From the fast Twitter fingers of Barry Davis of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet, here’s a nifty bit of news from the Rogers-owned Toronto Blue Jays:
Stroman optioned back to AAA. Will start there. No word on callup but it will happen Tuesday in Boston. #bluejays
— Barry Davis (@SNBarryDavis) May 18, 2014
Let’s start here: In the overall, long-term, Stroman starting is better than Stroman relieving.
I think it would be easy to oversimplify things here. No, he didn’t have great results in the 6.1 innings he pitched while here, but I don’t think at all this is as simple as him having pitched his way out of the job.
For whatever it’s worth, some of his peripherals have been fairly good. He minimized walks, generated ground balls, and got some swing and miss. The strikeout rate certainly wasn’t where you’d want it to be, though, and while his .444 BABIP suggests there is certainly an element of bad luck that may have coloured the sample we saw, most times it didn’t exactly feel like balls were necessarily just not finding their way into gloves.
In other words, it’s hard to properly assess what this cameo means, which is exactly what you’d expect from a sample so small. And, if you’ll permit me to spitball here a little bit, I don’t think that’s what the Jays have attempted to do. In fact, I think it’s almost simple what’s going on here.
The results, I suspect, have made the manager understandably a little reluctant to go to Stroman. That being the case, instead of being the bullpen weapon he was ostensibly brought here to be, Stroman has become the fourth right-handed reliever on the bullpen depth chart, behind Janssen, Delabar, and McGowan, and is less likely to get called on than Cecil and Loup, as well. He is both accruing service time and failing to get innings.
I don’t think the demotion is an indictment of how he’s performed, I think it’s an acknowledgement of where he stands in the pecking order, and the understanding that it’s far more valuable to the club both to prevent him from accumulating service time (and potentially getting hitting arbitration a year early as a Super Two) and to get him stretched out again and ready for his ideal role, in the starting rotation.
They could have simply thrust him into that role anyway, but I can understand there being a political element here, and even some element of trepidation regarding that tiny sample. Maybe the political stuff is too convenient of an excuse — and surely it wouldn’t matter much anyway — but Todd Redmond has pitched reasonably well this year, today not withstanding, and did a very nice job as a fill-in last year. He and a faction of the room might be understandably irked if he were passed over for the opportunity by a struggling rookie. Or if that’s nonsense — and hopefully it is — the club could simply want to take a good look at what they’ve got in the hot triple-A hand of Liam Hendriks, and be understandably thinking that this is the best opportunity they’ll get to see what he can do at the next level.
Not exactly inspiring stuff, but we do know they’re at least looking at Henriks. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News spoke to Alex Anthopoulos yesterday, as the GM visited the Queen City specifically to see the 25-year-old former Twin — and, perhaps, to avoid a repeat of last season’s dunderheaded Jim-Negrych-deserved-a-chance screed from a certain Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.
“He’s why I came,” Anthopoulos said. “You want to see the 1.50 ERA for yourself. He was good. Throws strikes, changes speeds and I think people tend to forget he’s still young.”
Added Buffalo manager and OG Gary Allenson, “He’s money. … He deserves a look.”
Stroman won’t be eligible to be recalled in time for the next time the fifth starter’s spot comes up, Saturday afternoon against Oakland at Rogers Centre, so it will likely be Hendriks — and if not, Redmond — who gets the call. And with Stroman back to taking turns in the Buffalo rotation, waiting for either of those two or J.A. Happ to inevitably fail, he’s actually exactly where he should be.