Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

Well here’s exactly what you didn’t want to hear. Mike Cormack of Sportsnet passes along a clip from this morning’s Brady and Lang show on the Fan 590, in which Casey Janssen dropped by. Here’s what the Jays’ closer laid on us when the subject of his off-season shoulder “clean-up” arose:

“I’m feeling good. I’m not 100% just yet, but, again, having a little bit of extra time in the spring is going to help. I’m going to use every bit of the spring to get to that 100% level. But, as far as I’m concerned, I think April 2nd is very, very realistic, and things are going good.”

He’s choice of words makes it seem like he’s certainly looking at the glass half full here, and I don’t want to overblow this, but the implication that Opening Day is merely “realistic”– even if “very, very realistic”– is at least a little bit troubling. Right?

As I explained in the wake of the surprise press release from the Jays, two weeks after the surgery was actually completed, the joint that was operated on– his AC joint– “is at the top of the shoulder, linking the collarbone to the shoulder blade, not ‘inside,’ and the procedure appears– exactly as the release says– to be more about clearing cartilage for the purpose of pain relief than actual shoulder function. It is done arthroscopically, not by opening the shoulder up, which means that the recovery time is far shorter than if there were a problem with the labrum or the rotator cuff.”

So… perhaps I only have myself, and my downplaying of the surgery at the time, to blame for being a bit surprised today to hear that all is not quite right. Then again, all I said was that the recovery time is far shorter than with labrum or rotator cuff surgeries, and given that those are often measured in years, I suppose you could say he’s comfortably on track.

In fact, an example I used in the post at the time was that of Mariano Rivera, who had the same surgery following the 2008 season. We can see from an MLB.com post from the following spring that the Yankee great’s surgery had taken place in October– so at least two weeks earlier than Janssen’s– and by March 5th he was still only “throwing at about 85-90 percent of full speed,” and looking at almost another two weeks before getting into game action.

By that measure, if April 2nd is realistic, maybe we can say Janssen is actually doing pretty good. At this point, I guess only time will tell. I mean… what am I, a doctor?

And hey! At least it means we’ve got a new spring storyline to follow. Albeit, y’know, one we maybe totally don’t fucking need in the slightest right now. Though after reading the Rivera stuff, I must say, my jangled nerves are somewhat soothed. He made a pretty full recovery, as I seem to recall.

Comments (58)

  1. Pssh. As if Dickey is throwing less than 9 innings.

  2. Delabar you’re Opening Day Closer?

    • Sergio says “Hi”

      • He’s recovering too. Do you put that weight on him right out of the gate?
        It’s moot though, GBL just reminded me that Dickey is going 9.

        • What, the extra weight of throwing in the 9th instead of the 7th?

          • Guess that’s why they have spring training. Whether I’m Delabar or Santos or Janssen I’m not absolutely sure I want the entire baseball world (nevermind the AL East) seeing my best pitches before the season starts anyway. We all know the Wankees are masters of deception when it comes to ST.

  3. Soo..you’re saying the Jays should go all out to acquire Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman..

  4. The Jays have so many guys who could take a turn as closer. Santos, Lincoln, Delabar.. Janssen himself proves you don’t need to be a flamethrower. Fuck Cecil is in the best shape of his life.. why not..

    • Lincoln?

      • I thought we brought Morris back for a reason.

      • Sure. Was Janssen very successful in some other capacity before 2010? I’m not saying Lincoln would be the best closer, but if Janssen is hurt why not let anyone try?Janssen sucked for a good long while too before figuring it out. I remain unconvinced that you should do anything but go with the hot hand anyway.

  5. Lincoln? When did 8 run leads become save situations

    • lol

    • It wasn’t a legitimate suggestion – just a “who the fuck cares” who the “closer” is. Its going to change anyway once the guy everybody thinks is good starts to suck – which happens in almost every bullpen, almost every year.

  6. B-Weezy

  7. When I suck as 5th starter I will be the new closer

  8. Janssen underwent a clavicle shave procedure in the off-season, which did not affect any of the structural elements of the shoulder or rotator cuff. Mariano Rivera had the same thing done back in 2008 or so and he didn’t miss any time the subsequent season.

    Janssen is just being an honest abe here and telling everyone that he is not 100 percent going into spring training. Probably related to the fact that he hasn’t been able to work out as much in the off-season and or he has some soreness of some kind.

    I wouldn’t worry too much. If Santos is still not 100 percent, Delabar could earn a couple of saves while Janssen and Santos work their way back to being 100 percent.

    Now if Janssen continues to show some discomfort which makes him throwing his cutter problematic, then we have a problem. Janssen’s cutter was a key pitch for him the past 2 seasons, using it effectively to retire lefthanders.

  9. Who cares who closes… let Cecil do it who cares, the fuck with it, all it is a neat little save stat that boosts their paychecks.

    • Closing a 1 run game isn’t the same as going in in the 7th up by 3 or down by 3. There is the pressure that not everyone can handle. 1 pitch off the mark is all that is needed to tie a game up, not too many players on any team that can’t go yard off a fat down the middle FB doing 89.

      • What about coming in in the 7th with the tying run on second and 1 out? How’s that compare to coming into the 9th up 3 with clear bases….

        • Thats a hard spot, but there is still time to make up the run. In the 9th, not so much.

        • the difference would be your team has a chance to answer,
          as a closer, in an away game, they dont.

          • not only that, if you are the closer and you blow a win for your team, you have to be able to completely shake that off and be ready to do it the next day, likely against the same team.
            if you’re a 7th inning guy, you can maybe be skipped, you dont skip a closer.

            • I thought ‘closing’ was debunked. Other than outliers like Rivera any old Joe tends to get the job done. Someone did some analysis that I quickly looked for and couldn’t find that most guys convert saves at around 88-92 percent (could be way off, my memory sucks) and that the money spent to get one of the four guys who convert at around 95 percent is better spent elsewhere. I think the idea is that you’re better off investing the money back into the entirety of the bullpen because while it’s the last inning the ninth inning isn’t necessarily more important than the seventh, sixth, or eight. To get back to the point, the guy who did the analysis didn’t find ‘chokers’ in the data. Apparently dealing with pressure throughout their entire life prepares pitchers for dealing with pressure.

              • well i guess thats case closed then.
                can’t quantify the effects of stress or pressure so they’re not real.

                • It’s not that it’s not real. I’m sure that a race-car driver, if given a moment to pause and think about the implications of sneezing while going 200 mph might get a little nervous. But when you do it every day, when you get used to that adrenaline, I’m not sure that stress or pressure are as relevant as you or I might think.

                  • so what you’re saying is, you dont know?
                    I know when I close games I feel more pressure then when i’m in relief some other time.
                    I know thats not mlb so everyone will quickly point out how it’s not the same.
                    in my experience, knowing the win is on the line matters.

                    • I don’t know. But the math says that it doesn’t really matter. Just as hitters aren’t usually ‘clutch’. Perception and confirmation bias and all that jazz.

                    • the link is dead-ended but here’s the text.

                      “I can tell you now that the answer shocked the heck out of me. I conservatively estimated that teams win about 5% more often now with ninth-inning leads than they did before the closer really came into vogue. I suspected that it was a conservative estimate, but that was my guess anyway. Here’s why: One of the things that always surprises me about baseball is how little any one thing affects the percentages of the game.

                      “That is to say: There are charts that suggest that how you arrange a lineup will have very little effect on how many runs your team scores in the long run. There are formulas that suggest that stolen bases — once you incorporate the caught stealing — will have a surprisingly small impact on the game. One of the biggest beefs that people have with stats like Wins Above Replacement and some of the more advanced defensive stats is that they always seem to come out low—they always seem not only to disprove big swings (like the idea that Ozzie Smith saved 100 runs a year with his defense or that a single great player was worth 25 extra wins) but they actually MAKE FUN of those big numbers. Baseball in the long view is stunningly consistent and predictable and no one thing or one person shifts it much.

                      “So, I guessed that all the advances — the creation of the bullpen as weapon, the evolution of the closer, the Mariano Rivera cutter, all of it — only made teams about 5% more likely to win games in 2010 than in, say, 1952.

                      “I was wrong.

                      “The truth is that all the bullpen advances have had ABSOLUTELY ZERO EFFECT on how much more often teams win games they’re leading in the ninth inning. Zero. Nada. Zilch. The ol’ bagel.

                      “Teams held 95.5% of their ninth-inning leads in 2010. Teams held 95.5% of their ninth-inning leads in 1952.

                      “Well, that shocked the heck out of me. It’s not quite that simple, though. There have been a few anomalies, yes. For instance, in 1957, teams held only 92.7% of their ninth-inning leads — easily the lowest percentage over the last 60 years. That was a year for comebacks. And the highest percentage was in the strike year of 1981, when teams held 97.6% of their leads — that probably would have normalized over a full schedule.

                      “Other than that, though, the best winning percentage for ninth-inning leads is .958. It has happened four times — 2008, 1988, 1972 and 1965. That pretty much covers the entire spectrum of bullpen use. It doesn’t change. Basically, teams as a whole ALWAYS win between a touch less than 94% and a touch more than 95% of the time. This has been stunningly, almost mockingly, consistent. The game has grown, the leagues have expanded, the roles have changed, the pressure has turned up, but the numbers don’t change.”

                    • I remember that. It was Posnanski:

                      http://joeposnanski.blogspot.ca/2010/11/age-of-setup-man.html

                      Let’s please not have to have the closer myth argument, everyone.

                    • umm…you obviously have a very tenuous grasp of population statistics. Of course there is low variance across the whole population. The argument is, a good closer is better than some random guy. Anyone who says different doesn’t have a clue.

  10. Conversation for a later date but there’s a lot of DH types with only this season left on their contracts should ours struggle:

    Kendrys Morales, Cory Hart, Michael Morse, Paul Konerko, Justin Morneau. Some good rent-a-player guys there should these teams fade during the summer.

    Not dumping on Lind (again), just nice to know there are bats out there should we need one.

    Love Paul Konerko, I wonder what he’d cost in trade with 2 months left on his contract.
    Stotes, you’re a student of asset management, what’s 37 year old big Pauly cost us at the deadline?

    • Drew Stubbs could platoon with Lind, is not needed in Cleveland anymore, and can back up all the OF positions.

    • Lind going down should be the least of our worries. He’s only going to platoon against righties anyway, and that’s not a bad thing given that his likely replacement in DH (Davis or Bonifacio) hit quite well against lefties. Also, Encarnacion’s back can use the rest.

      The real worry is what happens if Bautista’s wrist isn’t as healed as he thinks. A lot of the Jays’ post-season aspirations pretty much hinge on that tiny little sheath holding his wrist tendon, and whether that holds up is far more important than Lind.

      Also, if Lind goes down, there’s Cooper, and if Cooper goes down, they could even go to an Adam Loewen, who will likely be splitting time between LF and 1B. And if all else fails, there’s always Mike McCoy.

      • Bautista will be fine. He just crushed a bunch of pimply kids in a homerun derby. (fingers crossed, now let’s never speak of it again)

        As for the replacements for Lind that you mentioned, they are all replacement level at best.
        Call me old fashioned but I want power out of a DH, I dont want Rajai or Boni hacking and running against lefties. Chicks dig the longball. If the timing is right and Minny, Chicago, Milwaukee or Seattle start to fade I’d love to get one of the aforementioned.

        2 months of Konerko/Hart/Morales…… can’t cost much more then a B-prospect can it.

    • Not cheap…he’s hit near or over .300 in his last 3 seasons and ops’d 977/906/857 in the same time. Plus if Santos throws like we know he can …….

  11. I’m not a doctor, but I play one on blog posts.

  12. The thing I’ll be looking for this year is anyone who is always practicing in a far off field, away from the prying eyes of the media. I remember hearing reports last year that Santos was “too ready” and they were tweaking things which is why he wasn’t in games or regular workouts. 2 weeks into the season and he’s done for the year, doesn’t pass the smell test obviously.

    So we’ll see in a few weeks, who has been kept out of the regular pack in the back fields and see how that player(s) ends up contributing for the season.

  13. I think Delabar could easily close if need be.

  14. Still have fresh in my memory that the past 2 seasons, there were spring training health questions about the Jays’ closer (Santos, Franisco). Santos barely pitched again last year and Francisco had a couple cold months to start the season.

    Not comparing these with Janssen, but now I cringe to hear this type of news.

  15. Rivera was also 39 after the 2008 season. Janssen is 31. That’s gotta count for something.

  16. TURN MORROW BACK INTO A CLOSER! SOME PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE MENTAL TOUGHNESS TO START! INJURIES AND INTANGIBLE BENEFITS!!!

  17. All we need to do now is get rid of that bum dustin mcgowan and Tell him to give the money back to.

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