Archive for the ‘Brett Cecil’ Category

Parkes always rolls his eyes at me when I link to the New Hampshire Union-Leader’s Kevin Gray, or his Gray Matter blog, because of, y’know, the whole Yu Darvish nonsense thing. But… whatever. Interesting content is interesting content, and the other day Gray posted a 12 minute clip of a recent conversation with demoted supposed-number-three-starter Brett Cecil– with some of catcher Brian Jeroloman’s insight tossed in for good measure.

“Cecil, who starts Thursday at New Britain, topped out at 87-mph in his most recent start for the Fisher Cats. (That’s an improvement of a few mph.),” Gray tells us. Wait… really???

Here’s what the pitcher had to say…

With Joey Votto having now bankrupted Cincinnati for generations to come, the folks at CBS Sports are going to require a new dimension by which to acknowledge the Jays’ existence. Danny Knobler gave it a go yesterday, calling the club’s decision to promote Joel Carreno in place of Brett Cecil “stunning and understandable, if that combination is possible.”

What appears stunning to him, however, is kinda odd…

Right. Like Kyle Drabek and Henderson Alvarez did last year… because the Jays triple-A affiliate is in the shitty Pacific Coast League, and the Red Sox at least have Pawtucket.

No matter. It’s doom and gloom for the Jays, who “end spring training with a patchwork rotation that calls into question their chances of survival in baseball’s toughest division.”

Maybe I’ve just cooled on Cecil and Dustin McGowan, and am overly optimistic from what I saw of Kyle Drabek this spring, but… is it really such a step down from what was originally planned to Drabek and Carreno? Is it a step down at all, frankly?

Having followed the Jays through camp, I don’t think it is.

Besides, as Knobler himself acknowledges on Twitter, Carreno is only to be a temporary fill-in, ostensibly until Dustin McGowan gets back.

Of course, the “end of April, at a minimum” timeline on McGowan’s return– as John Farrell gave over the weekend, according to John Lott of the National Post– is probably overly optimistic, seeing as it relies on him being healthy enough to start throwing again on schedule by the end of the week, then building his arm back up, setback-free, over the course of the month. Still, it’s not going to be long before some of the guys at New Hampshire start knocking on the door anyway. The Jays weren’t afraid to call up Henderson Alvarez after just 14 starts and 88 innings in double-A last year, and the best arms who’ll start the season there– Drew Hutchison and Deck McGuire– already have three Eastern League starts under their belts.

It was always going to be a patchwork rotation here, so it’s hard to be too concerned about it now.

It appeared last week that the Jays may have shielded struggling pitcher Brett Cecil from the media, failing to let anybody know that he’d been moved to a minor league game until it was already in progress. And with many members of the local media having already headed north, maybe they hoped they’d get away with it again, and not have to face the questions that have uncomfortably built over the course of camp, first about Cecil’s lacklustre velocity, then about his overall terribleness, and the tenuous grasp he held on his rotation spot– which for most of the spring was believed to be third in line, behind Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.

Not so, as reporters like Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, and others made it to Lakeland to witness the absolute catastrofuck of a day that Cecil had on Monday against the Tigers.

“There’s concern. There’ll certainly be discussion and evaluation and internal talks that will take place today and tomorrow,” said John Farrell, after Cecil left “a lot of pitches up over the plate; a lot of pitches found the middle of the plate.”

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Oh my. Brett Cecil pitched the Jays’ penultimate Spring Training game today against the Detroit Tigers, and not to continue what seems like an eternal game of piling on Cecil– I’d like to see him succeed– but, um… it didn’t go so well.

I’ll leave it to Shi Davidi to elaborate…

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As a continuation of the club’s policy of hiding starters from clubs they’ll be facing early in the season, today’s scheduled starter for the Blue Jays, Brett Cecil, ended up pitching in a minor league game instead of against the Orioles. On the surface, it seems normal enough– the club did the same with Brandon Morrow yesterday, sending Kyle Drabek to face the Yankees regulars instead– but at Miked Up, Mike Wilner tells us something a little curious.

“The second reason to have Cecil work at the minor-league complex was because in the more controlled environment, they could make sure to get him seven ‘innings’ of work by ending innings early just to get him the ups and downs.  As it turned out, they didn’t need to.  It was an intra-squad game, so there wasn’t any scoring kept, and we didn’t find out Cecil was pitching until after the game had started (and weren’t told it was going to happen in the morning), so none of the media assemblage was there to see him.”

I’m not knowledgeable enough of the situation to suggest something fishy is going on here, but seeing as Cecil has been easily the most scrutinized of the Jays projected starters, and– given the way Kyle Drabek has pitched this spring– is the rotation member with perhaps the most tenuous grasp on his spot, you can see how there’s benefit to not further deepening the image problem, or allowing the media to push the magnifying glass harder down onto his head.

I hope it’s not that, because by essentially creating a closed session from which only Alex Anthopoulos can provide us information– shock: he was very positive– all they’ve done is create the conditions for fans to start wildly speculating about what the club possibly doesn’t want us to see.

Counterproductive, and kind of a bullshit move? Let’s hope it was an honest mistake.

Gregor Chisholm lays the following tweet on us:

Not exactly surprising news, but actually… potentially great news.

No, not because of any sort of newfound ill will towards McGowan and his contract, or his guaranteed rotation spot when healthy, but because it potentially extends the battle for the Jays’ last spot between Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek.

I don’t think Drabek looked quite as good yesterday against the Yankees as some of the reports on him suggested– getting bailed out of one inning on a great throw to the plate from Colby Rasmus, and having Andruw Jones hit him hard, but foul, in the fourth, after a hard A-Rod double and a walk to Ibanez– but he looked plenty OK. And while I’m well aware that velocity isn’t everything, and that I’m basing this view on scant looks and whatever information has come out of camp, I’d bet on Drabek having better success right now in the big leagues than Brett Cecil.

I don’t know that the Jays will be willing to make the switch by the time McGowan gets back, but anything Drabek can do to show that he’s progressing beyond last year’s disasterfuck is probably a good thing, in terms of letting the club feel confident in pulling the plug on Cecil once he starts repeatedly getting his ass handed to him.

Speaking of, Cecil pitches today, but it’s in a minor league game, in order to hide him from the OriLOLes [note: really?], who he’s scheduled to face early in the season. Ryan Tepera, who is apparently a real thing, gets the start for the Jays Major Leaguers, with eight of the club’s nine Opening Day hitters in the lineup against Baltimore’s Dana Eveland.

Talkin’ Cecil

“Eighty-seven to eighty-nine miles per hour is the new norm, it appears, and the reality is that means Cecil’s now a back of the rotation pitcher,” writes Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail in one of several pieces about Brett Cecil to have hit the web in the last couple of days. They come as the Jays’ lefty continues struggling with what some might call  might call his fastball velocity, while others might say he’s merely working on the ability to command his eminently Cole Hamels-like “stuff.”

No, really. That’s what what was written by Mike Wilner at his Fan 590 blog, apparently in agreement with his radio colleague Alan Ashby– and intentional or not, for my taste, it’s the kind of comment that, unfortunately, wades a little dangerously close to blatant homerism territory, especially, I’m sure it will be pointed out, on the part of guys who draw a paycheque from the same company that owns the team. On Twitter, this madness was later both defended, by Wilner, and derided, by Keith Law, and pretty much everyone else, the real kill shot coming from our friend Drew over at Getting Blanked, who went all Pitch F/X-y to show two rather different arsenals– in both tenor and quality.

And it’s the quality of Cecil’s arsenal that continues to give legs to rumours about the Jays looking for pitching reinforcements, despite the club and the pitcher himself putting on brave faces and saying all the right things.

“As far as the body goes, I’m even better than I wanted to be,” Cecil told Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com after his start on Sunday. “As long as everything feels good I’m going to be happy. There’s going to come a point, who knows what game, it’s not always going to be there and that’s where the hard work starts on the mound. Pick and choose your spots you’ve got to work on, but hopefully it doesn’t come for a while and things keep going well.”

“If Brett’s in the 88-91 mph range that’s probably what we expect from him,” John Farrell added. “But more importantly is the location of it and how it’s travelling through the strikezone. If it’s on a downward plane, his changeup in behind it becomes that much more deceptive.”

It all sounds nice, yet rumblings about dissatisfaction among Jays management continue.

“As the Jays try to create more room for their top young pitchers, there’s no question Cecil could be available in a deal. He is one of those former top prospects who hasn’t lived up to expectations, and he hasn’t had an especially good spring,” writes Nick Cafardo in Sunday’s Boston Globe.

And Monday evening Danny Knobler– the Knobler!– of CBS Sports added more fuel to the fire:

So… where there’s smoke there’s fire? I don’t know. I don’t know if we can quite draw a line leading from the Jays’ rumoured continued interest in upgrading the rotation– something they were unable, or unwilling, to do over the winter– to the issues Cecil may or may not be having this spring. But with Kyle Drabek looking good so far, and Dustin McGowan being out of options and all but assured an opportunity to take the ball out of the gate and run with it, it makes it tempting to assume that Cecil’s spot is the one the club is most interested in upgrading on.

Not that there are many opportunities for clubs to upgrade their rotation at this point in the year. But I’m sure that’s not going to stop anybody from writing about it, is it? Myself included, I suppose. Ugh.