should be good to go to start the year regardless. The only waffles involved were the ones puked back into the toilet.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#283721) #
Yeah, Morales might only be a +1 WAR player in 2014 (Steamer says 1.5, ZiPS says 0.5). That wouldn't be much to write home about. Still, you could add a few useful WAR between Morales, Ellis and Ryan (instead of relying on, say, Sierra, Goins and Kawasaki/Izturis). If the Jays were serious about contending in the highly competitive AL East, surely they would value those 2-4 extra wins enough to add a few modest complementary pieces?
uglyone - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#283722) #
I'm not sure what a second baseman has to do with Dustin McGowan, but if I can put what I think is the gist of this a different way, the wisdom (not to mention ethics) of trying to make Dustin McGowan a starter does not turn on the whether the team needs a fifth starter. The b has had numerous surgeries and other health problems. The chances of him succeeding as a starting pitcher seem remote at best, and another injury will almost certainly end his career. He may be able to continue a career out of the bullpen and i think he should be left to do that, rather than risking the health of an obviously now fragile pitcher in what looks like a 'Hail Mary' move.
  • 1. McGowan wants to start. Very much so. He did not do all this work to become a middle reliever. So any worry about risking his health and career from his point of view is nonexistent. This is what he explicitly wants.
  • 2. McGowan is still an injury risk in the bullpen. So that is hardly a safe choice anyways.
  • 3. The value to the team of mcgowan as an SP is so massively larger than as an RP that he's more valuable as an SP even if he only lasts 10 starts.
  • 4. The "loss" of a good middle reliever is pretty much negligible, especially since pitchers with much lesser "stuff" can replace most of that value.
  • 5. McGowan's shoulder hasn't barked at him at all for a long while. Not this spring, not all last year.
  • 6. McGowan is pitching really, really well. He was very good last year as a reliever, and has geen dominant this spring.
  • Jdog - Tuesday, March 25 2014 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#283723) #
    I'm surprised we have yet to hear a story about McGowan and the weighted ball program this spring. Hopefully this is whats going to keep his arm strong enough to last this go round.

    He wants to start, he has already made millions of dollars, if he blows out his arm in the process at least he will know he tried and went out shooting for what he wanted. Saying this is ethically wrong is moronic, he is a big boy who knows the risk.
    John Northey - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 12:18 AM EDT (#283724) #
    Morales might be a slight improvement on the bench, but $10 million for a RH DH who can only play 1B/DH is not a smart use of money. We might not care about the Jays bottom line, but I can safely say AA cares a LOT about it as that bottom line will help determine how long he is a GM for. Also Morales costs a 2nd round draft pick which has value (at the very least as a way to get more cash to spend on the 1rst round and on later rounds).  For what he brings to the table he was nuts to reject the qualifying offer.  Right now I don't see why the Jays would offer more than a token $4-5 million for him unless they have a trade partner who really, really wants Lind and will give back something more valuable than a 2nd round pick.
    Richard S.S. - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 12:35 AM EDT (#283725) #
    Not all the issues surrounding Dustin McGowan stem from pitching injuries. Could a few be Diabetes-related stuff that only fellow sufferers understand? More likely most stem from just bad luck.

    One point to consider, he's never been this healthy for this long. He wants to start. He is pitching very well. He has all his stuff, which is better than anyone else. Why can't he start? Just because some genius poster on this site says no. Don't make me laugh.
    greenfrog - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 06:38 AM EDT (#283726) #
    I have no problem with McGowan trying to start, as long as it's done the right way. Deciding to make him a starter at the eleventh hour and quickly ramping up his pitch count in the two weeks before the season (and cold-weather months) begins is arguably not the right way.

    Also, calling others names for questioning this sudden change of strategy is a bit rich, given that the same poster was recommending a year ago that JJ be signed to a long-term contract before ever throwing a pitch for the Jays. I guess some people just have trouble exercising restraint.
    Dave Till - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 07:32 AM EDT (#283727) #
    I don't regret the trades, even if Syndergaard and Marisnick both turn out to be very good players. (It helps that both of them are on my NL roto team :-)) I don't think the Jays could have kept their prospects and used the saved money to sign free agents, since I don't think that free agents are willing to sign in Toronto unless given a Vernon Wells style overpay or an out clause.

    I am rooting for McGowan, and prefer him to Happ or Rogers, but I wonder whether he will get hurt yet again. Some pitchers just don't have the physical ability to throw a lot of pitches without their body betraying them. Anybody here remember Steve Karsay?


    92-93 - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#283728) #
    There would be nothing unethical about the Jays making the McGowan a starter. They've done WAY more than their fair share of right by him. It's time the Blue Jays received something in return for standing by him for 14 years and giving him contract extensions nobody thought he deserved.
    85bluejay - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#283729) #
    Apparently, Eric Kratz has been sent to the minors - Josh Tole will catch Dickey - this must be what Dickey wants - surprised
    Gerry - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 08:56 AM EDT (#283730) #
    I too am surprised by the Thole decision.  But we just see the hitting stats, we haven't seen Kratz catch Dickey.
    John Northey - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#283731) #
    Bit of a shocker there. Thole hasn't been impressive with the bat this spring (240/240/280) while Kratz has (400/444/720). Guess it was a knuckleball decision, given Dickey was a 3.94 ERA with Thole catching last year (over 1/2 a run better than with anyone else).  Lets hope Thole doesn't blow it.

    Kratz could cover 1B as well as catcher (played there a bit in the minors). Wonder if he could play LF as well? I suspect his bat will be better than Sierra's.  A shame the roster cannot have space for a few more bench guys. 

    Mike Green - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:16 AM EDT (#283732) #
    A shame the roster cannot have space for a few more bench guys.

    More or less agree.  You could decide that having Kratz, Thole and Navarro makes sense on this club, and forgo an extra reliever.  Navarro kills lefties and he'd be good in a Napoli role of a couple of years ago, some DHing and some catching. 

    As I mentioned in another thread, Thole seemed to me to have a different (and better) approach at the plate when I saw him on Saturday.  Maybe the club looked beyond the spring training numbers because of the sample size and decided that Thole would likely be a useful player this year.  I am OK with this decision (but would have been equally OK with keeping Kratz).
    China fan - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#283733) #
    There's also a report that Jeffress has made the team. (This from a Wilner tweet.) I find this rather surprising. It either means that another pitcher is going onto the DL (Happ?) or it suggests that Redmond or Rogers is being waived. Unless I'm missing some other potential explanation.

    Also, Matt Tuiasosopo is being cut or demoted. (I didn't think he had any options left?) He was reportedly clearing out his locker today.

    I share the concerns about Thole being chosen ahead of Kratz. With the other moves today, I'm beginning to find some sympathy -- for the first time -- with the argument that the Jays might not be bringing their best team north.

    On the positive side: McGowan says he feels great after the 4-inning stint yesterday. His health isn't a problem at this point. And he's still in contention for the 5th spot in the rotation. I hope it happens.
    PeterG - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#283734) #
    I think we need to keep Redmond for now if Dusty is going to start........more moves to comes, I think.
    China fan - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#283735) #
    Let's assume that Hutchison and McGowan are in the rotation. (Seems likely at this point.) And Jeffress has reportedly made the team. That still leaves 9 pitchers in the bullpen: Janssen, Santos, Delabar, Cecil, Loup, Redmond, Rogers, Jeffress, Happ. Who's the odd man out? Does Happ or Janssen go onto the DL list? Does Redmond or Rogers get waived? Does Happ accept a minor-league assignment? Even if the Jays decide to put Redmond into the rotation and McGowan back in the bullpen, the same dilemma occurs. I suppose all will be clear soon, but I'm concerned....
    TangledUpInBlue - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#283736) #
    Batters Box

    This makes the handling of the catcher situation last year look even worse. Would've been nice to give Thole the chance to play regularly instead of giving all those starts to a guy with no future on a team that had no chance to make the playoffs. I don't even know that Thole would've succeeded but that's kind of the point we could've learned more about whether he can cut it in the majors. His .213 BABIP shows that he was extremely unlucky in the limited at bats he did get and perhaps with regular playing time he would've done well. In any case, he didn't get the opportunity and so he remains a bit of a mystery.
    Mike Green - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#283737) #
    Stephen Drew. Drew Hutchison.  Make it happen, please.

    Tommy John didn't get to play with too many Johns over his career.  His first catcher was John Romano.  John McNamara managed him and John Curtis was on a pitching staff with him. 

    Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#283738) #
    Via everyone on twitter: McGowan in the rotation, Happ to DL, Redmond, Rogers & Jeffress in the pen.
    China fan - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#283739) #
    Okay, that's actually a good rotation and the right series of pitching moves. Happ to the DL to get him figured out. Give him some weeks on a rehab assignment too. He becomes the 6th or 7th starter for later in the season. McGowan and Hutchison in the rotation: that could actually be a strong rotation with the three veterans to accompany them. An 8-man bullpen so that Redmond or Rogers can piggyback with McGowan or Morrow if they're able to go only 5 innings. It's what I've been thinking for a while.
    Mike Green - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#283740) #
    Jeffress instead of Kratz is, in my view, an error.  If the club had not committed to trying to win now, I could see it on the basis that Jeffress has the potential to be a high leverage reliever in the future. 

    The schedule calls for days off every Monday through April, and even with McGowan probably good for no more than 5 innings, a 7 man pen would be more than enough. 
    China fan - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#283741) #
    I like Kratz as a back-up catcher, but not as a pinch-hitter on the bench. His career OPS is .688. How often would you need a pinch-hitter of that calibre? Maybe in the 14th inning of an extra-innings game....
    Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#283748) #
    Once you've decided Thole is going to catch Dickey, Kratz doesn't have a whole lot to do - those off days also mean Navarro will get plenty of rest. And Kratz doesn't have any splits that look particularly useful as a pinch-hitter.

    If you wanted to go with a 7-man pen, Tuiasosopo would have been a more useful bench player. (but still hardly an essential one)
    Chuck - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#283749) #
    Kratz... Wonder if he could play LF as well?

    The only reason to play Kratz in the outfield would be to show the fans that yes, it is theoretically possible to cover less ground than Melky Cabrera.

    Mike Green - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#283751) #
    Navarro is a fair defensive 30 year old catcher who hasn't caught more than 89 games since he was 25.  He kills LHP.  You could have him catch 100 games with Kratz catching 30 games against LHPs (Navarro DHing) and Thole catching Dickey.  It achieves two purposes- you ensure that Lind doesn't face lefties and you don't give Navarro too much work behind the plate. 

    Tuisasosopo isn't much of a defensive player, but if you wanted to keep him rather than Kratz, it would be all right too.

    Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#283755) #
    You could have him catch 100 games with Kratz catching 30 games against LHPs (Navarro DHing) and Thole catching Dickey.

    The problem with that scenario is that Thole is still going to start against lefties whenever Dickey is pitching, leaving Kratz with some very erratic playing time.

    Anyway, I'm not sure it's a long-term issue. I would guess that the Jays will give Thole a month or two to show he has a little life left in his bat, and then turn things over to Kratz.
    uglyone - Wednesday, March 26 2014 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#283774) #
    I have no problem with McGowan trying to start, as long as it's done the right way. Deciding to make him a starter at the eleventh hour and quickly ramping up his pitch count in the two weeks before the season (and cold-weather months) begins is arguably not the right way.
    If that were true, then i'd agree. But mcgowan explicitly came into camp planning on being an SP, and the FO while tentative agreed that they would let him try. This was not a last minute change in plan.
    dan gordon - Thursday, March 27 2014 @ 12:45 AM EDT (#283797) #
    It's great that McGowan made the rotation. Looks a lot stronger with him in there. Jeffress made it based largely on his recent appearance vs. Tampa where he retired 7 straight guys, regulars, and looked untouchable. Wilner was saying Jeffress made the Rays hitters, including Longoria, Loney, Zobrist, Jennings, etc. look totally overmatched. Would have preferred Kratz, but I guess Dickey holds sway there. Now if they can just stay reasonably healthy...
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