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.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) April 30, 2014
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?