Creating an excuse to give this post the most painfully obvious title ever, J.A. Happ was yet again a disaster today, failing to get a single out in the fourth inning, exiting the game having given up seven earned runs on twelve hits (no walks, though!). If he’s hurt and not telling anyone, mused the excellently Ashby-ish Joe Siddall on the radio broadcast, he’s not doing himself any favours.

It started off fairly well for Happ, too. Somewhat shaky and bailed out a bit by Erik Kratz erasing a Starling Marte single by throwing him out attempting to steal second (which, apparently, Blue Jays catchers are going to be allowed to do this year), but decently enough to create genuine worry that he may have been on his way to doing just enough to justify the Jays keeping him in the rotation. It all came undone in a four-run second inning, though, with singles and hard hit outs following throughout his final inning-plus of work. In all, Happ raised his spring ERA a mere fucking .32 of a run (per @Shifty169), up to a cock-mangling 20.57.

Good fucking lord of grief fucking.

And yet — get this! — according to a tweet from Barry Davis, Happ “says that he was told at the start of camp he was in the rotation, and no one has told him otherwise since.” Happ, he adds, “assumes he’s still in.”

He can’t possibly, though. Yet it’s not like he’s going to say too much negative otherwise, so even though I’m not sure what he has to gain by saying it, I have a hard time killing him for all that. But he does have a knack for not making it terribly difficult to figure out what he’s thinking by reading between the lines — something he showed to be adept at doing last year as he sat in limbo waiting for the club to realize that starting Ricky Romero wasn’t remotely tenable — telling Davis, according to a second tweet, “I’m not going to comment,” when asked if he finds it disturbing that no one has told him that he may not make the rotation.

He can’t possibly, though. Make the rotation, that is. And the thing about last year’s whole untenable proposition about Romero — who, at least when in big league games last spring, and not being shielded from those salivating to call him finished, put up a 6.23 ERA over 13 innings, giving up 17 hits and ten walks (compared to Happ’s 21 and nine over seven this year) — is that the Jays eventually decided that they had no choice but to throw Romero to the wolves anyway.

If you ask me, if they can stomach that desperate, doomed-to-fail experiment, I just don’t see how they can’t be willing to do the same with Dustin McGowan, who at least has a legitimate sparkle of upside in that fragile arm of his, and several reasons to see how the setup may actually work.

To wit:

- Though he missed the early part of camp and isn’t entirely stretched out, the club would have someone like Todd Redmond or Esmil Rogers (also brutal today, FYI) ready to pick him up in his first couple of starts of the season. (No, not to piggyback with him long-term, which would be a truly poor use of a roster spot by making the club’s long man unavailable because he’s locked into pitching behind the starter every fifth day).

- If he gets hurt at some point — which is obviously the fear with him — there’s a reasonable enough chance it will at least give someone like Marcus Stroman, or even Aaron Sanchez, enough time in the minors to be ready for a call-up to take his place, eliminating the need to ever start the likes of Redmond, Rogers, Happ, or any of the other unsexy candidates for the final rotation spot.

- Another mitigated consequence of his potentially getting hurt is the fact that he’s currently the club’s fourth best right-handed reliever, behind Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, and Sergio Santos. Plus, they have John Stilson and Marcus Stroman (should they choose to try him in a bullpen role at some point) waiting in the wings, along with whatever fodder remains after the rest of the rotation is sorted out. Obviously you’d hate to take McGowan out of the ‘pen only to see him get hurt again, but if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen, and you might as well try to squeeze this value out of him right now, when it’s really, really needed by the club. Plus, he wants to do it.

- Most importantly, he’s pitching really well — unlike… um… let’s see here… uh… everyone else in this Bataan Death March of a competition — and his arm is responding decently to the ramping up of his workload. So far so good, at least. And as for the performance, it’s been terrific. Granted, it’s a small sample and he’s not exactly facing Opening Day, AL East-calibre lineups, but once again today he looked good. Against Tigers minor leaguers he threw 62 pitches, 41 for strikes, over four innings, allowing just three hits, no walks, and striking out four.

John Lott was in Dunedin watching the game today, and spoke to McGowan afterwards, as well as Alex Anthopoulos, who eschewed the trip to Bradenton with the alleged big club and watched the Gord Ash-era first rounder pitch — and make of that what you will, especially considering that it was a big day for Happ as well.

The cautious optimism, I think, is evident simply in the fact that he isn’t ruling anything out. You worry about so much being down to McGowan’s reports on his own health, given that this, by all accounts, is his dream, and he can practically smell it. But as to AA’s question about what they do with him… um… if they’re supposedly planning on taking way too many relievers anyway, isn’t the answer obvious?

He got to 62 pitches today, and if all continues to feel good, he could get to 75 or so against more minor leaguers on March 30th, putting him in line to be ready to go to about 90 during the home opener on regular rest. That means really pushing it, and maybe isn’t the best idea given the history of that arm, so maybe those counts are a bit exaggerated, but still! He offers the club by far the biggest upside of any candidate, the risks, though very real, are mitigated in a number of ways, and… it’s just… fuck! Let’s see where this goes!

Plus, it’s not like giving the reins to McGowan changes anything as far as the guys who are out of options are concerned, either — at least not in the way that it would have if they went with someone already projected to be on the roster. It would simply mean that the eight-man bullpen they seem bound and determined to start the season with — which actually seems like a less dumb idea if they’re actually going to go with a starter who’ll be limited by pitch counts in his first few starts —  will be comprised of three of Happ, Redmond, Rogers, or Jeremy Jeffress, along with Janssen, Delabar, Santos, Aaron Loup, and Brett Cecil.

Shit, as bad as he’s been this spring, having a lefty in Happ who can go multiple innings might even eventually prove an asset.

Of course, I wouldn’t be entirely shocked to see Janssen and his 86 mph fastball start the season on the shelf, or Happ admitting to a flare-up of his wonky back — *wink* — or some other sort of roster machination to change things before the Opening Day crew is truly set. All kinds of guys have become available this week, both broken-down rotation options — Erik Bedard, Scott Baker, Randy Wolf — and shitty utility guys — Ty Wigginton, Kevin Frandsen, Jamey Carroll — who the club could conceivably throw into the mix here as we get nearer and nearer to the 2 AM portion of the dance. But even without changes this could work!

It all depends on McGowan’s arm, though, and how it holds up over the next couple of days, as well as on Sunday, when he’d make his final tuneup before joining the rotation. It’s hard not to hope really fucking hard that it can happen — not just for McGowan, but for the team itself, despite the Happian level of delusion it takes to really believe he really may have just magically appeared, ready to assume his career like it’s the spring of 2008. And if it doesn’t? I dunno? It’s not like Todd Redmond is going anywhere.

And if not now for Dustin McGowan and that supremely tantalizing arm of his, when? By which I, of course, mean, uh… why the fuck not right fucking now? Does it make too much sense? Because Happ, after today’s performance simply cannot be a serious option to make a big league start in a little over a week.

Comments (230)

  1. i dunno, I´m still feeling comfortable with our internal options.

  2. “In all, Happ raised his spring ERA a mere fucking .32 of a run (per @Shifty169), up to a cock-mangling 20.57.”

    Holy hell, what an excellent sentence.

  3. When does the priority shift from asset management to trying to win the game you’re playing that day? i’d love to see the jays say fuck it, and let one of the out of option guys walk, if they have success someone else, who cares. McGowan can either be healthy and pitch, or he can’t, he seems to be the only one in the group who can get batters out with pitches in the zone.

    • They don’t lose anyone if McGowan and Happ flip spots. Unless you count Jeffress as someone.

      • Redmond has options?

        • You don’t lose him either.

          5 SP: Dickey, Hutchison, Buehrle, Morrow, McGowan
          8 RP: Janssen, Santos, Delabar, Loup, Cecil, Redmond, Rogers, Happ

          9 POS: Navarro, Lind, Goins, Reyes, Lawrie, Cabrera, Rasmus, Bautista, Encarnacion
          3 BN: Kratz, Izturis, Sierra/Tuiasosopo

          • fair enough,
            thats an awfully thin bench but you’re right.

            • It’s a ridiculously thin bench, but they seem intent on going with the eight-man bullpen, at least for now. Workable (maybe?) given McGowan’s pitch limits, but definitely not a good long-term idea.

          • Say what you will, Stoets, but I just can’t think of Bautista as a Piece of Shit.

      • I count Jeffress as someone….he’s been great since finally getting diagnosed and treated properly for his epilepsy.

        • Jeffress is like a pro line ticket. You might hit a sweet return if everything goes right. But if something goes awry, then you just lost your investment.

          Losing Jeffress would sting. But there are plenty of power arm RH pitchers in the organization.

          The bigger question is Happ. Do you cut bait with him at this point? I think that it’s going to be very close.

          • You keep Happ… at least initially. If McGowen’s pitch count can’t reach standard levels by his first few starts then you need an extra long-man in the pen for the first few weeks.

  4. Referring to Dusty as McG feels a list title too Charlie’s Angel for my taste…

  5. I can remember being so jacked about McG being a big part of our rotation for years to come back in the day.

    Don’t you have to do it even if it means 4-5 inning starts for a couple weeks?

    I’d take a solid 4 from Dusty over a roulette roll from one of the other bags we have lining up!

  6. Welp. I was originality against this because I felt that it’s a death sentence for his arm.

    But to be the 4th best rhp option out of the pen really isn’t valuable to the team. A starter is really valuable and there’s literally no other even decent options.

    And who fucking knows maybe it works out. The guy is sitting 92-96, so there is still life in the arm, maybe all the rehab and hard work is going to pay off.

    Or whatever

    • It’s funny because when McGowan first came back 3 years or so ago, the team said that McGowan could never be used as a reliever because it would cause too much stress on his arm.

      I’m calling BS and the fact is that if he’s going to break down again, it doesn’t matter if he’s a starter or a reliever, it will happen in both roles.

      • I remember that too. Makes you wonder if it hasn’t really been figured out.

        • Of course it hasn’t been figured out.

          If it was we would know why Dylan Bundy (he of the perfect mechanics and form) had TJ surgery last year while Chris Sale continues to throw 200 innings a year as an ace starter.

          • What do Dylan Bundy and Chris Sale have to do with the arm stress involved with being a reliever or a starter? It could certainly be possible to say that being a reliever puts more stress on the arm than being a starter, taking into account individual pitcher variation in terms of susceptibility to injury. Even if your sentence were sensible in some way, naming a pair of cases proves nothing.

            • Proves that no matter what we think we know about arm injuries to pitchers….. We really don’t know that much. Sale’s mechanics have had him pegged as an injury risk for years while Bundy’s are some of the cleanest in the game .

              McGowan likely has more injury risk as a starter based on pure volume of pitches thrown….. But quantifying that extra risk is next to impossible. Let him start.

  7. Agreed; lets give McGowan a real chance since he clearly has the best upside. I suspect Happ may go on the DL given so many being without options and his likely refusal to go to AAA (despite that being the best load for him).

    A solid McGowan would be fucking sweet; still rooting for the guy and yeah, love those with swing and miss stuff.

    Should be interesting to see how this all plays itself out.

    • Doesn’t have to be demoted unless you’re really desperate to keep Jeffress. As mentioned, if they’re going with an eight-man ‘pen — which is justifiable to start given McGowan’s pitch counts — you can fit Happ, Redmond, and Rogers all in.

      • I know but right now Happ will see limited bullpen “mop up” duty and I dont think that’s the best way for him to get back on track.

        AAA is where he belongs right now, but I get your point.

        • Can’t send him to AAA because he’ll refuse the assignment. I’m fine with him as a reliever.

          • That could be ok for him. If in fact he isnt injured. He could build success 2 IPs at a time.

          • Would he give up his salary if he refused it?

            There were some questions abiutctiusxin the comments a couple posts ago but don’t think we ever got to a for sure answer.

            He wouldn’t give up $5 mill to be a free agent…. But certainly would decline to assignment if he gets to keep his salary (which I think is how it goes)

      • Everyone seems to be overlooking the possibility that Happ might be better than Morrow. The starting pitching is a disaster.

  8. Randy Wolf just got released by the Mariners because he wouldn’t sign a 45-day advance-consent release form (whatever the hell that is).

    Think he’s a palatable option as a fifth or short-term guy?

    • ETA – this tweet:

      Bob Dutton ‏@TNT_Mariners 8m

      LHP Randy Wolf on release by #Mariners: “They told me I made the team, but they wanted me to sign a 45-day advance-consent release….

      • Follow up tweet:

        Shannon Drayer ‏@shannondrayer 3m

        Wolf said Mariners tried to renegotiate w/out new clause but he was uncomfortable w/fact that they were renegotiating when they had a deal.

    • I think there’s a very good possibility he’s fucking terrible.

  9. Can Casey put together a few saves and tickle 89-90 on the gun so we can move him for something valuable before his arm falls off.

    The way he shakes his arm on the bump leaves me feeling like any outing could be his last…

    • I noticed that too but after watching an interview with Casey, there is a reason that he does that – he is keeping his arm loose. Casey said he approaches every game with intensity and a battle and it reflects with how many strikes he throws.

      His norm has always been to throw around the 90mph range anyways so not worried about his dip in velo seeing as he started late. I personally would have rather seen Santos shipped for Anderson or another starter.

  10. I don’t know if the piggy back option is quite as silly as you make it out to be. Depends how you do it I think. If you tell Rogers or Redmond to be ready to throw 3 innings every time McGowan pitches, you could still use them for one inning stints at other points throughout the rotation cycle. You make a fair point about the long man in the pen, but at some point the Jays are going to have to realize that their AAA team is in Buffalo and start using that shuttle.

    Of course it’s all a moot point, as they Jays aren’t going to try it.

  11. “But this could work!”…I know you mean McGowan, but I’m sorry, there is not even the tiniest piece of me that believes that this rotation can come close to competing this season. It really sucks because our offense is actually going to be insane. When I think of our SP I actually get that feeling where you feel embarrassed for someone.

    • Nonsense.

      Look at the rotation Baltimore competed with in this division the last few years, or the Yankees. Or the scrubs being handed a lot of innings by the Rays and Red Sox, even.

      • Yep; most save TB have back-end question marks. If dickey, Buerhle and Hutchison can start strong, give us some time to figure McGowan, et al. out, it may not be a complete disaster.

      • Thank you for this. I’ve been lifted from the depths of a disappointed fanbase.

        No seriously, you just made me really happy (no pun intended). Happ…Happy? No? Tough crowd.

      • I always need to be put into perspective when it comes to starting rotations. It is easy to compare a rotation to the LA Dodgers or Detroit Tigers of the league but the realty is that solid 1-5 rotation don’t even always pan out. Look at the 2012 LA Angles rotation of Weaver-Wilson-Haren-Santana and later on Greinke. That team didn’t even make a playoffs.

  12. Embassing is going a little far.

    Dickey will be better. Morrow will pull his shit together. Buehrle will be himself. Hutch and Dusty are solid enough backend options.

    As Stoeten highlights, The 4-5 guys for much of the division have been suspect for years. If the Jays mash the way they should, 5IP 4ER will get er done.

    Dusty isn’t throwing 90 pitches for another 3 weeks. Let him throw 75-80 a few times and respond well.

    • You know, with this offence if Buerhle can keep his ERA around 4, he could easily win 15 games. How many marginal Yankee and Bosox pitchers have we seen win 15 games?

      Phil Hughes anyone?? Didn’t he win 18 with a plus 4 ERA a couple years ago?

  13. “Bataan death march of a competition…” What a great line to describe the situation. LMAO

  14. Erik Bedard pitched 151 innings and made 26 starts with the God-awful Astros and managed a 0.9 WAR. He’s not exactly Clayton Kershaw but hell the guy seems to actually stay healthy – he has made atleast 23 starts in 5 of last 7 seasons.

    I can’t help but feel more confident with another guy who has experience set in our rotation to start the year instead of guys who need absolutely everything to go right for them to be able to stay healthy (see McGowan and Morrow).

    I would be a hell of a lot more comfortable with a rotation of Dickey-Hutch-Buerhle-Morrow-Bedard and keep McGowan and Redmond (as long relievers) in the pen for when one of those 5 go down.

    • Bedard is straight up terrible.

    • Sorry, how is 0.9 WAR in 151 innings a good thing?

      • It’s not much, but its also not -0.1 or 0.6 or -0.9 which is what the trio of Happ, Redmond and Rodgers did for us last season.

        I think I was stressing more of the stability and low risk that Bedard represents, even if his ceiling is not as high as any internal options, his basement is set and you know what you are getting.

        • Redmond put up 0.6 WAR in less than half the innings, with better peripherals all around. Bedard is turning 35 with numbers all trending the wrong direction.

          I’ll go with Redmond.

  15. Sure as fuck give McGowan the rotation spot. The way i see it, he is a very similar pitcher to Jeff Smajizasndfkjasdnf (however you spell that) and we were willing to give up at least one of our top pitching prospects for him to the cubs. DM wants to start and really the very worst thing that happens is he ruins his arm again, which if it does was going to happen anyways. I think he would rather that shot than his 1-2-3 relief work.

  16. despite the shitty performance that spawned it, one of my favourite posts ever…

    “a cock-mangling 20.57″

    “Good fucking lord of grief fucking”

    “this Bataan Death March of a competition ”

    all helped me briefly laugh over the fact that the guy we HANDED the #4 spot has been a complete Titanic-size disaster…

    and every word of this post rings true. If they are so determined to continue this 8-man bullpen bullshit, how can they NOT use the excessive arms (someone ALWAYS ends up rotting away for a week with this shit) to get whatever they can out of McGowan with a temporary piggyback (April)? it’s sad that we have to wish upon the remaining bullets McGowan has in that fragile, wonderful arm of his, but given the alternative, and the slight chance that something GOOD could happen for this team, they HAVE to do it, right?

    so why am I so scared they’re going to fuck this up?

    • And every one of them words rang true
      And glowed like burning coal
      Pouring off of every page
      Like it was written in my soul from me to you
      Tangled up in blue

  17. Mr. Stoeten – if you read this could you please remind me which section Jonah Keri and his ilk are setting up in at the Big O this weekend? Totally forgot.

  18. 2009: 0 IP
    2010: 0 IP
    2011: 21 IP
    2012: 0 IP
    2013: 25.2 IP
    2014: ?

    • You forgot his minor league innings:

      2009: 0 IP
      2010: 0 IP
      2011: 56.1 IP
      2012: 0 IP
      2013: 37.2 IP
      2014: ?

  19. Very entertaining Stoeten. So I’ll need you to start pulling weekends.


  20. Mcgowan shouldn’t start and Happ shouldn’t either,
    Happ should be doing mopup duty and eating up those innings.

    Its just a really shitty situation.

  21. Didn’t the Jays effectively piggy-back Jack Morris with Hentgen and Leiter in 92 or 93?

  22. Assuming they leave McGowan in the bullpen, do you think they would pick up his 4 million dollar option next year to be one of many right handed relievers on the team? I doubt it. He wants to start. He’s stepped up better than any other pitcher who was trying out for the spot. Everybody agrees he throws a very good array of pitches with fire and movement. Besides, having Dickey bookended by McGowan and Hutchison would be awesome.

    Dickey, Hutchison, Buerhle, Morrow and McGowan gives me a lot more hope that the Jays will contend this year than any other pitcher vying for the fifth starter.

    • That may well be why he wants so badly to start. I mean… they might, but this gives him the best chance to stick and to make some more money, even, assuming the weighted balls are doing the trick like we all totally don’t believe is going to be the case (but we hope).

      And yeah, that’s as good as it gets with this crew. And in some crazy ideal parallel universe where shit actually works right for this team and Morrow and McGowan stay healthy, that’s actually a pretty fucking decent rotation, dare I say it.

      • Optimism!

        It looks good on ya!

        With all the negativity surrounding this off season I almost miss the years when the Jays weren’t expected to do shit, and we could celebrate the small victories lol.

        I just can’t wait to watch some real baseball for fucks sake.

  23. So you continue to stretch McGowan out during the regular season, in the rotation. He’d be at 75 pitches on Opening Day to play it safe. You’re telling me you couldn’t plan to have Brett Cecil or Esmil Rogers or (god forbid) JA Happ throw 2-3 innings as a piggy-back for 3 or 4 more games until McGowan can conmfortably go 6+?

    It can’t be that fucking hard.

  24. Happ “says that he was told at the start of camp he was in the rotation,…”

    I remember that news item. I think it was Gibby or maybe a reporter saying Gibby said that.

  25. Braves picked up Harang right quick and Jays need SP for rotation. I don’t get it. So, Happ sucks so hard AA finally goes and gets Shawn Hill (?) from Toledo? Jays season is not looking good at all. Hopefully RSox aren’t as good as last year, hopefully Yanks suck too, hopefully Orioles have injuries – Rays will run away with AL East.

  26. Yep, good post. Give McG a chance. His upside has always been there. Amazing that after all these years his stuff still rates out as it does.

    The icing on the cake is that he wants to start. If I were him, I would too.

  27. Look at that shit eating grin.

  28. So let’s get this straight, AA gives happ that extension to placate him when he was sent to AAA last year but now he has the option to refuse it? Great move alex. Couldn’t you have made it a team option? Maybe guaranteed 1 mil or so. This from a guy who complains about not seeing value on any free agent yet has no problem giving happ an extra 6 mil and izturis 9 mil, guys who would be waived if otherwise, then complains about giving a 2nd year to his STARTING catcher. Mind boggling.

    • I can’t blame AA for providing that extension. It was good insurance. Hindsight and all.

  29. Yanks and phillies game on MLB (channel 415)…Pineda announced as yanks 5th starter. Ah fuck.

  30. I’m quite uncomfortable with the way this team is being built. It’s on a hope and a whim and I for one am having a hard time believing any of this bullshit any more. Dump the Beest give AA until the trade deadline. I am drunk again but so what. Rambling onwards with the Bills owner passing away are the Rogers sharks swimming yet ? Sorry …gotta go Mrs Tom W wants me to speak to her.

    • I’ve mostly made peace with the upcoming season. Keys to this for me are as follows:

      - Alcohol: Beer, not whiskey. Whiskey = hangovers, and hangovers make me angry
      - Don’t read AA quotes or listen to his slick-tongued demon-speak
      - Ignore feature news stories on marginal talent
      - Booster Juice, Chicken Wing, and Melkman (and Cletus)
      - Fuckin’ 200 innings of Buehrle
      - Dreaming on McGowan’s nasty stuff
      - Never get off the boat

      • After leaving the boat in late august last year, my mantra for this season is:
        Never Get On The Boat

  31. I have an obvious hate for the bawston red sawx but I’m kinda rooting for Sizemore.

    Also I think Tom W drinks more than I do… Which is hard to do.

  32. Give Happ time…

  33. It’s early.

  34. In other news the Indians announced they will start the season with Carlos Santana playing 3B and some guy named Gomes behind the dish …imagine that

    • Well, Santana wasn’t going to catch much anyway, but… yeah, that sucks. At the same time, teams miss on guys. Doesn’t make losing him OK, but Bautista, Encarnacion, Lind… all of those guys could have been had very very easily, or on the waiver wire, at some point, and they just weren’t valued anywhere close to doing what they’ve done in the past few years (or just last year for Lind, I suppose). Rasmus too was undervalued, I think, though for obvious reasons. Huge parts of this core where, if you’d been asking at the time of the deals (or Lind’s passing through waivers) what they’re now worth, you have never, never got it.

      It happens, I mean.

      • What bugs me more than Gomes is that the Indians aren’t afraid to play a good bat in Santana at 3B. Meanwhile in bluejay land…Jose? Get in RF! Edwin? Get over to 1B/Dh…Lawrie? You got 2b written all over you but you’re playing third…who’s at 2B? Next question!!!…

      • Except it seems that the only reason to get rid of gomes was to clear the deck of every catching option so that golden boy would have no competition. Would that deal have happened now? I don’t think so.

      • At least they’ve got some decent depth now with Navarro and Kratz. Thank fuck they finally got rid of that clown with the .227 OBP.

      • Shit happens of course, and players blossom in ways you don’t foresee. It’s not that AA badly misread Gomes that bugs me — it’s that he so badly misread Arencibia. Gomes seemed expendable because J.P. was being groomed as the franchise catcher. But hey, he hilt bombs. I guess we all figured he was going to cut down on strike outs over time and learn to walk occasionally. Go figure

  35. I would like nothing more to see Hutchison blossom into a solid starter or have McGowan be healthy and productive in the rotation. At the same time…this is what we’re counting on? A Tommy John recoveree who was never a serious prospect to begin with and who’s barely been average at Triple-A, let alone the majors? A 33-year-old pitcher who has only 46 big league innings over the last five years?

    Ideally McG and Hutchison would be rotation depth but the sad thing is, if something’s really wrong with Morrow, then these are our third and fourth starters! Then you have to dive even deeper into the dumpster for a fifth starter! It boggles the mind that over an entire offseason, the Jays completely failed to bring in at least one semi-reliable starter to eat innings, if nothing else.

    “We don’t know yet. We’re taking the time we have … to see what we have.” Ladies and gentlemen, your motto for the 2013-2014 offseason.

    • What were the Red Sox counting on last year? It’s not the worst start, but yes, things have to break right.

  36. Seems to me that the Sanchez fellow is a better bet than both pitchers mentioned above.
    I’m not nearly as familiar with baseball as the vast majority of people here, but I don’t understand the notion that young players have a lot to learn. They either throw strikes and get people out or they don’t.
    Why favour an injury-riddled liability over a 21 year-old kid who beat the shit out of everyone in Spring Training?

    • He walked over four batters per nine innings in single-A last year. He mostly faced minor leaguers in Spring Training. Let’s let him show he can dominate Double-A first.

      He also only struck out seven per nine last year. Didn’t look ready until the AFL/spring training, and like I say, the competition level was suspect. Not to say don’t like him, but let’s not go nuts over 30-odd innings against who knows what.

      Plus, bringing him now means he hits free agency sooner, and for what? A shiny but ultimately somewhat wasteful first year (not necessarily ready, going to be limited in terms of innings).

      • Exactly. Sanchez has the possibility of being the home-grown elite pitccher that we’ve all waited for for so long. let’s not get over-amped and fuck this up. If he comes to MLB quickly by killing AA and possibly AAA – then great. But lets let that happen first before we thrust him onto the big stage.

  37. We shall find a solid 5th starter before they find Malay flight 370

  38. Delabar or Santos to close if Janssen is delayed?

  39. Santos

  40. If 1 of the really smart teams (Oakland or TB) were in our spot I see them trading Joey Batts for a package that includes a well-scouted arm. Then riding a strong rotation and whatever runs they can muster to being within 3-5 games of the playoffs in August.

  41. If this team doesn’t stay healthy we are fucked.

    • Due to drunkenness and reinstalling a linux thing I have responded to a couple of comments that didn’t belong. Seek them out and decide which one belongs to you and have my people call your people. Stoeten let’s do lunch.

  42. i get that piggybacking is maybe not the best way to maximize the use of your roster spots, but if it gives you quality innings every 5th day and keeps McGowan’s arm healthy, isn’t that more the point? I don’t get why this idea should be panned so easily. They’re going to carry an 8 man pen anyways – they can keep two long men if they want.

    • They no longer have a choice.

    • It should be okay for a while, but with Lind’s splits and maintenance days, you are going to need more than a 3 man bench.

      For a while to start the year, it makes sense to do, it also looks like its their only choice until the proper amount of time passes to stretch Mcgowan out.

      $10 bucks says Dusty’s first game on a strict 80 pitch limit he’s pulled with a no hitter in the 6th

      • that would be amazing.

        what I worry about McGowan is what his innings limit would look like even if he does stay healthy. he’s such an outlier on the injury scale I’m pretty sure no one has any idea what his arm might be geared for. 100 innings? 120??

        if he’s pitching the lights out in mid-July do you pull the plug to save his arm, or do you keep rolling the dice and testing fate by letting him pitch? There’s all kinds of ethical debates they might have.

        Of course, he has to pitch well and stay healthy before we ever get to that point.

  43. Don’t think I have ever seen a game, spring training or otherwise where a team gets 29 fukin hits in just 8 at bats, averaging close to 4 per inning!
    Not only did Happ earn himself aone way ticket to oblivion with his shitshow but Rogers was hilarious for his couple of innings and may get DFA’d for his ttrouble.
    IMO, neither one of these two belong on the blue jays at this time. What is the point of keeping arms if all they can do is throw the fukin ball ? Jeffress is another one-throws hard,great arm, but fuk, where have you heard that before?
    So, based on the spring stats, if AA is not fibbing, and seeing as how Happ outpiched, in shittiness Romero’s pathetic pitching of last spring, my prediction is that Happ, Rogers and Jeffress are being sent on a train to the land of the chicken wing. Hamg on, have to have more wine.
    Now, Rogers w/ h to be DFA before he could be moved as would Jeffress-so be it.
    Happ, I believe can refuse to be sent down, and become a FA. He won’t do that and forfeit 5m as he can’t command that on the open market even if he had Boras. Mind you, it will look bad having starters in Buffalo making 8 and 5m respectively while a guy in MLB rotattion ( Hutch) makes .5k
    Now, I’m cheering hard for Dusty and I hope Drew does well but man, the depth on this team is shallow (see what I did there?). More merlot,please! A 2b that may hit .175?
    Now that will drive me to drink. THe boys scoring a ton of runs with Melky getting comeback player of the year award-that will make me drink to celebrate and turn me into another Tom W, and the mywife gets pissedat me and wants to talk- no argue, no tell me what to do-Hey Tom is that how it goes
    THe sesaon is close now-go Jays but fuk man,a decent 2b would make me drink less.
    Forward Soviet!

    • There will never be a soul on this planet that could accomplish the feats that I have set out before you fukstik.

    • Worst shutout defeat: 0-16 (July 25, 2012 vs. Oakland Athletics)
      Worst losing margin: 22 (two times, most recently: September 28, 2000 vs. Baltimore Orioles)
      Most runs allowed: 24 (August 25, 1979 vs. California Angels)

      Shit happens,
      It’s baseball

  44. McGowan is like the kid from Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory.

    I hope he lands it big with his health and takes over the world.

  45. Another advantage to having Redmond piggy back McGowan for the first few starts (as McG builds up his pitch count) is that it keep Redmond stays on a regular 5 day routine.

    In the case that McGowan does not succeed as a starter Redmond can just slide right in to the starting spot.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t Redmond been the best between himself, Happ, and Rogers this spring?

    This just makes the most sense in a plan A, plan B kinda way, with minimal disruption.

  46. Wow!
    Such bat!
    So amaze!
    Much ball struck!
    Very offense!

  47. If AA promised Happ he’d start and that ends up being why Happ starts, we could always have McGowan as Happ’s long man for when he inevitably gets pulled early. Then it would be fairly easy 2-3 starts into the season to just bump McGowan up to starter, and the long relief sessions will work to up McGowan’s pitch count to transition him to starter.

  48. Re: Piggybacking starters, I don’t see why they wouldn’t do it if the options situations mean they go with an eight man pen. If McGowan’s the guy it would help them stretch him out gradually and perhaps keep his outings on the short side even once he is more stretched out. If it’s Redmond, Rogers or Happ it could prevent them from ever having to face a lineup a third time, at which point mediocre starters tend to be throwing batting practice anyways.

    Anyways, I wrote a whole bunch more words about it here (http://bluejaysblackboard.blogspot.ca/2014/03/making-lemonade-out-of-eight-man-bullpen.html) if anyone wants to argue about it or anything!

    • Not directed specifically at you BJBB but can we please stop with the piggybacking talk.

      We all know this isn’t going to happen. It’s kind of dumb to guarantee McGowan will throw 3 innings and then Redmobdcwill throw 3 every fifth day. What if McGowan is rolling? What if Redmond sucks? Or vice versa? What if Morrow or Hutch blow up and need a Redmond to pick up their start for a few innings?

      Give McGowan a pitch count and stick to it. Plan to need more arms that day, but don’t limit yourself to Redmond every time just because. McGowan could be at 80 pitches by his first turn anyway which would hopefully carry him through 5 innings.

      And if you don’t agree with this, do you really think an innovative thing like this will be done by this regime? The ones moving away from defensive shifts while the rest of the league moves towards them? Doubt It.

      • What if McGowan is rolling?

        Doesn’t matter, they gotta be prudent in protecting his health if they are going to start him.

        He gets 70 to 80 pitches depending on the intensity of the outing. Even if he builds up well to around 90 pitches or so by the end of April due to how big a K guy he is likely he’ll be at approximately 5 innings per outing, 4 innings on a tough day.

        What if Redmond sucks?

        Look long and hard at the info in the link below of Redmond inning by inning. As a starter (or guy who works every 5th day) last year Redmond was nails the first time thru the order, or the first 3 innings. His last ST start gave more weight to this continuing.


        What if Morrow or Hutch blow up and need a Redmond to pick up their start for a few innings?

        You still have Roges and Happ as the 7th and 6th men in an 8 man pen to be long men on those days. Redmond isn’t needed those days.

        Also, the decent chunk of innings soaked up by McGowan and Redmond likely will give most of the pen the day off on the 5th day, giving Gibby extra bullets to shoot if any of the other 4 starters have a bad day at the office.

        Taking the bench spot of the 25th man (the worst contributor on your team) and turning into a pitcher (Redmond), then and adding it to your weakest SP link (5th starter) and turning it into potentially 200 plus innings of decent pitching is incredibly innovative.

        • Well I was all set to respond but you pretty much nailed my thinking exactly.

          It’s only something I’d suggest since they have eight guys in the pen. I wouldn’t suggest it if they had seven. I don’t know if improving the fifth starter outweighs the value of a fourth bench player, but I think piggybacking the fifth starter is a far better use for the eighth reliever than just carrying a guy that pitches once every two weeks.

          • Think of it in the context of what most every other team in baseball gets from there 5th starter, if it works out it a big advantage for the Jays.

            There are the special variables in this circumstance that keeps this from becoming a rule…

            McGowans upside vs. fragile health

            Redmonds ability to be very good once thru an order

            The depth of the pen that allows the Jays to allocate the resource (Redmond) to this special assignment.

            The fact that aside from LHP vs. Lind and Goins being PH for, the rest of the Jays line up are of everyday and every situation quality.

            If you can get 200 strong innings from these two guys I think the trade off is more than worth it.

  49. When McGowan was coming back from his arm injury (2011 or so) I remember that the doctors were less worried about the amount of innings and more worried about the frequency of him throwing/warming up. They suggested he’d be better off as a starter than a reliever because of how often relievers have to warm up and less concerned about the innings.

    If that was the injury concern, and McGowan went through last year as a reliever, shouldn’t we all be encouraged that he could stay healthy as a starter considering he would be warming less than half the time he was last year?

    Maybe I’m just looking for something to believe in but from an arm perspective, there is reason for optimism.

    With McGowan’s luck, he’ll cut himself shaving and bleed out but at least he’ll have lived the dream.

  50. Looks like Thole made the team over Kratz

    • Jeffress has also made the team… Tuisosopo has not

    • Don’t quite understand this unless they thought Kratz’s catching of the knuckle ball was so much worse than Thole. Kratz seemed better all around.

      Also it seems Jeffress made the team. Wonder if Morrow is starting the season on the DL or they are releasing Rogers.

    • I don’t get Thole making the team over Kratz. I thought Kratz was at least equal defensively, if not better? And there’s no question about the bat being better. What happened to “Taking the Best Team North”?

      • I wonder if R.A. put his foot down and insisted on Thole…

        • I’m drawing blanks, who caught Wakefield?? Is he still in the league and availible??

          • Doug Mirabelli. Once when the Sox re-acquired him he got a police escort to Fenway. It was pretty embarrassing.

          • Doug Mirabelli, and no he’s not. More recently, though, George Kottaras caught Wakefield for a year or two. He was a free agent this offseason, and I was hoping they would sign him.

        • It was probably a combination of Dickey being more comfortable with Thole, plus Thole’s higher salary which tilted the decision in his favour.

      • I think there’s plenty of question as to whether or not Kratz’s bat is better.

        I wonder what, if any, impact Seitzer had on these moves.

  51. It’s official.
    McGowan gets the start inTO.

    • Happ to the DL which at least puts off having to send him down for now. Not surprised Morrow didn’t land there though I think he should be there too to start the season. Guess we will have too see how well he does in Montreal. Be interesting to see what will happen if he has another meh outing.

      • ST may be over and the opening day roster set but there’s a lot of guys who are gonna need to fight for positions during the year.

  52. Happ will start the season on the DL (bad case of left arm shittiness).

  53. Mike Wilner ‏@Wilnerness590 ·3m
    #Bluejays 13man pitching staff Dickey, Hutchison, Buehrle, Morrow, McGowan, Janssen, Santos, Delabar, Cecil, Loup, Redmond, Rogers, Jeffress

  54. Mike Wilner ‏@Wilnerness590 ·now
    #Bluejays position players: Navarro, Thole, Lind, Encarnacion, Goins, Izturis, Reyes, Lawrie, Cabrera, Rasmus, Bautista, Sierra

  55. So are they taking the best team north?

    Maybe more interestingly,who will still be here on Aug.1?

    • They are taking what they can work with. It will be interesting to see who is here on Aug 1, but if I were ownership I would wait to the end of the season to make any big decisions. I do not want a GM who is going to be fired to make a trade to try to save his job if this goes poorly.

  56. something “we can all feel good about”

  57. Its a wonder here in the states when I say who my favorite team is I still get laughed at. Honestly its Mcgowan or bust at this point for the 5th spot. JA Happ has had one good fluke season in his career and is an embarassment. Im glad to see the haul we got for Doc is paying dividends for us :(. Honestly wtf is Drabeks deal, he was cant miss middle rotation guy at the least. It seems we only get injury proned guys in all the trades we ever do.

    • Uhh, we got Bautista for some chap named Robinson Diaz and the EE trade for Rolen has also worked out rather splenderific for the Jays. The Cletus deal is a pretty sweet one as well.

      Trades are hit-and-miss. You win some, you lose some.

      • ee has been the only exception to the injury bug, but yea getting joey bats for a bag of balls was great

  58. Somebody go tell Stoeten to wake the fuck up.Rise and shine.Get some hair of the dog.

  59. That may be the worst bench I’ve ever seen. Sure it doesn’t mean a ton, but I’m gonna be pissed when it’s late in the game and the Jays have no moves to make.
    At least with all the off days in April they can just run the starting nine out every game. Maybe by May they’ll call up a fourth bench guy.

    • I highly doubt the Jays are going to carry the 8 man BP for the full year.

      • I doubt that too, but how long are they going to? In a season where they need to squeeze out every possible win they can having a three-man bench for any length of time seems kinda ridiculous.
        If they lose a couple games because they had no one to pinch hit for Goins, or because they couldn’t pinch run for a guy it’s not gonna be fun.

        • There’s a couple of different scenerios.Jefferess could be snuck through waivers a week or two into the season once other teams rosters are set.A month into the season,injuries throughout the league may dictate what happens,who performs in AA.Etc.

          Forgot to add IMHO.Nobody knows for sure,

  60. Please sign Stephen Drew after one week where goins will hit .150 to start the season.

  61. Oh man, when Dusty pitches 5 shutout innings vs the yanks Friday night everyone’s gonna be changin their tune


  62. Wilner,Blair seem to think it was Dickey who pressed for Thole to make the team over Kratz.They thought and heard from coaching staff that Kratz made for better back up.

  63. So, if healthy,The starting 9 defensively is pretty good.
    Offensively,1-4 is fantastic,1-7 is great.
    Bullpen is considered to be one of the better ones in MLB.
    Starting pitching is meh.
    And the bench sucks.
    Bring it on.
    5 more sleeps.

    • “Starting pitching is meh”
      I wish I shared your optimism.

      RA and MB are what they are and that is pretty good.
      Hutch is a hope and a prayer off TJS.
      Dusty is a hope and a longer prayer.
      Morrow is a question mark followed by three exclamation marks.

      IMHO, the starting pitching has a long way to go to reach “meh.”

      • And then you get your “innings” problem. Of Morrow, McGowan, and Hutch, who gets to 100, 120, 150 IPs? I’m not sure I like the idea of just sending any of them out there and saying “Throw til your arm falls off”. If they all get to the end of July, it’ll be real interesting.

      • There’s a lot of upside and a lot of risk in that rotation. I also don’t mind the idea of having guys like Redmond, Rogers and Happ who can make the odd start here and there to spell someone who’s on an innings limit or needs some extra rest here and there.

        I understand being down on Dickey, but he’s still only one year removed from being the reigning Cy Young winner, and last year he wasn’t healthy. I think “pretty good” and “he is what he is” is underselling him a little bit.

  64. If Dickey’s that much more comfortable throwing to Thole than Kratz, I’m thinking the runs saved would probably outweigh the projected ~10-ish downgrade in wRC+ in what, a hundred PAs?

    Kratz is really nice depth to have in Buffalo.

  65. Such a feel-good story. Can’t wait to cheer McGowan on against the Wanks.

  66. So…Josh Thole is the Jays backup catcher it would appear.

  67. Jays rotation ranked #18 on Fangraphs. Loved the write-up:

    “I’m not sure there’s a higher variance rotation anywhere in baseball. For nearly every pitcher on this team, you could make a somewhat compelling case for almost any outcome. Mark Buehrle has a long track record of consistently outperforming his peripherals, and his peripherals aren’t terrible; he’s also a 35 year old with an 84 mph fastball in Toronto. R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young two years ago, but he was basically an average pitcher last year and turned 39 at the end of last year. Brandon Morrow is a longtime enigma. Drew Hutchison is a rookie working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Dustin McGowan’s arm is held together with scotch tape; not even the good kind, the cheap generic version you get at the dollar store.

    So, yeah, maybe the Blue Jays rotation will be average. Or maybe it will be amazing. Or maybe it will be terrible. I have no idea. This feels like an optimistic forecast, but then again, these guys all have talent and some track record of success. It wouldn’t be that weird if Dickey’s knuckler went back to being incredible, Buehrle outperformed his FIP, and a couple of top prospects finally were healthy enough to show why they were top prospects. It also just wouldn’t be that weird if soft-tossing senior citizens got lit up and broken pitchers stayed broken. This rotation is basically just one big bag of who the hell knows.”

    • So you’re telling me we just have to get high quality scotch tape and McGowan will be fine?

    • From a fans perspective, I love this.

      There is something actually to cheer and hope for.

      To me, that’s baseball.

  68. Anyone hitting up the game today? My gf is from Dunedin, been showing me a couple neat spots. We’re gonna have a couple beers on a pier off Edgewater along the intercoastal. Monkey army unite

  69. Really glad they were able to hold on to Jeffress. It’s along year and his depth will most certainly get used.

    Is Tomo Ohka still in the picture for AAA?, will Kratz get some knuckle action with him?

  70. Toronto Blue Jays Home Opener Final :

    New York Yankees 10 – Toronto Blue Jays 3

    report : ” Dusty Mccgowan doesnt make it out of the first inning surrendering 10 earned runs and get relegated back to single A to work on his command with Ricky Romero ”

    reality check time boys prepare for the worst.

  71. Not that I am saying I want Happ in the rotation or any of the other people struggling in spring training……but……I absolutely love how negative performance in spring training always means more than positive performances mean…..and that SSS really only applies to no names mashing homers in spring training

  72. I will clarify — we know pitchers often work on pitches and are a lot more predictable because of that……it would be interesting to see not just players who were on fire in ST who then burn out but also who had terrible terrible springs and performed better than their career averages……its just frustrating that we let stats from ST inform any analysis of a player

  73. im OK with this. Happ did not take the bull by the horns, and is apparently hurt.
    How much time and money have the Jays invested in Dustin McGowan? Its now or never so let him pitch, if he gets injured again, so be it. Cut your loses. Hes always had the stuff, you gotta give him a chance right?

  74. good calls Stoets! nails.

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