“Eighty-seven to eighty-nine miles per hour is the new norm, it appears, and the reality is that means Cecil’s now a back of the rotation pitcher,” writes Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail in one of several pieces about Brett Cecil to have hit the web in the last couple of days. They come as the Jays’ lefty continues struggling with what some might call might call his fastball velocity, while others might say he’s merely working on the ability to command his eminently Cole Hamels-like “stuff.”
No, really. That’s what what was written by Mike Wilner at his Fan 590 blog, apparently in agreement with his radio colleague Alan Ashby– and intentional or not, for my taste, it’s the kind of comment that, unfortunately, wades a little dangerously close to blatant homerism territory, especially, I’m sure it will be pointed out, on the part of guys who draw a paycheque from the same company that owns the team. On Twitter, this madness was later both defended, by Wilner, and derided, by Keith Law, and pretty much everyone else, the real kill shot coming from our friend Drew over at Getting Blanked, who went all Pitch F/X-y to show two rather different arsenals– in both tenor and quality.
And it’s the quality of Cecil’s arsenal that continues to give legs to rumours about the Jays looking for pitching reinforcements, despite the club and the pitcher himself putting on brave faces and saying all the right things.
“As far as the body goes, I’m even better than I wanted to be,” Cecil told Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com after his start on Sunday. “As long as everything feels good I’m going to be happy. There’s going to come a point, who knows what game, it’s not always going to be there and that’s where the hard work starts on the mound. Pick and choose your spots you’ve got to work on, but hopefully it doesn’t come for a while and things keep going well.”
“If Brett’s in the 88-91 mph range that’s probably what we expect from him,” John Farrell added. “But more importantly is the location of it and how it’s travelling through the strikezone. If it’s on a downward plane, his changeup in behind it becomes that much more deceptive.”
It all sounds nice, yet rumblings about dissatisfaction among Jays management continue.
“As the Jays try to create more room for their top young pitchers, there’s no question Cecil could be available in a deal. He is one of those former top prospects who hasn’t lived up to expectations, and he hasn’t had an especially good spring,” writes Nick Cafardo in Sunday’s Boston Globe.
And Monday evening Danny Knobler– the Knobler!– of CBS Sports added more fuel to the fire:
Blue Jays still interested in upgrading starting rotation. Have followed Gavin Floyd, but doesn’t sound like great hopes of a deal.
— DKnobler (@DKnobler) March 19, 2012
So… where there’s smoke there’s fire? I don’t know. I don’t know if we can quite draw a line leading from the Jays’ rumoured continued interest in upgrading the rotation– something they were unable, or unwilling, to do over the winter– to the issues Cecil may or may not be having this spring. But with Kyle Drabek looking good so far, and Dustin McGowan being out of options and all but assured an opportunity to take the ball out of the gate and run with it, it makes it tempting to assume that Cecil’s spot is the one the club is most interested in upgrading on.
Not that there are many opportunities for clubs to upgrade their rotation at this point in the year. But I’m sure that’s not going to stop anybody from writing about it, is it? Myself included, I suppose. Ugh.