Per an email blast from the club, in a slightly surprising move this afternoon, Erik Kratz returned to the Jays, as Dioner Navarro has been placed on the bereavement/family medical emergency list. Meanwhile, Neil Wagner has returned to the bullpen, with Chad Jenkins being optioned down to Buffalo.

First and foremost, thoughts are with Navarro and whatever it is that he’s going through that has forced him to leave the club briefly here. As for the baseball stuff, according to the release, he’ll be gone a minimum of three, and a maximum of seven days. Not sure how much they can fudge this, but with him ailing a bit the other week, and this being in his first season of full-time duty behind the plate since 2009– plus the potential that whatever he’s attending to is something that’s happening in his native Venezuela —  I’d wager he’s out for closer to the latter than the former. Entirely a guess, though.

Erik Kratz is a fine-enough replacement — strange words given his Arencibia-like .231/.231/.462 line (in a horribly tiny sample size, with a much better walk rate for his career), but he is at least bringing defence and the understanding that the gig is only temporary. And also is still just a backup one — Josh Thole starts tonight with Dustin McGowan on the hill.

Wagner makes all the sense in the world, and always did. Well, except for the time when he was dealing with a minor arm injury and Jenkins was recalled in his stead, but he was back in action on Sunday, pitching an inning in Charlotte, allowing one hit and striking out one, and apparently that’s all the club needed to see. Ol’ Gibbers seems to trust him — something we can’t say of half the relievers back there, it sometimes feels — so we can add that to go with his vast superiority in a short relief role to the reasons why he’s a better fit than Jenkins. And who knows how long Stroman is going to be back there? J.A. Happ probably needs to pitch reasonably well on Thursday to keep his job another five days, in which case Gibbons loses another right-handed power arm from the ‘pen, so they might as well have Wagner up and rolling by that time — especially since Stroman won’t be available over the weekend if he really does end up being slated for a move to the bullpen after an inevitable Happ farm-walking, eh?

Meanwhile, the White Sox activated right-hitting, formerly lefty-smashing second baseman Jeff Keppinger from the DL today, and then immediately designated him for assignment. In other words: the roster carousel may not have come to a complete stop just yet, as Keppinger could actually be seen as a useful piece for the Jays, provided they’re willing to look beyond the pitiful 113 plate appearances against left-handed pitching that he took last season for Chicago, in which he posted a .256 wOBA and a wRC+ of just 53.

Not good, but his overall numbers did rise after a terrible start to the year (his second half wOBA was a still-not-good .294), and it also needs to be noted that he played the whole season with a shoulder problem (which he had off-season surgery for, and was the reason he began this year on the DL — but was also, if Robin Ventura is to be believed, having more of an impact on his throwing than his hitting). For his career his wOBA against lefties is a far, far more impressive .358, and his wRC+ is 121, and in the three seasons prior to the shoulder injury it was .363 and 131. That wRC+ is actually top 50 in baseball in the split over that span (minimum 300 PA), though Kevin Youkilis ranks second on that list, so… y’know. On the rehab assignment in double-A that just ended he had two hits and two walks in eight plate appearances against lefties, for whatever that’s worth (read: nothing), too. (Also, veteran presents, eh Alex?)

Since 2011, Keppinger has been used exclusively at first, second, and third, but in the years before that he also saw some time at short and in the outfield as well. So: versatile? Capable of playing second? Arm enough to play third? Crushed left-handers before a shoulder injury he’s supposedly recovered from? He and Steve Tolleson would be somewhat redundant, I guess, except that it’s not like the Jays don’t need two caddies for their platoon infielders/DHs anyway (or that Tolleson couldn’t just be tossed back to the scrap heap they found him on in exchange for a superior hitter). If they believe his restored health has restored his lefty-killing prowess, they might totally make a move — that is, if only they could bring themselves to dump one of the relievers they don’t have enough innings for anyway to make room for him. Ugh.

Comments (52)

  1. Could definitely handle me some Kepp

  2. 2012 Keppinger would fit this team so well it’s not even funny.

  3. Love me some Kratzup.

  4. Kepp would be good, but I can’t see AA suddenly abandoning his unhealthy fetish with bullpen slopballers.

    • Oh yeah, totally agree, love to see him in a Jays uniform but not holding my breath

      • I think you’re both badly misreading what AA’s intentions are with the bullpen, FYI.

        • To insulate the starters in case of injury?
          I think you have said he’s doing it to keep depth or something to that effect correct?
          I understand the reasoning, if we were to cut a Rogers/Redmond etc we’d only be an injury or 2 from starting Deck or Jenkins every 5 days.

          I get it, I just think defending against that scenario is hurting the present team. I think if you truly want to make a run at a playoff spot in the ALE you need to field the best team you can, as often as you can. Carrying these guys will/have cost us games.

          I’d rather field the best team and gamble that you stay healthy-ish then short change your bench, carry some sloppers as insurance against another starter injury.

        • You need to get off AA’s dick Stoeten

    • And BAM! Jays 1.0 game back. 0.5 back if they win tonight.
      I know it’s meaningless to look at standing like this so early in the season, but I can’t even remember what it feels like to lead the division.

  5. I’ll take the Keppinger for Sierra “trade” any day.

  6. For all the bitching about roster moves, you gotta give AA some credit for building a nice wall of depth.

    • a lot of it is crap, but meh.

      I’d like keppinger, but shoulder injuries are tricky.

      Gordan Beckham sucks and is off to a horrible start, and still the white sox didn’t want to keep him around, must be a reason

  7. Is Jenkins now ready to kill himself?

  8. Hard to see the Jays picking up Keppinger’s salary considering they’re already paying Izturis a close-to-starters salary for a part-time player. I imagine the Sox will have to pick up some salary to entice a team to give him a chance (i.e. Rays) or he’ll go to a team like the Yankees without a lot of thought to payroll.

  9. Ketchup….Kratzup….Ketchup….Kratzup. I’m in way over my head here.

    Also: Whats the rhubarb on Cletus?

  10. Nice. The O’s lose. Jays in a good position here if they can keep hammering.

    • Jays 1.0 game back. 0.5 back if they win tonight.
      I know it’s meaningless to look at standing like this so early in the season, but I can’t even remember what it feels like to lead the division.

      • may be too early, but the rays have looked like absolute shit, and have all of their good pitchers sans price going down with injuries

        so, it may be a 2013 jays situation

        • Yankees hit with the injury bug too, and just look plain old. They have serious holes.

          O’s and Red Sox will be there though, but its going to be a slug fest.

          Step 1: Starting pitcher doesn’t blow it
          Step 2: hit bombs
          Step 3: Bullpen locks it down
          Step 4: playoffs

          2012 Orioles style

    • Apparently, O’s GM is joining the locals in illegal recreational activities…a lefty starter was bypassed and Gausman was called up on three days rest, because Detroit is apparently 9-2 against lefty starters this year. Wow…

  11. Navarro has to be the most unlucky person. Has anyone ever read his entry on Wikipedia? Wow.

    • Holy shit! Just look at his personal life section.

      • Crazy, right?! I mean, I already love the guy for being a billion times better than JPA, but after I read that, I just want to give him a hug!

        • Incredibly unlucky but also incredibly lucky that all those events turned out okay in the end.

          Did anyone else notice that his 18 year old wife already had a child from a previous relationship? Gossip!

          • A year later, Navarro was surfing the web when he met a young woman named Sherley in a Spanish-language chat room. She was, by all accounts, his perfect match, a Bronx-born Yankee fan who spoke to him about baseball while teaching him to speak English. Soon after, Navarro began his Minor League career in the U.S., and the young couple was married.

        • Navarro was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and married his wife, Sherley, at age 18; they have a son, Dioner Jr. (born 2005), and she has a son, Gerson, from a previous relationship. They have lived in the Tampa Bay Area during offseasons since he was drafted and first signed by the Yankees, and currently live in Riverview, Florida.[15]

          On September 27, 2003, their first wedding anniversary, Sherley suffered a cerebral aneurysm in Tampa. Doctors gave her less than a 5% chance of surviving surgery, and said it was likely she would die on September 30. She survived, and made a full recovery. Navarro has worn the #30 in her honor ever since.[16]

          On July 5, 2006, days after his acquisition by the Devil Rays, Navarro’s SUV was clipped by another vehicle, causing his SUV to roll over. He and his family escaped serious injury, but the other vehicle fled the scene.[17]

          His son, Dioner Jr., was born with multicystic dysplastic kidney. He needed to have one of his kidneys removed in September 2006, and further surgery in 2007.[18]

          His mother, who still resides in Venezuela, suffered a cerebral aneurysm in early February 2008. Navarro left the Rays’ pre-spring training workouts to be with her and returned when her condition stabilized.[19]

          Navarro is an animal lover who has five pets: Lilo (a French bulldog), Crystal (English bulldog), a chameleon called Jeffrey, and two birds that do not have names.[20]

  12. Given our bullpen’s usage rate, I don’t think it’s entirely accurate to say there isn’t enough innings to go around.

  13. One interesting note I caught a brief glimpse of in Dave Cameron’s chat–the Jays are not the only team running an eight-man bullpen.

    The Rangers currently have an eight-man bullpen, for about the last week.

    The Angels briefly had an eight-man bullpen, for about 4 days at the end of April.

    The Giants are currently running an eight-man bullpen, since May 12, though the article I’m reading about the move also used the word “again,” implying that the Giants ran an eight-man bullpen in the recent past.

    Just because people are doing it does not make it a good idea, though I’m certainly curious as to why the eight-man bullpen appears to be a growing trend. (Insert lame “new market inefficiency” joke.)

  14. pair keppinger with kawasaki & you have 1 suitable 2nd baseman!

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