happthrows

Here’s something that’s sure to warm the battered cockles of Jays fans hearts: J.A. Happ will get himself a turn in the rotation on Monday in Philadelphia, bumping… nobody, but giving the rotation an extra day of rest, and the bullpen — chalk as it inexplicably is full of long men — another day of headache. Or so tweets Scott MacArthur, though not in nearly so many words.

The club had talked about toying with the idea of giving Happ some spot starts (which is all this really is — there is no six-man rotation to get apoplectic about) to help ease the load on the rotation during a run of twenty straight games with no off day, so it’s not entirely surprising, but… really? Is this, like, a thing that teams do now? A rotation of two veteran plough horses who won’t touch 85, a 23-year-old Drew Hutchison who looks fine, a Brandon Morrow who many would rather see not to being coddled, and a Dustin McGowan who needs to keep showing something to shake off the “seat-warmer” tag, seriously can’t go four turns through without an extra day off somewhere?

Well… OK, so maybe the fact that none of the three non-plough horses has thrown over 200 innings in a season — and the closest any has got was McGowan’s 191.2 way back in 2007 — is reason enough to not entirely try to run them into the ground. I get that, even if acting on such a thought at this point in the season is premised on the notion that they’ll all make it to September healthy and still in the rotation, which, for at least two of these guys, is not something most would bother even contemplating betting on.

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe the club thinks there’s a better chance that Morrow and McGowan stay healthier for longer if they get just a little bit of extra rest. And maybe they’re concerned that the third one, Hutchison, has yet to break the 150 inning mark in his career, and is coming off a season in which he threw just 57 across multiple levels.

They certainly haven’t yet shown much wavering from their big-picture thinking in the face of bleeding marginal wins all over the place thanks to a poorly constructed roster, so in that respect I suppose this all makes sense. And frankly, every year there comes a time when management seems to be much less concerned than the fans are with the here-and-now, and almost always, it seems, they turn out right.

That doesn’t mean they are in this instance, but big picture stuff is important, and patience is important.

Shit. For example: in his 14.1 awful innings so far this year, Esmil Rogers is way above his career mark in K/9 at 10.05, way below his career BB/9 at 2.51, getting BABIP’d to death (.389 versus a still-ugly Coors-inflated .339 career mark), giving up home runs at an unsustainably high rate (22.2% HR/FB), and sporting a nifty-looking xFIP of 3.56, suggesting that all the “not a major league pitcher” getting spewed about him from fans who want to see him on the first bus out of town is probably a lot closer to being way fucking dumb than it is to being true.

It’s just, this decision, coming as it does in the midst of an awful run of bad luck, bad pitching, and bad roster construction being highlighted, really feels like salt in the wound — even to those of us who recognize that, as with Rogers and other guys fans are ready to give up on (as they once were with Encarnacion and Lind, as well), there’s more to like about Happ than what popular opinion would tell you — especially since this is a guy who has walked the fucking farm just about every single time anyone has seen him this calendar year.

Plus, you get the sense that the club is going to end up having to cut loose one of their “assets” regardless, making the whole damn experiment not just fruitless, but detrimental. Like… we really couldn’t have seen Moises Sierra’s uselessness as a bench piece and eventual DFA coming back in March? We can’t now see that something is going to have to give with this four long-men business? Even if, to be fair, it’s not at all like the short bench and too-robust-with-shitballers bullpen are remotely what’s entirely to blame for these recent losses, but that fact doesn’t make their existence any less frustrating.

Also… y’know…

The pie is right! Let’s get on with it here, Jays, before I have to start scraping the bottom of the barrel with about “trade showcase” nonsense, as though every team doesn’t already know what Happ is or that one start is going to change anything. Hmmm, they are having him play in front of those geniuses running the Phillies, though…

And I guess if these sorts of thoughts are going to get a few panicky fans through the night, they can’t be the absolute worst. Nor is thinking that if he falls on his face it might be enough to give him a final push out the door, I guess. It’s just… is this really what we’ve come to? Fans hoping for a slap in the face to wake the big picture-thinking front office into caring a little less about down the road and more about the now?

Fuck, some wins sure would be a nice way to get our minds off this stuff, wouldn’t they?

Comments (77)

  1. not to be that guy, but why did pete walker return after the past two years of pitching woes for this team?

    • Because coaches don’t sprinkle players with magic pixie dust that makes them good, so it’s silly to only look at results and assume you know whether the coach is doing a good job or not.

      • Nonsense. Pixie dust may be banned but it’s just like pine tar, everybody does it. Wait, the Peter Pan stuff… never mind.

      • I operate on the assumption that a pitching coach who presides over overperforming (or “up to career norms”) pitching *might* be better than a pitching coach who presides over underperforming pitching.
        Outside the box thinking, I know, but…

      • Coaches aren’t completely ineffectual either though, otherwise why bother paying them?

  2. McGowan’s a great story but I prefer Esmil to be honest and then Stroman coming up later in the year.

    I can’t remember which game it was but I was watching the other teams stream and they were talking about Morrow and even they sounded confused and frustrated with his performance. Obviously he should be in the rotation but….man

  3. Happ -gahhhhhhhhhh my head hurts

    • Think harder. Like maybe back to last spring when everyone was dying for him to take Romero’s place. He’s better than you believe.

      Looked awful in 2014, yes, and not great. But better than you’re giving credit for.

  4. I don’t mind Happ replacing McGowan in the rotation. Not at all. But BOTH?

    • It is not a six-man rotation. This is a spot start.

      Or.. OK, Gibbons said something like “We’ll see where that takes us,” but seriously, they’re not going to run six pitchers in the rotation over and over for a long time.

  5. Maybe 1 final showing to show he isn’t walking everyone? Despite what people say, Happ totally has some value. Not a lot, but definitely some. Can we trade him for ummm, i dunno, say a RH bat to platoon with Lind?

    • they tried with steve pearce of the orioles who declined their offer of a contract to him and went right back to the orioles

  6. In good news, aka things that don’t make us sad, Cliff Corcoran has Jose Bautista as the early leader for the AL MVP. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20140501/awards-watch-lightning-round/)

    At the very least, this means he’s got a strong chance at AL Player of the Month. It would be the first time Bautista has won since June 2012. The last time someone not named Bautista has won the award as a Blue Jay was Joe Carter in April 1994.

  7. Great title, by the way.

  8. Esmil Rogers for the rarely-used John Mayberry Jr.

    Stroman to the rotation

    McGowan to the bullpen.

    The bench, rotation & bullpen improved without raising payroll…

  9. The Pie doesn’t have to worry about Super 2.

    Must be a nice life being a Pie. No one blames the Pie when thing don’t work out.

    • Honestly, who cares about Super 2?

      • Gm’s care…. a lot.

        Clearly writers and Pies who like to play fast and loose with ownership money don’t care much for Super 2, but thankfully, in my opinion, they don’t run baseball clubs.

        • Good fucking lord, what a piece of work you are.

          Also: lots of GMs don’t care. There’s a balance that needs to be struck and they understand that. Thankfully you aren’t one of them.

      • GM’s with low payrolls on building teams should care I guess. But players that are ready should be playing. Sacrificing current value to hoard a year of control is stupid on a team that thinks it’s competitive.

        • Not even a year of control — super two just means you hit arbitration a year early, so you get more expensive faster. Definitely a concern, but not like buddy is saying.

          • According to Dave Cameron, pulling the trigger early on Super 2 can cost a club a cool 10 Million.

            That is nothing to sneeze at.

            My concern would be to have the Jays going on a more stable ride before calling up Stroman. In other words, get the BP figured out, get everyone healthy and the team going in the right direction.

            Calling up Stroman to be the “saviour” in the midst of a shitty streak with too many guys on the DL may be a recipe for disaster.

    • Stroman is hardly a lock to be called up and never be sent back to the minor leagues again.

      Plus, you know, he could actually be providing present day value to the Jays right now as opposed to theoretically saving X amount of dollars years down the road.

      • Waiting two weeks is not the end of the world.

        Yes the money is theoretical at this point, but seeing what Happ and McGowan can do over 2 weeks is not.

        After that, I agree, forget the options, major league clock game and field the best team possible.

        • If you wait two weeks, miss a playoff spot by a game, and have games blown by guys stroman would’ve replaced…again not the “end of the world” but if you’re a competitive team now why the hell sacrifice any chance at improving the club and picking up a game here or there?

        • @Famous

          But you’re working from the assumption that Stroman will never be sent to the minor leagues again.

          AA has cited it before. What has he said? Something like 80% of guys get optioned back down to the minors?

          While I don’t necessarily disagree with your position entirely, the here and now is not theoretical and a team with aspirations to contend should maximize the value of their internal options.

          Especially when it doesn’t affect the current ML payroll in the least.

        • With so many GMs gaming the system now, I am pretty sure it will take more than two weeks to hit this year’s Super 2 line. We’ve played like 17% of the season and Super 2 is the top 17% of the class by service time so we would probably still be like two weeks away even if nobody was gaming things.

  10. Why in the name of all that is holy is Chris Getz batting 2nd?

    Great to see Lawrie back though.

    • “Lineup protection”

    • How many choices do they have ? Thank god it’s not Colby . He looks completely baffled.

      • I don’t get everyone jumping on Colby. His k rate was 30% last year and he had a good year at the plate

        He strikes out a lot but has found a way to be productive. It’s nothing new

        • Or maybe the hack percentage is indicative of what he is going to be going forward assuming he hasn’t magically found a way to maintain a .356 BABIP.

  11. I get the rational but what I don’t get is some of the other stuff you pointed out that are serious as shit issues in AA’s tenure; 8 man pens, odd as bleep roster construction, protecting of assets I doubt other teams consider such, 2B clusterfuck this yr, lack of a good plan with starting P this off season, etc.

    Doesn’t he have smart and experienced co-pilots to talk him out of some of these scenarios?

    Fine Happ is better than he’s shown this yr but he’s still not better then other scenarios. It feels like they are giving him a start to make him happy. But really what are the expectations for that appearance considering his spring injury and minimal use age in April?

    I am getting to the point where it’s hard to care bc the outcome seems so obvious. There is exceptional talent on this roster but management still needs to push some correct buttons in order to gain any extra win or advantage at all in this crazy competitive division.

  12. * chock full

  13. I wonder what the percentage of tickets are sold pre-season vs. during the season. As in, does pretending like Sierra will work during the winter and spring (instead of scrambling for a bench player) have any benefit from a revenue standpoint (or at least a potential benefit that AA might value)?

    I know, obviously, that a lot of tickets are sold during the season, but I wonder how many of those sales are actually affected by the product on the field vs. people just wanting to go to baseball games (for example, I’m going to the Cubs game on my birthday in August simply to go to a game on my birthday).

    Seriously, call me out if I’m being crazy, but with all the rumors swirling about how Rogers is viewing payroll, should we start looking at roster moves in part by how it could affect ticket sales and ad revenue?

    • they can’t be that micro can they?

    • It’s not totally crazy, but I don’t think we should. Not moves on the Moises Sierra level, at least. Also: it’s mostly crazy, really.

    • Rogers being Rogers, they would do that if they could. But as you point out, there are plenty of factors impacting the baseball market and few (if any) of them are Moises Sierra. Also: under no circumstances can I be bothered to call you crazy.

  14. Makes sense, you need happ as insurance and the longer he’s in the pen the more it will be difficult to push him back in to the rotation.

    He needs to build up some arm strength just incase and everyone in the rotation gets an extra day off. It would have made more sense to skip someone, but who would you skip?

  15. A six man rotation!? I’m so apoplectic!

  16. re: Rogers
    of course he’s not 6+ ERA bad, but what are expecting going forward? his current bad luck on HR’s and balls in play are fluky sure, but so are his gaudy K/BB rates. there’s regression coming there too, is there not? and BABIP “luck” has always been a problem for him because of his line drive/ground ball heavy batted ball profile. and the case is the same for the dingers: they’ve always been a problem, and even moreso since he’s come to the Jays.

    never once in his career have the results ever matched his peripherals or perceived “stuff”, why should they all of a sudden start doing so?

    re: Happ spot start
    as mentioned, clearly a move to help preserve a rotation featuring arms who are good candidates for burnout. it’s also good way to keep Happ stretched out should he have to jump into the rotation.

    they have my blessing as long as it doesn’t become a more regular occurence.

  17. Dustin belongs in the pen, he should actually close, think of the possibilities. He could touch triple digits and not be in a situation to get tired. “Oh he’s a project, he needs time to build strength”,,, yes ok but there’s a real good chance his arm could go back to shit in the meantime. Why risk it, why not call up Sanchez and Stroman and see what happens, then send Redmond to AAA where he is meant to be.

    All this is happening because someone inside the Jays organization felt it better to completely ignore the majority of the starting pitching market than to sign even ONE guy. Ugh…

    Something has to give here, AA has to do something because as is, shit aint working. Call up the kids, why not give Hanrahan a shot? do something….

    • The Jays already have two pitchers that can close, the marginal value McGowan provides by being moved to close is pretty low. However, if he can be in the range of Major League average starter for ~100-120 IP this year, that’s a big gain on what Happ or Rogers gives us. There’s upside potential to see how the experiment plays out.

  18. I know complaining about stuff like this is SO Jays Talk but why does the otherwise loveable Navarro keep going to a high fastball for the K instead of a breaking pitch?? He’s not actually worried about blocking the ball is he? Because the last two games turned on high fastballs on two strike counts that got hammered.

  19. I don’t love it but the Jays do have a butt load of games coming up on consecutive days. Not the worst thing in the world. I mean if you’re going to have 4 long men you may as well use them every once in a while.

    A few wins will make everything better.. A few losses though? Yikes. I don’t wanna go all Fairservice. .

  20. No game threat Stoet?

  21. Buck is so frickin stupid. And Tabby must have had a full frontal lobotomy.

    p.s. Lawrie is so ordinary.

  22. Does anyone else feel like watching Jays baseball is kind of like watching the movie groundhog day? :/

  23. Something’s Happ-ening here

  24. I can’t believe they are going with a six man rotation?

    Yes, I read the article.

  25. another starter who goes 4 innings……..no thank you

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