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Maicer Izturis left today’s game with a left knee sprain, and it was serious enough that he was placed on the DL immediately following its conclusion. This means that until Jose Reyes returns — which, barring setback, won’t be long, given that he’s no longer travelling with the club, in order to be down in Dunedin for a rehab assignment — the Jays needed to find themselves a spare middle infielder, and they have done so by bringing up last year’s super special spirit animal, Munenori Kawasaki.

It makes sense, and it’s nice to see him get some more time in the show, as last year he brought everything you could possibly hope for from a depth infield piece. However, Izturis was going well, and looking a far cry from the worst player in baseball (which last year, according to FanGraphs’ WAR, he was), so — surprisingly — this feels like a bit of a loss. Especially when you remember precisely where the club’s middle infield depth is at, and you see a tweet from Barry Davis explaining that Izturis says that he “tripped on dugout stairs just prior to game. Felt 2 pops. Says he’s concerned with what he may have done to it.”

Ugh. And that’s the “good” news! (Well, apart from the awesome performance the Jays just put in today).

The bad news — the first bit of it, at least —  is that the Jays are back to an eight-man bullpen, having chosen to avoid the difficult questions about just what the fuck to do with J.A. Happ, activating him from the DL and returning Erik Kratz to Buffalo to create room.

Happ is certainly a better pitcher than he showed this spring, so having him in the bullpen as a left-handed long man seems fine enough thing in the abstract. As part of an eight-man bullpen, though, it’s obviously dumb. But the Jays are in a tricky spot here. Casey Janssen, like Reyes, is about to begin a rehab assignment, and when he returns it will either be at the expense of Esmil Rogers (deserves demotion, but is out of options), or Neil Wagner (deserves to stay, but has options). Remove Happ and Rogers when Janssen comes back, and you have a pretty fine looking unit, but, of course, it’s not so simple, because doing so would carve off a hefty bit of depth from the organization.

Sure, everything is going swimmingly now, and those guys are fairly fungible — maybe more so than Alex Anthopoulos wants to admit, especially with Stroman, Hendricks, Nolin, Jenkins, Walden, and (when he returns from the temporary inactive list) Stilson as perfectly fine depth pieces in their own right (plus Jeremy Jeffress potentially about to be “sneaked” through waivers). But they’re also probably less fungible than fans, who have a tendency to always err on the side of sending some scrub’s sorry ass packing, want to believe, either. Rogers and Happ have logged real big league innings, been parts of big league rotations, and as much as they’ve also done those things fairly poorly, they’ve got the kind of stuff that makes organizations at least think they’ll be able to survive in the majors, and that actually does say something.

Not a whole lot, though. And it would be nice to see a resolution to this roster construction nonsense here sooner rather than later — Happ for the bench bat the club so badly needs again, maybe?

Of course, with injuries, things tend to have a way of sorting themselves out, and that’s likely another reason Anthopoulos is holding his nose and choosing this option for the moment. At least, let’s hope it’s for the moment.

Hey, and while we’re hoping for stuff, let’s hope that Colby Rasmus’s hamstring is doing alright, too. That’s because, according to a tweet from John Lott, he didn’t leave the game because of the crooked scoreline, rather it was due to hamstring tightness. John Gibbons says that it’s not considered serious, for whatever that’s worth. And Lott adds that Rasmus says he felt it “kind of grab” after lunging to catch a Nick Markakis drive in the fifth inning, but that, with tomorrow’s off-day he hopes it will be OK.

So does the man who manages this clusterfuck of roster, too, I’m sure — Melky, Jose, or Moises will see time in centre if Rasmus can’t go… unless they make yet another unwanted move and find a way to bring up Anthony Gose.

Ugh. Ideally it won’t come to that.

Comments (99)

  1. Who goes down when Reyes comes back?
    One of Kawasaki, Diaz or goins needs to be down with thole as the backup c.

  2. Everybody take a deep breath….because it’s too hard to say “Ah,fer the sake of the little suffering baby Jesus in the fuckin’ manger – here we bloody go again” on a shallow breath.
    AA’s gonna have to roll the dice and make a hard move someplace – do they lose Rogers or someone because they’re out of options, or keep Happ or someone who deserves to be on the club in Buffalo? Can they find a trade or something to get a off-the-bench bat?
    Time to to shit or get off the pot, AA…earn that money now.

    • We’re talking about the 12th and 13th pitchers on the staff. I hope Alex doesn’t earn much of his money based on that.

      • I don’t know…that could be money for the free soft drinks in the clubhouse. He might have to trade someone to Cleveland to get that back.

    • First trade should be Happ for Digi Gregorious. starting SS for AZ last year, good glove, arm, slash line and speed in the order. AZ is bleeding pitching and they would snatch up a starting lefty.

      • Arizona traded their super-pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to get Gregorius. They aren’t going to trade him away for a 6th starter.

        And we could use a true 2B with some offensive ability, not a pure shortstop.

        • As long as Owings keeps his promise as a power hitting SS, he’ll be there for years. Aaron Hill signed a 3 yr extention last year so he isn’t going any where for a while. Meanwhile Arroyo has the best era of their staff and that’s close to 5. Gregarious is in the minors not helping the DBacks and won’t be up in the bigs any time soon. Happ can help immediately unless they would rather hope Randy Wolf can stop the bleeding.

  3. Esmil Rogers seems like a good dude that people on the team like, but he’s gotta go.

    Show the team you’re interested in winning and keep Wagner.

    This whole situation makes AA looks like he’s a hoarder from a reality TV show. Desperate to keep everything and not able to actually decipher what has value.

    • No, it doesn’t.

    • With all the 8-man penning and compromising the last few roster spots due to player retention, I think TS has a point. It’s certainly fair to insinuate, no?

    • A guy who can step in and start MLB games in a not-wholly-incompetent fashion with high probability has value. Rogers and Happ both fit this description.

  4. At this point Rogers isn’t very useful. He’s throwing meatballs when it’s near the plate.

    You can’t carry him like a rule 5 guy all year. So risk sending him down or trade him for depth at oh I dunno, middle infield.

  5. It would be nice if they could find a 4th outfielder who can play CF…

  6. Man, another key injury to rasmus. Hamstring is someting they are going to be very careful with im sure. I would not be surprise at all if they DLd him. Did they ever hire that director of of the training staff or whetever AA said they were looking at? Because injuries are quickly becoming a problem again.

  7. Rogers just isn’t good. Why do they keep hanging on to this guy?

    • Now is the perfect time to send Rogers down, he’s looked like crap so far. You have to guess that his chance of being claimed is pretty low

    • Because they have to squeeze something out of that shitshow trade.

  8. What the Fuck. The 4 man bench has proven its worth on a number of occasions already this year. Rogers should have been dfa’d, as the 8th guy in the pen is even less useful than an occasional pinch hitter/3rd catcher. Im assuming anothopolus is only trying to give rogers a week or so more to prove his worth until Janssen is healthy, but that still leaves us with 8 relievers. I guess when you have zero bench depth, you’re Shitty out of options relievers look better than they are.

    • The reason they want to hold on to Rogers is because he offers something the majority of other pen arms can’t….the ability to start games in case of emergency. Now I do understand that he hasn’t done that well very consistently, but he’s had his moments (recall a sunday start in boston last year).

      Happ is obviously a guy with a long track record of starting in the bigs and he also a lefty.

      so while superficially it would seem these guys are not of much value as we currently sit here, we may actually be pining for these types of dudes should we lose a starter or two to injury.

      • No, that’s what Rogers was last year.

        Redmond is much better in the same role. Then there are actually arms available in Buffalo unlike last year when it all went Chien Ming Wrong.

        Rogers is a low grade trade chip at best. He has no role on this team unless the injuries really stack up.

  9. Tampa Bay just put Cobb on the DL
    where he joins Moore and Hellickson.

    They called up Eric Bedard to join
    Cesar Ramos and Jake Ordorizi
    in their rotation.

    And they are far from the only team
    with such troubles.

    If Happ comes back and shows he can get anybody out,
    there just has to be a trade market for him out there somewhere.
    They won’t get a star but maybe a serviceable bench piece
    or a playable middle infielder.

    • One would think a team like Arizona would have interest.

      His contract isn’t scary or anything and he has shown some promise in the past.

    • No offense, but Erik Bedard > Happ. Sure he’s not all that great right now, and one can argue the same is true of Happ, but at least Bedard has a history of once being a top 10 starter in MLB, something Happ can’t say. Bedard was also a quality pitcher more recently than Happ.

      • You know Eric bedard is right?

      • Bedard is almost 10 years from his peak Baltimore years. He’s since had labrum surgery and a host of other injuries — his stuff is far degraded from his prime (formerly would sit low-mid 90′s with a killer change, now rarely cracks 90 and uses his CB as his top offspeed offering). He’s been one of my faves since he broke in (my roto partner can back that up)… but his former ‘top 10′ status should bear zero on 2014 comps with Happ.

      • Past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance.

        • I’m not necessarily talking about past performance. Last year, Happ and Bedard’s seasons were essentially equivalent.

          • Steamer projects Happ to be replacement-level. Steamer also projects that Bedard basically won’t play. Make of that what you will. (I would agree with “I like Bedard and his contract better than Happ and his contract,” however.)

            You also need to figure Bedard’s declining more rapidly at age 35 than Happ is at age 30.

    • just because we havent had injuries yet doesnt mean they wont happen.

      I’d rather hang on to Happ then trade him for the sake of trading him.

      we’re going to use more than 5 starters this year, its inevitable for every team

  10. Kawasaki is probably the best 2B option against RHP in the organization.

    When Reyes returns, send down Goins, platoon Kawasaki/Diaz at 2B and, fingers crossed, Diaz can go down when Izturis comes back.

  11. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate how you’re approaching the waiver wire when you realize you’re carrying a 4th outfielder who can’t hit OR play all three outfield spots and three long relievers. Trying to preserve depth is a great idea and all, but to a degree. At some point you’ve gotta start weighing what’s best for the big league roster too.

  12. In other news: John Farrell becomes the first manager thrown out arguing a play under review.

    • What’s the point? Replay makes it inarguable.

      I guess he played his American Dad routine.

      Speaking of…Pedroia is death right now.

      The midget is down to a .473 OPS

      http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7631/

      • It looks like he had a legitimate beef with the replay last night.

        • It has to be clear and irrefutable. That’s the bullshit.

          Let’s remember that the Umpires union was all powerful. This at least keeps them on their toes.

          • it was carry over from saturday where the red sox got screwed when the umpires actually missed an obvious call with the benefit of replay (mlb admitted the mistake).

  13. I was kinda hoping for Dan Johnson or Juan Francisco instead of Happ. God knows there are enough PHing spots to go around.

    • I don’t know about you man, I sense change.

      Last year at this time, the coronation couldn’t come quick enough.

      JP Arencibia was among the loudest about making us feel small for doubting them.

      This year…

      No JP, No bullshit baseball olympics, another year of players realizing their own shit.

      Last year, everyone hated Buerhle. He was a costly old bum.

      I don’t know about you but he seems to enjoy it here. He’s not calling his agent and phoning it in, he likes it. He’s a Blue Jay at least as far as this group goes and yep, he’s good.

      Jose Reyes seems to be digging it too. It’s a good group now that they got rid of the newness of last year and Fucking Arencibia.

      I’m telling you, this is a team. A year of familiarity for Reyes, Buerhle and Dickey, then we have Navarro instead of the vortex of egotistical suck that was JPA.

      Talent does not prevail unless it feels good about going to work.

      • So you’re feeling glass-half-full. So am I.

      • Really dig your last line. Its so obviously true, tho often gets swept under the chemistry rug.

      • thats true, its kinda like last year when kawasaki came up and the team had so much fun and won all those ball games.. oh wait.

        things are looking positive because so far we’ve got a bunch of really strong pitching performances, melky , and timely hitting.

        I really don’t see how a statement can be made that the team didn’t feel like going to work last year.

  14. I don’t think it was that they didn’t want to go go work. It was more they didn’t enjoy it when they got there. This year feels a little different and they do look more cohesive. Gibby also seems more engaged and effective.

    • Anyone wouldnt enjoy it when you had a team inflicted with pitching arm shitiness disease and Reyes going down for 2 months on an awkward slide and the infield equivalent of the 2014 Yankees.

      If that’s not a killjoy, what is?

  15. And in other news, looks like AA was right about Jiminez. He’s got an era in the 7s and his starts have been ugly as hell.

    • Yeah, and he looked real meh yesterday. They were saying on the broadcast that he’s lost some velocity and that really makes him look subpar overall. Decent movement on his FB, but with little control over it and secondary stuff that’s not great, he doesn’t look worth the price of admission.

    • I kinda feel sorry for the orioles for taking on 4 years.

      But of course not really, I called the contract too long from the beginning, may the Orioles sufferrrrrrr.

    • Think the NINJA GM has struck again by not striking on Jimenez? Gotta give it at least a month but McGowan and Hutch are looking the part aren’t they? AA maybe a genious once again!

    • looks like they were right about josh johnson and brett anderson, too.

  16. It’s real early, but Jays had concerns about

    1. Johnson – no QO and now injured with no return date;

    2. Anderson – Jays killed trade and he is now injured again; and

    3. Jiminez – VERY early but does not look great.

    • In fairness, Anderson has a finger injury, which I’m sure isn’t what the Jays were concerned about. But still, early on those do look like three bullets avoided (though I wouldn’t count Ubaldo out yet)

      • Yes Jiminez could pull a 2013 Jiminez, though I’m glad we don’t ahve a 4 year experiment with him.

        Santana hurts a little. I don’t think I expected Mcgowan to pulll through for us at all.

    • As long as we’re doing a “real early” roundup, Santana was nails in his first outing.

  17. I know he wanted to start, but you really see the value of Rajai Davis when he isn’t around. Mashes LHP and provides some badly-needed speed on the basepaths.

  18. How’s about just trying to find someone to take Happ’s contract, which essentially covers half of what Stephen Drew wants? If money truly is the issue here (which unfortunately it seems more and more like it is), I’m pretty sure I’d give Happ away for free if it meant AA could talk ownership into paying for a capable 2B.

    • And when of our starters inevitably hits the DL… who the fuck is going to cover?

      Rogers? Sucks.
      Redmond? Great long man. Look at his “second time through the order” slash-line.
      Stroman? Not ready.
      Sanchez? Not ready.
      Nolin? Not ready.
      Drabek? Romero? Get real.

      The Jays have no depth.

      • Stroman is pretty much ready as depth with upside. But yes depth is lacking once you get rid of Happ with Redmond being good until the third time through the order.

      • I’ll take the every day upgrade of Drew over Goins/Diaz/Kawasaki over the difference of “Redmond or Stroman when you need them for a couple weeks” vs. Happ.

    • Stupid. Happ and Redmond are their only two reliable backup starters right now.

      • I suppose you could try and stretch Jenkins out…

        • Jenkins is the very definition of a replacement level pitcher at this point. Stroman will be up before him.

      • How many backup starters do you need when the upside is an actually capable MLB 2B who can also cover Reyes when he’s hurt? The better solution would just be for Rogers to front the money for Drew, but they aren’t seemingly willing to do that. I’d far prefer to see Redmond or Stroman or whomever take a few turns through the rotation if necessary and get the every day presence of Drew in the lineup.

        • Starting pitching is the most important component in the game. It’s just not worth giving away arguably your best depth starter for a likely ~1 WAR upgrade at one position.

          After last year’s clusterfuck with Ortiz, Wang, Laffey and fuck knows who else getting starts, I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson.

          It’s probably all a moot point anyway because Boras.

  19. Oh, and Mark Buehrle is fucking nails.

  20. Question: How dumb is the 8 man bullpen if you use it right?

    Considering pitchers start declining after 90 pitches isn’t it a good idea just to let a starter go 6 innings?
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1477#performance

    #Dickey’s last start.

    I have always thought that one measure to judge a manager is the starting staff’s ERA in the 7th inning. Couldn’t this facilitate that?

    • I’m pro 8 man pen for the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays.

      1. McGowan, Morrow, and Hutch may not be on innings limits, but they are certainly being managed in hopes of season long health.

      2. Lessons from last year show that as solid as the back of the pen was last year, overuse did become an issue and once again managing these guys with an eye for season long success is a prudent thing to do.

      3. Although it could be a challenge if both Reyes and Colby were out of the line up for the next series or two, but this team still has 4 very good hitters (Melky, Jose, EE, Lind (vsRHP)) and two okay hitters in Lawrie and Dinner. Perfect? No, but still more than most line ups in baseball.

  21. 8 man bullpen, with an off day Monday, and Rasmus potentially ailing. Yeah, that’s good. Just send Wagner down, it was nice having something that almost resembled a bench, even if half of them were catchers most days.

    Did someone somewhere mention that Jonathan Diaz can play centre field, or am I making this up in a fever dream?

  22. Could anyone else live with a Diaz/Kawasaki platoon a 2B when Reyes returns?

    Of course Diaz would be the late inning defensive replacement.

    Both these guys take a lot of pitches and make the opposing pitcher work.

    • Rather give it to Maicer to be honest, assuming the injury isn’t serious. Muni in 2012 put up a 49 wRC+ vs RHP, the 90 in 2013 looks good but still below Maicer’s career numbers.

      • Well put. If Macier is back to being career Macier that production along without burn a bench spot in an 8 man pen world is the best solution.

      • I think Maicer left some cartilage in Baltimore. Generally popping sounds are not the noises your knees should make.

        Hope I’m wrong.

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