As a continuation of the club’s policy of hiding starters from clubs they’ll be facing early in the season, today’s scheduled starter for the Blue Jays, Brett Cecil, ended up pitching in a minor league game instead of against the Orioles. On the surface, it seems normal enough– the club did the same with Brandon Morrow yesterday, sending Kyle Drabek to face the Yankees regulars instead– but at Miked Up, Mike Wilner tells us something a little curious.

“The second reason to have Cecil work at the minor-league complex was because in the more controlled environment, they could make sure to get him seven ‘innings’ of work by ending innings early just to get him the ups and downs.  As it turned out, they didn’t need to.  It was an intra-squad game, so there wasn’t any scoring kept, and we didn’t find out Cecil was pitching until after the game had started (and weren’t told it was going to happen in the morning), so none of the media assemblage was there to see him.”

I’m not knowledgeable enough of the situation to suggest something fishy is going on here, but seeing as Cecil has been easily the most scrutinized of the Jays projected starters, and– given the way Kyle Drabek has pitched this spring– is the rotation member with perhaps the most tenuous grasp on his spot, you can see how there’s benefit to not further deepening the image problem, or allowing the media to push the magnifying glass harder down onto his head.

I hope it’s not that, because by essentially creating a closed session from which only Alex Anthopoulos can provide us information– shock: he was very positive– all they’ve done is create the conditions for fans to start wildly speculating about what the club possibly doesn’t want us to see.

Counterproductive, and kind of a bullshit move? Let’s hope it was an honest mistake.

Comments (52)

  1. Also, the Orioles didn’t start a major league regular..

    They certainly weren’t hiding him from the Orioles because they didn’t want the O’s to see him..

  2. Michael Garncarz: True enough…

  3. I think you’re right on smelling bullshit here. They wanted to hide him from the media more than the Orioles, who were fielding scrubs.

  4. yes please, hide the shitballer from your fans by sending him to vegas. seriously, just cut bait.

  5. It’s probably just insurance for a potential trade. Cecil as asset has more to lose in the meaningless start than he has to gain.

  6. They’re trying to hide his new pitches. Watch, he’s gonna come out in his first start of the seaason with more pitches than Darvish.

  7. Protecting him from spring training media scrutiny is probably, in reality, a disservice. Just as Spring is used to get back into the routine and refine your skills, it’s also a time to develop an immunity to external criticism.

    The intensity is going to multiply exponentially in just over a week, especially if Drabek continues to pitch as he has this Spring.

  8. We can only hope. He’s a 58mph knuckle-curve away from stardom.

  9. Cecils first two starts line up against a few garbage teams,
    I bet you we dont see much of him, they let him start his easy starts, and then move him and bring up mcgowan

  10. Or there’s nothing to this at all.

  11. Is this that different than Santos’ disappearance while working on another pitch? Nobody was screaming conspiracy despite his lengthy absence. This was only one start. If his next one (is there?) is hidden, then you can start making noise about bullshit moves.

    It’s the Jays camp, and they can do as they please if they think it will help the team.

    • the difference is that santos isn’t throwing an 85 mph fastball… the media tends to pick up on those sorts of things.

  12. If they’re protecting him from the media, I really don’t see the point. He’ll be pitching front and center in the majors in just over a week and there’s nowhere to hide there.

    • Agreed it makes zero sense for them to hide him from media. If he has another bad spring training start so what? It can be written off like all the other pitching elites bad starts by saying “it’s just spring training, he’s working on stuff”. Is the media going to heap even more shit on him than he got last year? Is that even possible?

      If Cecil was the only one to be making starts against minor league players then maybe it might be a consideration but that’s not the case. Naturally people are going to be more sensitive to any bad results after the season he had last year. Until he throws up a few stinkers in the regular season I wouldn’t worry about it to much.

  13. who is starting opening day at Rogers centre, i hope not Brett… let Brett face Cle and Alvarez face Boston

    • That’s how the rotation’s been set up all Spring. Alvarez is pitching 4th, so he’ll start the home opener.

  14. I swear, the Blue Jays have more conspiracy theories swirling around them than the JFK assassination. I think you guys need to remember Occam’s Razor.

  15. Cecil’s next start in front of nobody will be April 14 at Rogers Centre.

  16. I’m gonna go ahead and say that I highly doubt there was anything beyond what they said. I don’t see why, after all the crazy speculation all winter and Spring, all of a sudden now, they are going to start hiding players or going out of there way to not let the media know there was an intra-squad game. At this point in Spring, those games should not be and are not stories.

  17. Unless he was throwing nude, and they didn’t want Joan to get all busted up about it. Maybe he told them he was planning on swearing a whole bunch and as baseball is a very spiritual game…

  18. now officially known as DJFK……

  19. The only bullshit is this stupid blog. As usual the writer starts shit of which he has no knowledge of.

  20. Smells too much like, “I have a RIGHT to know” when we really don’t. We’d just like to.

  21. Wait, so not one member of the media was at the minor league training complex? Doesn’t that seem like a good place to hang out when nothings going on at the major league park? How are there so many articles on minor leaguers if no one travels to the minor league complex..

    I think this is just a case of no one caring enough to poke around the minor league complex or if they were there they weren’t prepared to write a story. You yourself, Stoeten, said you found it weird that the media didn’t report Cecil’s velocity after a start a couple weeks ago. How are the Jays supposed to know that no member of the media would be there or reporting it. How did they know no one would report on Cecil’s velocity a couple weeks ago?

  22. The only surprising thing about Cecil is that the guy’s only 25. Seems like people have been bitching about him for longer than 3 seasons.

  23. Remember the good ole days a few weeks ago when Kenny Ken Ken said rival teams had interest in Brett Cecil…sigh.

  24. When does the regular season start?Hurry up already.

    • It already started… kind of….
      Although I have my doubts that Japan is actually a real place given some fo the weird pictures I’ve seen on the internet.

  25. As somebody mentioned before, Vizquel made the team.

  26. what would be the point of “hiding” him? Can they “hide” him in a regular season game…oh waite…..perhaps if they start him in a midweek game vs the twins or A’s they could continue to do jus that.

  27. I know people are going to call me a conspiracy theorist but here goes my interpretation of how events could have unfolded. After Drabek’s Yankee start Cecil had already lost his job to his younger counterpart. I think the person Drabek was actually in competition with was Cecil, not McGowan based on results of all three. Perhaps at first it was with McGowan, but as things developed it became obvious who should be the man out, especially with Cecil’s lack of velocity and average starts (and Anthro’s preference for power pitchers).

    Read between the lines in Wilner’s post. What he’s saying is that Cecil just won a rotation spot by default because of McGowan’s injury. Since they’ve known about the schedule for weeks now and they only changed the decision to start him almost right before game time, obviously something changed.

    I have a feeling that after that start against the Yankees Cecil had lost his spot to Drabek, but when they found out McGowan couldn’t even throw pitches because of the plantar, they decided at the last second that Cecil was now a “lock” for the rotation at the bottom end and thus needed to be “hidden” With this new decision being made, Anthro himself has to check Cecil to see if he is “rotation ready” and needs to push him for seven innings to see if the loss of velocity or location is a physical problem, and if he can actually hold the fort until Dustin gets back at the end of the month.

    There is some confirmation of this in Wilner’s post, where Anthro talks about giving them an opportunity to stretch or shorten innings as necessary.

    He seemed optimistic after the session so apparently Cecil passed inspection. I have a feeling Cecil is ticketed for triple A sooner than later though.

  28. Just to add to that, the Jays have actually scheduled the majority of their starters this week to play minor league games, although it seems to piss Wilner off (probably because of the lack of access for his show and work)

  29. If this team doesn’t start winning fast enough and the calls for accountability in the Beeston/Anthopoulos era begin, this kind of nonsense will be their downfall. The subterfuge and secrecy do much to besmirch AA’s good name; it’s an especially dangerous game because the media doesn’t much like being deceived or conspired against, and they’re the played-for-fools who report on the team. (Remember when JP Ricciardi lied about BJ Ryan’s arm injury? He said that it wasn’t a lie because the team knew the truth? That went over well.)

    And if the team does start winning, and soon? Please disregard the above paragraph. Who cares, right? Playoffs, baby!

  30. Can’t see why they would want to “Hide” Brett Cecil from the Oriels. Hide him from the media, that I could see.. but maybe the wanted to get more work or another look at who ever pitched against the Oriels?

  31. Surprise, surprise, Alvarez is being hidden from the Red Sox today.

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