Archive for the ‘Farrell Speaks!’ Category

Jays manager John Farrell took to the airwaves this morning, providing us with some nuggets as he spoke on a number of topics with Jeff Blair of the Fan 590 (audio here), including the success Casey Janssen has had since assuming the closer role for the Jays, the progress of Sergio Santos, and a couple of young, untested power arms that the club seems intent on looking towards to shore up their shaky bullpen.

First, however, they discussed the possibility of trades.

I think that a starter would go a long way,” Farrell said, echoing what we’ve all been basically thinking, “and if we had the ability, and the market provided two, I’d even go as far as saying that two could be used, or could be needed. Particularly, as you mentioned, the dependability of six to seven innings every night out allows you to bring guys from the bullpen that are rested. Because, here’s the thing, Jeff, we’ve got 80 games remaining. We’ve got 54 that are in the AL East ahead of us. Two of the best offenses in the game are among those, in Boston and New York, so we know that while we sit here two games over .500, two-and-a-half games out of the Wild Card, we have got a tough road ahead, and we have got to not only perform at our best, but in some cases we might even need some reinforcements.

Easier said than done, of course, but there’s really no reason to be afraid of all those second half games against the AL East… y’know, if they can find someone decent to start against them.

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As you may have heard about in the previous post, Mike Wilner had some audio from yesterday’s post-game at Miked Up– as he’s rather awesomely been doing all spring. Turns out, it wasn’t entirely from Alex Anthopoulos. Starter Brandon Morrow and manager John Farrell spoke to the media as well, and here’s the gist of what they said, as well as all the non-Drew Hutchison stuff from the GM…

John Farrell

The manager felt that Brandon Morrow threw the ball well in the last three innings of his outing Thursday against the Philles– when he really started to establish his fastball, which makes his off-speed stuff that much more effective. Farrell suggests he’s taken the opportunity this spring to go out there and “pitch,” rather than just throw the ball, as he’s done in the past.

“It’s very positive that he’s not relying on just sheer power, with a hard fastball and a hard cutter,” the manager said of Morrow’s spring. “He’s disrupted some hitters’ timings, and when he’s able to get some guys out front, that’s when he’s able to get a two- or three-pitch out, which is what we’re looking for to get deeper into ballgames.”

To the fact that for the second game in a row he’d moved Kelly Johnson into the leadoff spot, with incumbent leadoff man Yunel Escobar hitting second, Farrell simply said he was “taking a look.” He added that he felt that Escobar can use the whole field, and has “the ability to hit the hole” a little more [no, you turn six], while Johnson is more of a dead pull hitter. In other words, with a runner on he likes Escobar’s ability to get the ball through infielders playing at double play depth, plus the advantage he can provide on a hit and run.

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On Thursday morning Blue Jays manager John Farrell spoke with Jeff Blair for a segment on the Fan 590 (audio here), touching on the basic storylines from camp that, for some reason, we still get blanket coverage from the local newsmedia, though they’re pretty damn insignificant by just about any kind of measure. Shit, now there’s a paragraph that’s really gonna suck the readers in. Here are some highlights!

On Brandon Morrow, Farrell said that a transformation started at the end of last year. “I think you’re seeing the maturity of a guy who knows what his next step is,” he says, referring to Morrow’s comments at the press conference to announce his contract extension that he needs to be a bigger asshole on the mound. Farrell also says that every young player goes through having to think about their contract situation, and now that Morrow has his extension, he can better “focus on the advances that he needs to make.” In general, we’re told that Morrow needs to work on his curve and changeup, “so he can take advantage of his fastball that much more.”

Right. And how about working on pitching from the stretch while you’re at it?

Asked about Brett Lawrie and what he needs to do this spring, Farrell answered simply, “to pick up where he left off.” He then lavished praise on his young, maple-dick-tickling third baseman, saying that, while a lot gets written about him, but the thing the club sees day-in and day-out is that his approach is pretty simple: he just wants to set the world record for Red Bull consumption win and to get better than a player. In fact, Farrell says, Lawrie had texted him– about what, we’re not told– at 10 o’clock the previous night. I don’t have a clue what to think of that, really. ”There is no questioning his confidence,” he adds in the understatement of the year.

“He could very easily get caught up in all the hysteria that surrounds him,” Farrell says, “but he’s got a very strong support system at home, and it shows up every day he walks on the field.”

Speaking of hysteria, Farrell was speaking before Brett Cecil’s start, which was notable for the pitcher’s lack of velocity, and the subsequent reaction in the Twitterverse. But it sounds like the Farrell would be less upset about that than with the issues Cecil had with his command– he told reporters, Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun among them, that the ball didn’t feel good coming out of his hand, and that he was having trouble keeping the ball down. That’s precisely the sort of trouble Farrell told Blair he wanted this spring’s winner of the Vernon Wells Best Shape Of His Life Award to avoid.

As opposed to last year, Farrell says that Travis Snider “knows the situation he’s in” and he “doesn’t attach to every comment or word that might be talked about him.” He explains that in previous years Snider was eager for feedback, eager to know where he stood on the team and in the organization, and that maybe his up-and-down experiences have hardened him up a bit, that he’s matured, he knows where he stands and what’s at stake.

Farrell also notes– as he and Anthopoulos always do on this subject– that there’s more to the left field battle than spring stats. It’s Eric Thames’ job, and “Snider is going to have to come in and flat out take the job away from him.”

And, how will we know whether he did or not, if it’s not based on spring stats? We won’t. Which will make whatever decision they make a whole lot easier to justify. But that, of course, isn’t to suggest that’s somehow wrong to toss spring stats, for the most part. Quite the opposite.

Lastly, Farrell heaped more praise onto one of the club’s aspiring backup middle infielders. Guess which one.

Oh, sit down, McCoy and Valbuena!

John Farrell spoke to a crowd of reporters today, as he tends to do pretty much every day during Spring Training, and fortunately for us, Mike Wilner of the Fan 590 has been kind enough to post the audio of the scrum on his blog.

We know that the manager spoke about using Adeiny Hechavarria as an emergency second baseman, but here are some highlights of the things he said that haven’t been talked about quite as much.

- Like Dustin McGowan a day before– though hardly as impressive a story, seeing as they’re not coming back from years of injury, but their own shittiness– Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek threw very encouraging BP sessions today.

- Farrell had this to say about Drabek, and the interesting methods the club is using to get him to repeat his delivery: “To date he’s taken that early work that he did in the off-season, the early bullpens– I’m sure everybody’s seen the strings that have been put on the mound just as a visual reminder for him. The true test will be once you get into games, and you’re all of the sudden asked to balance the running game, the emotion of the game, all those. That will be more the real limus test of taking all the drill work out to go out and compete.”

- Farrell notes that Drabek won’t be using the strings during live batting practice against live hitters.

- A reporter asks, “if he does get into BP and he’s maintaining the lines, is that the sign that it really is starting to take?” Farrell responds that, in BP, “he’s seeing a hitter, he’s executing all types of pitches that he has. Ultimately it will be the focus on executing pitches, rather than thinking so much about his delivery– that’s a natural progression– but again, it’s first step first, and he’s doing that.” So… I guess that’s good.

- On Adam Lind, from the Key words (one hopes): “right now” file: “We are not looking at a platoon situation at first base. He is our first baseman. When we get into the season and how we monitor his off-days, that’s where Edwin’s play at first base will come into play, but right now Adam Lind is our first baseman.”

- In addition to the news about Adeiny Hechavarria playing second, Farrell says “he just looks stronger.”

- He’s got a “fairly simple swing, but this year there’s a little bit more authority to the swing than there was a year ago. Even meeting with him today– we did his one-on-one meeting with him today– and he just talked about the difference his off-season this year had, compared to last year, leading up to Spring Training.”

- Lastly, asked about Hechavarria’s experience playing second base, Farrell said that “when he was 15 was his last time.” I’m sure he can handle it.