It appeared last week that the Jays may have shielded struggling pitcher Brett Cecil from the media, failing to let anybody know that he’d been moved to a minor league game until it was already in progress. And with many members of the local media having already headed north, maybe they hoped they’d get away with it again, and not have to face the questions that have uncomfortably built over the course of camp, first about Cecil’s lacklustre velocity, then about his overall terribleness, and the tenuous grasp he held on his rotation spot– which for most of the spring was believed to be third in line, behind Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.

Not so, as reporters like Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, and others made it to Lakeland to witness the absolute catastrofuck of a day that Cecil had on Monday against the Tigers.

“There’s concern. There’ll certainly be discussion and evaluation and internal talks that will take place today and tomorrow,” said John Farrell, after Cecil left “a lot of pitches up over the plate; a lot of pitches found the middle of the plate.”

According to Kennedy, the manager “agreed with a reporter who suggested none of Cecil’s pitches were working.”

“While we don’t expect any pitcher to be in mid-season form,” Davidi quotes him as saying, “you get to that 30-inning mark where you’ve had enough repetition to get out there and not only repeat your delivery, but to command the baseball.”

“You’ve got to pitch to quality location consistently against a team with that kind of lineup and other types of lineups that we’re going to face night in and night out. Without swing and miss and without consistent location, days like that can happen,” Farrell said. “That’s where the concern is.”

Ahh, but Cecil– who sounds like he’s torched just about all the goodwill he’d earned through the intense off-season workout regimen that saw him come to camp down 40 pounds–was having none of it.

“I’m just happy that I finally got everything clicking on all cylinders, late in the second, third and fourth I felt like everything was there for me, and felt comfortable with what I was doing, there was no thinking going into it,” he told reporters.

That would be late in the second inning in which a Jhonny Peralta double-play bailed him out after allowing six eight straight batters to reach base, with seven Tigers crossing the plate, including Prince Fielder and Delmon Young, who both homered.

The third inning would be the one in which he gave up a pair of singles, as well. A great jaerb!!!

“I feel great about the outing, I feel great about where I am right now and I’m looking forward to get the season started finally,” said Cecil, who was either in a complete state of shock, or simply lies as badly as it seems he now pitches.

“He said he only made ‘one or two’ bad pitches — the ones that ended up in the stands,” Kennedy adds.

Good fuck! I mean… shit. Like… I feel bad for the guy, and saddened to see the expectations fans once had for him shattered but… that’s some pretty fucked up right there. The Jays simply can’t open the season with him in the rotation and expect to be able to justify it with straight faces. Maybe he can work it out in time, or maybe he’ll play as a fastball-changeup lefty out of the bullpen, but right now… my God, this is untenable. And I’m pretty sure the outright denial is not helping.

Comments (27)

  1. I’ve seen a few highlights of cecil this spring and it looks to me like he is not staying on top of the ball (ie. rotating his wrist too early) during his load phase. This seems like a pretty simple fix and would add 3-5mph. i’d like to see someone compare his current hand positions during his load to what it looked like when he was a prospect touching low-mid nineties at time.

  2. This flaw is very common amongst pitchers who are “trying” to throw harder and just rush a little bit.

  3. Didn’t Mike McCoy pitch one good inning? Don’t guys pop up and ground out in BP sometimes? Doc would have committed hari-kari after a performance like that. I’m rooting for you, but you better think that stunk. If that is acceptable to you, you belong in a beer league.

  4. “The Jays simply can’t open the season with him in the rotation …”

    The problem with not starting the season with Cecil in the rotation is who takes his place (at least for the first month)? Laffey? Is that really a more palatable alternative?

    • The main thing is that whichever of those guys makes the team will have to be the 5th starter, as opposed to the 3rd, if they want to win. The 5th starter will only be needed once or twice before May, and then McGowan should be back and we won’t have to worry about it anymore.

  5. that piece by Kennedy is awesome. it’s great to see Toronto beat reporters call the Blue Jays out on actual problems they can solve by being realistic with subpar players and not waste ink on deluded horseshit about chasing the unicorn triumverate of Yu Darvish, Prince Fielder and Joey Votto

  6. I think they HAVE to start the season with him in the rotation… they have no other options assuming McGowan is a month away and that the younger guys need another couple months in the minors.

    I assume they will be starting with him in the rotation but that he’ll be on a short leash and will only get 2-3 starts to show that he’s better than this.

  7. Well, holy fuck. Cecil to AA, Carreno to take his spot.

  8. I think the best thing to do with Cecil now is send him to the minors, and have him work on both velocity and control. He needs at least one of those two and he has neither. Maybe some of the wizards down in Dunedin can find his lost velocity. I’d rather the Jays start the year out with a roll of the dice on Jenkins or Hutchinson. The fifth starter spot would help with controlling innings.

  9. …And never mind, it’s Carreno.

  10. Three in a row? Carreno seems like a reasonable choice. I probably should have mentioned him in my first post. I’m sad for Brett but hopefully he can get it on track in New Hampshire.

  11. Nice call there Stotestredomus

  12. Cecil optioned to Double A, Carraeno up

  13. Makes sense to send him to AA this time around, too. He certainly wasn’t having any success in Vegas last year, and it’d be pointless to put him in a situation where he’s more or less guaranteed to fail again.

  14. This is the same problem they had last year with too many question marks in the starting rotation. If the starters can only last 4 innings in the first few weeks of the season, the bullpen will be taxed at the end of April. As a former pitching coach, Farrell needs to step in and talk with Cecil. If Cecil has a sore arm, then he needs to be honest. If Farrell sees something in his delivery, then they need to address it and work with him. I am hoping Romero, Morrow, Drabek, and Alvarez can pick up the slack until one of the young guys are ready to go. In my opinion I think the McGowan situation is not a good one. Don’t hang your hat on him returning anytime soon.

  15. Optioned to AA. For God’s sake Rogers. what will it take for you to realize that spending some of your billions on a starting pitcher or three may actually help your team.

    Oh yea, we don’t need that, right? All the “spend to contend” people were dead worng, weren’t we?

    • Yes.

      • But, but, but…it rhymes.

      • How many years of futility will it take to admit that you’re wrong? We’ve been 2 years away for 20 years now, and it looks like this time next year you’l be spouting teh same crap.

        The contenders spend. the pretenders pay second grade bloggers to spew out their propaganda.

  16. Yeah, even if the problems are as subtle and easily fixable as Cecil implies, they need to be fixed someplace other than during regular season games. They can’t start the season with Cecil in the rotation, in my opinion.

  17. Cecil would be slated to start game 3 of the Cleveland series. The Indians are pretty much a lefty lineup, top to bottom, with a couple of switch hitters and whatever scrub righthanded bat they have on the bench. Chances are it will also be fucking cold in Cleveland.

    You can’t set up a better scenario for a guy like Cecil to succeed in his first start of the year. Yet, the Blue Jays are wavering. That is very telling.

    I would burn Cecil’s option and either keep him in extended camp or send him to AAA. Put Laffey on the 40-man and have him make a few starts in April.

    Looking at the schedule, Laffey could start game 3 in Cleveland, game 2 of the home series against Baltimore, game 1 of the Kansas City series (road game) and game 2 of the Baltimore series (road game). That would be 4 starts. You sink or swim with these 4 starts. Laffey would be facing lineups with plenty of left handed bats.

    I would be worried putting Laffey in game 1 of the home series against Texas on April 30. Monster lineup with plenty of right handed power bats. By this time, Carreno should be ready. You insert him into the rotation until McGowan is ready. Not sure if Carreno was properly stretched in spring training.

    Another 3-4 starts from Carreno. He gets a much tougher assignment (aforesaid Rangers, Angels, Twins and Yankees, possibly the Rays). At this point, we are into the third week of May.

    McGowan should be returning by late May, provided there are no further set backs. The next wave (Jenkins, Hutch, McGuire) would also have notched a few starts in AA ball by late May. If McGowan isn’t ready, you can roll the hot guy in for a couple more starts.

    I really don’t think that Brett Cecil belongs in the rotation throwing 86 mph. meatballs. I see him becoming a good LOOGY.

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