Surely this town has a Y, Philip?

Per a team release, the Jays have made the Goins/Getz swap official, releasing Mickey Storey in order to make room on the 40-man roster. Still more moves on the horizon, one suspects…

Dustin McGowan starts tonight for the Jays in Kansas City, and for the first time he’ll be doing so with an insulin pump, after he noticed some extreme blood sugar levels due to what he has said he suspects is the stress — both mental and physical — of being a big league starter, and he’ll have to do well if he’s going to keep his job. J.A. Happ, though thoroughly unimpressive in the spring, and not much better in a very brief sample so far in the majors, is certainly waiting for a crack at the spot he believes he deserves. However, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet noted back on Saturday, the Jays organization decided to aligned prospect Marcus Stroman’s latest outing to be the same day as McGowan’s — he’ll pitch in Buffalo tonight against Louisville.

I’m actually not in the camp that is desperate to see Stroman as soon as possible — I still think there was good reason why McGowan was a starter to dream on when the club chose to give him the fifth spot when they came north, and I’m not sure I like what some of the expectations for Stroman have become, as more development time certainly won’t hurt, and it’s hard to envision any prospect making the jump to the majors flawlessly right out of the chute. Of course, nobody’s saying Stroman has to be flawless to still be a key part of this club, and obviously expectations are going to be high no matter when he makes the jump, so maybe I’m overreacting. The club’s assistant GM, Tony LaCava, sure seems comfortable with the possibility, as he spoke to Ben Nicholson-Smith for a farm report piece at Sportsnet, telling him that “Stroman has continued to impress,” and that “It’s just a matter of the opportunity and the right time for him. We think his time is coming soon.”

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi looks at Drew Hutchison, who has suddenly become something of a strikeout pitcher (his K/9 and K% both sit sixth among all qualified MLB starters right now).

Speaking of Hutchison, Chris Toman of Gamereax looks at how Hutchison’s new weapon: his changeup.

John Lott of the National Post takes a look at Brett Lawrie’s odd start to the season, and talks with the player, who looks like he might finally be warming up.

The Blue Jay Hunter also talks about Lawrie, and in doing so shows us what his current spray chart looks like. Yeesh.

Also noted in that piece from the Blue Jay Hunter is this tweet from @OrganistAlert telling us that Buffalo Sabres organist Ken Kaufman, who the Jays used on Sunday, “passed his audition” and has been hired on for the rest of the season. I doubt it will be for every game, but the more the better. Good stuff.

Great stuff from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, as he talks to Jays pitchers about what it feels like to not be able to throw strikes — a problem too many of them have had at various points so far this season.

A trio from FanGraphs, as they give some insight into a poor hitting Royals team that the Jays will face this week, make us groan with a positive look at near-Jay Ervin Santana, and tell us about the five most improved position players so far, based on projected WAR — a list that doesn’t include Melky Cabrera, amazingly includes Mike Trout, and (of course) Emilio Bonifacio.

Back to Sportsnet for a few more, as Shi Davidi looks at how John Gibbons managed his bullpen on Sunday, saving Brett Cecil for a chance to face David Ortiz, while Ben Nicholson-Smith tells us about Chad Jenkins needing to “earn it,” and Jose Bautista defending a hopelessly ill-advised steal attempt.

A pair of interesting ones from Your Van C’s, as Charlie Caskey looks at some Vancouver-bound prospects, as well as the mechanics of extended spring training.

Awful Announcing ranked MLB broadcast crews based on fan votes, and the Jays’ crew of Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler came in 20th, complete with some kind of insane reader comment about them!

Brian Crawford of Jays Prospects talks to former first-rounder D.J. Davis.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun writes about Melky Cabrera, who the Jays, he says, are impressed with — as they should be!

The Jays signed Ryan Rowland-Smith to a minor league deal late last week. MLBTR has the details.

Gregor Chisholm has a new Inbox post up over at BlueJays.com.

Lastly, Baseball Prospectus has a nicely positive take on Jays prospect Dalton Pompey, whose “name was in the running for the Jays top 10 list, and after falling short of that distinction he was in the running (but not chosen) to be named a prospect on the rise in that organization. The omission is our mistake—and a foolish one at that—as the 21-year-old outfielder has blossomed into arguably the top position prospect in the Blue Jays organization, a toolsy dream of a player who is finally healthy and putting the pieces together on the field.” His writeup isn’t behind the paywall, so go check it out in full.

Comments (87)

  1. So if McGowan has another poor outing tonight, would you pull the plug on him now? Maybe give Happ a couple starts before you call up Stroman?

    Only 4 starts, but Stroman looks pretty good so far:


    • If McGowan isn’t great but feels good beyond 60 pitches, I’d be in favour of giving him another chance — though I don’t think that will necessarily happen. I’m OK with giving Happ a couple of chances, too. But Stroman also would be good, obviously. Would love to see them string together some wins and make it less of a saviour scenario when he comes up.

      • i agree. Stroman will get his shot this year – its almost a guarantee with the likelihood of injury/fatigue in every starting rotation. I would say that in order for Stroman to come up in circumstances in which he can succeed, it would be better for the Jays to not be battling to get back to .500.

        I can understand the desire to bring up the young promising arm to save the rotation, but I would greatly prefer Stroman comes up after clearly showing he’s ready over a number of starts rather than the Jays turning to him out of their need. I want him to stick around once he gets here.

  2. Now we know why Davis is having a hard time with the stick ;0

    Davis is also enjoying the opportunity to work with hitting coach Ken Huckaby, for a second consecutive year. The two worked together in Bluefield last season and he likes his approach to the game, especially his big league experience.

  3. On a purely eye-ball gut feel alone I’ve been very impressed with the movement on Hutch’s fastball this season. Its got a lot more run on it than I remember at the very least. I haven’t looked at any of the info available but it seems to me that he’s been throwing it a lot early and getting K’s and then switching to more off speed pitches in strikeout counts later in the game.

  4. So what about that Chad Jenkins? (cricket sounds, and some low murmurs that sound like boos)

  5. Anyone going to Pittsburgh this weekend?

    • I am. Saturday-Sunday.

    • Yup all three

      • Nice – I’m not sure what’s around the stadium but heard Carson St is the main bar district in Pittsburgh. Bring your rain gear!

        • There’s nothing in terms of night life around the stadium. Carson St. is where you need to go. It’s really great, but be warned that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to find a taxi in that city for reasons I’m not too clear on. Be prepared to walk.

          • there are few illegal cabs, that are unmarked town cars, if you knock on the window they can give you a ride for decent price

    • Thinking about it… I’ve done the trip twice already, and I have to say that PNC is probably my favourite ball park to visit so far. Yes, even ahead of Wrigley and Fenway.

      • easily my favorite ballpark I have been to. I wish the forecast were a bit better but it should be fun either way. They have added more bars and the casino to the North shore so things other than the game can be a good time there too.

  6. I love that the other five members of the top 6 in K/9 are Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, Zack Greinke, Max Scherzer and Masahiro Tanaka. Hutchison’s name looks completely out of place on that list, but he’s looked really good so far.

  7. I think you have to give Happ an opportunity to start a few games. While he’s never been great, he does have moderate big league success and experience as a starter.

    The reality is that eventually a starter will go down with injury, no team only uses 5 starters for the year. So a rotation may include both Happ and Stroman at some point.

    Happ is too expensive for his current role, you have to see if you can get him back to 4.0 FIP pitcher that can log some innings.

    • If Happ were to accept an assignment to Buffalo, would he still be paid his major league salary?

      I know you’d much rather be in the big leagues, but wouldn’t it be better for his value to start in Buffalo, than pitch 2 innings out of the bullpen every week?

      Jays have a 6.7M option for him next year, they’re not gonna pay him that to pitch out of the bullpen.

  8. I like –and by like I mean do not like– Buck and Tabs’ exchange during EVERY SINGLE 3-0 count for the jays:

    Buck: Do you give him the green light?
    Tabby: You gotta.

    It’s their thing.

    • even when it was Goins

    • I’m gonna put a red star next to your comment.

    • That’s the most accurate comment I’ve ever seen.

      I always enjoy listening to Tabby’s justification for it, too. He’s got one for every situation.

      “You know this guy struggles to throw strikes, so maybe he’ll take a little something off to get it over, and that’s your chance to really make him pay.”

      “He normally shows really good control and he hates walking guys, so you know this one’s going to be right over the middle of the plate”

      “With a man in scoring position, this is your chance to get a pitch you can really do some damage on and drive the runner in from second.”

      “With the bases empty here, you know the pitcher doesn’t want to lose this guy and set up what could be a big inning, so there’s a good chance he gets a fastball over the heart of the plate.”

      “Leadoff walks always seem to come around to score.”

      “Two-out walks always seem to come back to hurt a pitcher.”

    • I think they had to share a hotel room one time and they were running late for the game so they showered together. One thing lead to another and Tabby shot a little looper onto Buck’s belly. Now every time one of them says little looper, they smile and look at each other.

      Listen carefully – after “little looper” there is always a little pause.

  9. I thought the organist was sleep inducing. Come on, the chisox pump up the crowd with AC/DC. We get an organist?

  10. Time for a good laugh.

    In case you haven’t seen it yet…….


  11. And this one kinda sums up the audacity of Ryan Braun.

    Baseball 101: Never swing a bat in or near a dugout.


  12. Fuck Happ and Redmond and Sierra and Goins. Dump them all. How many starts would Happ have to lose before they give up on him?

    Bring up Gose and Stroman and sign Drew, make some splashy moves, get the fans excited. Just think of all the extra tickets that would get sold!

    I am looking forward to a big start from McGowan tonight, one has to thing this is a HUGE start from him. Hopefully he doesn’t break under the pressure. And if he does maybe Stroman gets called up, which would be fun to see.

    • What’s wrong with Redmond? How much better of a long reliever making the minimum for the next few years do you want?

      • It’s fashionable to lump Happ and Redmond together nowadays, apparently.

        I’m a fan of Redmond, personally — he’s a solid piece. 4.16 xFIP and 8.88 K/9 last year. I wouldn’t mind him in the rotation.

        • He just seems like such a LOW CEILING kinda guy. And boring. If I come in from Alberta and catch 1 or 2 games a year in Toronto, I do not want to see a Todd Redmond start.

        • Everybody gets worse the more they have to turn a lineup over, but he gets especially worse. Rotation is a bad idea, but a longer relief guy works well for him.

          The idea that Happ is total garbage is a weird one, too. I don’t think we’ve seen nearly enough to say that he’s good, mind you, but some people would just dump him for nothing, and I don’t get that, either. There have been enough extenuating circumstances to lead us to believe we haven’t seen nearly his best.

    • Except those players aren’t the cause of the Jays problems.

      Goins did exactly what was asked of him, provide solid defense that has allowed the Jays to stay around the 500 mark. Without their defense this year (which has been the only real change), this team would be 10 games below 500 like last year.

      It’s not Goins (or Happ/Redmond/Sierra) fault that the starting pitchers suck and can’t get past 5 innings, which means carrying a large bullpen.

      It’s not their fault that the starting lineups can’t hit, which means the offense isn’t scoring runs. Melky is a welcome change, as is the performance of the catchers. But everyone else can’t hit at the moment, which has resulted in Bautista being walked because there is no penalty given that none of the following batters are capable of bringing him around for a run.

      So if you want to moan about anyone, then complain about the regulars, because they are giving us the exact same sub-standard performance that they all phoned in last year.

      • The offense isn’t scoring runs? You do know they’re 5th in the AL and leading the division in runs scored?

        If not for some truly shittacular pitching they’d be 5-1 on this homestand.

        • Dont think Goin’s glove won the Jays too many games this year bud…

          Now that Lawrie and Edwin are heating up, it’s a pretty devastating lineup 1-8. They’ve scored 44 runs in their last 7 games. Not many holes, outside of 2B.

          Morrow and McGowan have been let downs, as has Sierra. Another bat (Drew?), 4th outfielder/bench/PR (Gose) and a quality 4/5 starter (Nolin? Stroman? Sanchez? Hendricks?) could go a LONG WAY brosef.

      • I will assume the “z” is because you sleep through the games.

  13. It’ll be interesting to see if the insulin pump has an impact in McGowan’s performance as his pitch count goes beyond 60.

  14. Does anyone know if there has been a diabetic wear an insulin pump during a game before? I can imagine its happened but I’ve never heard it.

    Is there any way that this might bee construed as “performance enhancing” by an opposing bench? Or is that just way too much of a dick move?

  15. Buck and Pat definitely have awesome chemistry – I love the way they always agree and repeat each other.
    Mmhhmm fur shure

  16. I guess I’m the only one that didn’t like the organ. I felt it droned and killed some stadium buzz. I mean top 40 wears on me too, but at least it is upbeat.

  17. by most accounts, Stroman was ready to get big leaguers out last september. everyone should fully expect some bumps in the road, but his time is pretty much now.

    we’ll see how McGowan pitches tonight.

    • That talk was as a reliever, though. Need to expand the repertoire to do it through a big league lineup multiple times. Not saying he couldn’t come up and be successful now, but it’s a harder trick to pull, and more triple-A time certainly can’t hurt.

      • this is true. i’d love for McGowan to delay the decision.

        but if McGowan does struggle, i’d much rather see Stroman than our uninspiring long reliever triumvirate. it’s probably partially because he’s new and shiny, but mostly because he has (allegedly) the highest quality repertoire of any of them.

    • I’m not convinced you give Stroman the nod before one of Liam Hendriks, Deck McGuire or Sean Nolin.

      • Of those 3 I’d definitely give it to Nolin. Only got an inning audition last year and he has been pretty damn good this year in AAA. He has only given up 12 hits in 23 innings!
        His walks are a little high but he’s K’d over 9 and a half per 9 in the minors, pretty much the same this year. I still think he could be a good back end guy.

        I’m pretty skeptical about the other 2.

  18. The Blue Jays aren’t getting this Juan Francisco is awful against LHP thing.

  19. Were Stroman to come up on June 11, he’d open at home vs Twins.
    His next five would be:
    White Sox
    There are some tough lineups there, but his first six games would include
    two vs weaker teams, two in pitchers’ parks and two where we close our eyes and hope.
    Might be a nice way to start: 4 of the 6 on the road, 2 on the west coast,
    with beatable opponents for his two home starts.

    • The (completely unreliable) eyeball test would seem to confirm this IMO.

    • I’m curious if you take out Dickey what the results are. You would think that a knuckleball would be harder to call accurately, given the movement on the ball.

    • Yeah, but doesn’t being squeezed have more to do with pitch framing than ump bias? Let’s not forget that among our divisional rivals we have the all-time greatest pitch framer, Jose Molina. The Yankees have made waves recently about valuing pitch framing.

  20. What exactly is an insulin pump? Is it a syringe that is intravenously strapped on him that monitors his sugars? If so, then that seems strangely dangerous considering all the movements he will be making. Not to mention comebackers. I hope for the best, love Dusty.

  21. Am I only the one who doesn’t want Stroman starting Sunday cause he’ll have to hit in Pittsburg lol

    • He was a decent hitter as recently 4 years ago. Why does this worry you more than any other pitcher?

    • Lots of speculation and 3rd person stuff in there, but admitted, doesn’t sound good for the Jays.

      • Well… I wouldn’t pay attention to it, but he’s called the whole ‘Rogers may cut back on Jays thing’ prior to anyone else saying it at the beginning of the offseason.

  22. Stroman absolutely making a case tonight.

  23. I never understood the love for Tony LaCava, his track record certainly doesn’t show a lot of success at the major league level.

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