Juh? The Yan Gomes era ends, and… um… it would seem as though Alex Anthopoulos has something of a type, as he’s once again dealt for a hard-throwing right-handed reliever– albeit this time one who has only spent one full season in the ‘pen.
Ex-Jays MLB.com reporter, and the hardest working man in show business, Jordan Bastian, has the details:
Indians have acquired INF Mike Aviles & INF/C Yan Gomes from Toronto in exchange for RHP Esmil Rogers. More soon on MLB.com.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) November 3, 2012
Now, I mention the fact that Rogers has only one season under his belt in which he was a full-time reliever, but that’s maybe not as of interest as it seems, because in 2011 with Colorado he was below replacement level over 83 innings, including 13 starts and five relief appearances. He’s nobody’s rotation solution, I don’t think. However, he definitely had some success when he moved on to Cleveland mid-season last year, bringing his BB/9 rate down to 2.04– the first time in his career that he’d taken it below 3.25, though thanks to an atrocious start of the year in Colorado, his season rate was 3.43.
But he’s a hard thrower, averaging 95.6 on his fastball last year, and he misses bats at a decent, if about middle-of-the-pack rate for a qualified reliever. He doesn’t have a particularly troubling platoon split, his strikeout rate spiked up to 23.9% in 2012, and Bastian tweets that he appeared to be a setup man in the making, though he also wonders if Cleveland was smart in selling high, as the numbers Rogers put for the Rockies are pretty fucktacular.
Of course, that’s true of just about every Rockies pitcher, isn’t it?
Keith Law is on board:
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) November 3, 2012
Cheap is the key word there, as Rogers just missed being Super Two this year, and will be under team control through the end of the 2016 season, and making a whole lot less than it would have cost them to bring back Jason Frasor or Brandon Lyon, which allows the Jays to allocate precious resources elsewhere– and actually sheds a little bit of salary in the form of Aviles.
The deal also means the bizarre Yan Gomes preoccupation among far too many fans can mercifully end, and that we won’t be seeing something like an Aviles/Macier Izturis platoon at second base next season, which I certainly don’t think is the worst thing in the world, depending, of course, on what the club actually manages to do at the position.
I’m somewhat surprised that the Jays decided to move back to square one in the middle infield in order to make it happen, and I have no reason to be entirely confident that Rogers will necessarily just pick up where he left off in Cleveland at the end of last year, but as uninspiring as acquiring yet another bullpen piece may be, let’s not forget how far we saw an absolutely loaded ‘pen take the Baltimore Orioles and their shaky starting rotation this season.
It remains that relievers are a volatile lot, and not a particularly great or irreplaceable investment, but to me– and apparently to Alex Anthopoulos– that’s really only looking at it in a single-player vacuum. To have a large group of cheap, cost-controlled, hard-throwing, bat-missing relievers is a nifty asset for the club going forward, both on the field and in terms of resource allocation, even if it’s… y’know… kinda weird how they all got here.
And if it means the club gives Marcus Stroman the chance to fail as a starter before rushing him into their big league bullpen, all the better.
Of course, on the other hand, though, Anthopoulos may be pre-emptively building up bullpen depth in the knowledge that he’d going to have to trade some himself as the winter progresses. With second base, left field, DH, and two or three key rotation spots currently a bloody fucking mess, he’s certainly going to have to do something.