It’s not just front office personnel who make the trek to the winter meetings. Manager are frequent visitors too, and the Jays’ John Farrell is no different. He spoke with reporters this evening and Mike Wilner filled us in on Twitter, where you can follow him at @Wilnerness590, and in a new blog post at the Fan 590.
Highlights of the conversation included, but were far from limited to:
- As the roster is constituted right now, the Opening Day left fielder will be the winner of the Spring Training battle between Travis Snider and Eric Thames.
- Farrell says he thinks that, to improve, the club needs work in two areas: more quality innings from the rotation, and better outfield defence. This leads Wilner to believe Snider will go into the Spring with a slight edge in said position battle. [Note to Thames brigade: suck it!]
- Farrell is thrilled with the Sergio Santos acquisition– he thinks the hard fastball and wipeout slider are exactly what a closer needs. He’d like to add a lefty in the bullpen, however.
- On the rotation: Alvarez has a spot to lose, McGowan is pencilled in if he’s healthy, and Cecil is (ugh) in the best shape of his life. Or, at least, he’s lost weight and Farrell expects him to bounce back and be better in 2012 than he was last year. He could hardly be worse, amiright? [Note: actually, not really. He wasn't that bad, he just gave up 22 HR and 21 doubles in 87 innings against right-handers.]
- Drabek can earn a rotation spot if he pitches the way he’s capable, but my guess is it sounds like he’s pencilled in for Las Vegas, at least to start the season.
- Farrell wants his hitters “not to go up to the plate looking to take a walk, but to ‘understand that there’s a relentless approach towards a strike zone discipline that we’re all striving for.’ ” Like the Yankees and Red Sox, he wants the Jays to see a lot of pitches, and to get to middle relievers early and often.
- “When asked if Lind was still his clean-up hitter, Farrell answered in the affirmative, but without enthusiasm: ‘Yeah, Yeah. Unless something….somebody else comes along.’ ” Ringing endorsement!
Wilner has a link to the full audio of Farrell’s comments in his post.