Archive for the ‘Bullpen’ Category


There was mostly a whole lot of nothing to digest from last night’s radio action featuring Alex Anthopoulos, which is pretty much exactly what we’ve come to expect from a GM who somehow manages to be both tight-lipped and overly loquacious. There are always at least a couple of nuggets to be mined from his comments, though, and while I tried to unpack them as best I could in the course of transcribing what he said, I think there are some worth a second thought…

Deals With Teams Waiting On Free Agents?

Perhaps most interestingly, we have Alex’s statement about having deals setup that are contingent on whether the other team is able to land a free agent. Specifically, this:

I was just having a conversation with a team last night; they have some interest in our players, but they basically said the interest is predicated on whether they lose out on some free agents, and those free agents are going to take a little bit of time.

As I noted in the original post, during his hit on TSN Radio, he made it even more like discussions are quite far along– as though he could act on such deals just as soon as the dominoes fall.

So… um… what are the dominoes?

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I’ve spoken a lot in recent weeks about the need for the Jays to actually spend some money this winter, and not spread their precious assets thinner and thinner by trading prospects they should keep and players they can use to fill holes elsewhere. However, there actually are some parts of their roster where they have enough depth to justify looking at a trade as a positive, rather than a lateral move.

The desperate nonsense we hear about moving Jose Bautista certainly isn’t that, but the club does have some young outfielders who are probably better trade assets than they are big pieces of the club’s future. They also have some back-end starter types, some with upside, who could surely fetch something, but given injury and inexperience, are not exactly at the zenith of their value.

Where the club does have players who will never be more valuable, and yet can be relatively easily replaced, is in the bullpen. Relievers being the most fungible of roster members, however, makes the task difficult, but we can look to a number of recent examples to see that it’s not impossible to pull the kind of trick that Alex Anthopoulos will be attempting this winter. In fact, he’s already pulled some of them himself– or had them pulled on him, as it were.

Trading a reliever in the winter isn’t quite the same as doing in July, so while there have been a few deals from around the time of the trade deadline in recent years that might give us hope for this winter’s possibilities– Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos, Koji Uehara for Chris Davis, or Jason Frasor (and Zach Stewart) for Edwin Jackson– I think the difference in circumstances require us to look elsewhere.

That being the case, I think there are five deals that have happened during the Anthopoulos era that can make fans feel a bit more hopeful than maybe they currently are about the possibility of the club actually finding a viable piece from out of their bullpen surplus.

They are: Brandon League for Brandon Morrow, Frank Francisco for Mike Napoli, Mark Melancon for Jed Lowrie, Sean Marshall for Travis Wood, and Esmil Rogers for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes.

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Houston Astros v Milwaukee Brewers

According to Shi Davidi, the Blue Jays have claimed right-hander Edgar Gonzalez off waivers from the Houston Astros.

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Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

Well here’s exactly what you didn’t want to hear. Mike Cormack of Sportsnet passes along a clip from this morning’s Brady and Lang show on the Fan 590, in which Casey Janssen dropped by. Here’s what the Jays’ closer laid on us when the subject of his off-season shoulder “clean-up” arose:

“I’m feeling good. I’m not 100% just yet, but, again, having a little bit of extra time in the spring is going to help. I’m going to use every bit of the spring to get to that 100% level. But, as far as I’m concerned, I think April 2nd is very, very realistic, and things are going good.”

He’s choice of words makes it seem like he’s certainly looking at the glass half full here, and I don’t want to overblow this, but the implication that Opening Day is merely “realistic”– even if “very, very realistic”– is at least a little bit troubling. Right?

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Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays

I’m certainly not suggesting that Brett Cecil is on the path towards developing a wipeout splitter, but in a strange twist, the former high-bonus 38th overall pick is following the career path of his new teammate: eight-year minor league veteran turned metal-elbowed Major League success, Steve Delabar.

Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun does some outstanding work in presenting the story, which explains that this off-season Cecil has been working with trainer James Evans, who developed the program that reinvigorated Delabar’s career, following what might have been a career-ending injury in 2009, largely by adding a few ticks to his fastball.

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It’s not that I don’t believe that the Jays’ budget has already stretched the ol’ payroll parameters about as far as they can go, but when they’re still handing out $750K each to fucking Henry Blanco and Mark DeRosa, clearly there’s something still left for, say, Brandon Lyon?

Cue Jon Heyman:

Not horribly surprising. Yet, also, not something I’m real keen on expounding a shit-tonne of words on at quarter after five on a Friday afternoon.

So… uh… there’s that.

In the wake of his agreement– finally– to avoid retirement one more year, after the Jays exercised their contract option on him early in the off-season, Darren Oliver spoke on a conference call this evening with reporters, and also chatted briefly with Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt on the Fan 590‘s Prime Time Sports.

“When that article came out, actually I wasn’t even in town,” he said on PTS, after Brunt decided to go ahead and make mention of the elephant in the room. Which is true, as it was reported at the time the Oliver was on vacation. “I knew I was going to get blown up,” he continued. “I thought, ‘aww, man, that’s not good right there,’ becuase I didn’t even say it. I don’t think there was anything in that quote that said, ‘Darren Oliver said he demands more money.’ ”

Pressed on it he explained, “I think… obviously he might have said something to one of the media outlets that reported it… maybe he just… I don’t know why he said that. I mean, I wish I would have known he was going to say it, because I probably would have stopped him.”

“In house,” he continued, after his cell was breaking up a little, “that’s kind of where I’d do things. But, sometimes people do stuff and… he made a mistake. I’ve known the guy for twenty years, he definitely wasn’t trying to hurt me in any way, he was just trying to do what’s best for his client.”

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