It’s the eve of MLB’s annual Winter Meetings, which begin tomorrow in Nashville, and even though we may be salivating for the season to begin, especially after seeing everybody’s new favourite, Jose Reyes, goofing around with Carlos Delgado here, but for most of baseball, there’s a lot of work to be done over the next few days– and maybe even for the Jays too. Here’s what’s out there rumbling…
For whatever little it’s worth, on Friday afternoon’s Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports said that he thinks the Jays are still interested in Anibal Sanchez, though he wasn’t certain that they’d be into going five years with him. “I think there’s a chance Alex has another move or two up his sleeve,” he said. Translation: keep sending traffic in the direction of my rumour-mongering! [Note: will do.]
In the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliott gets us set for the meetings, speaking to a ridiculous “veteran evaluator” who calls Josh Johnson a three, and says the Jays need “a dominant number one” like, among others, Jack Morris– he of the career ERA+ that, even when you subtract his awful two final years, barely scrapes just a point ahead of Gustavo Chacin’s.
Elliott also runs with the rotation setup that Alex Anthopoulos tossed off in his conversation with reporters this week– as quoted by Gregor Chisholm at North of the Border– which places Mark Buehrle at the top. He says it’s “the way the Jays have been listing their starters”– plural– so maybe there’s something to it. I could see maybe the Jays wanting to thrust Buehrle into a leadership role that way, though I could also see Anthopoulos having listed the names of his starters in no particular order at all.
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This is what the kids call an “emergency start.” Joel Carreno, he of middling success in the minor leagues but some experience at the big league level, gets the call for the Jays today in Milwaukee against the fightin’ Brew Crew. Carreno was scheduled to pitch for Double-A New Hampshire today but gets to face Ryan Braun instead. That’s some prize!
While I know the reasons against it, I wonder how much thought (if any) was given to calling on Ricky Romero to go on short rest today? With the off day tomorrow, everyone else could move up a day without too much trauma, one assumes (Cecil would pitch Friday on regular rest in this scenario.)
Trauma is the key word and the likely reason why they wouldn’t ask their nominal ace to go on three days rest. Imagine Ricky sustained an injury pitching after three days for the first time in his career? The fainting couches of the GTA would get quite the workout.
Pitchers simply don’t pitch that well on short rest as a rule but the Jays are quite clearly running out of options. The bullpen is getting quite the workout of late, predictably pitching more innings than any staff in baseball over the last two weeks. The results are better than expected but, as last night shows, no staff is perfect. Carreno went six innings in his only other big league start (during the opening series of the season) and he will be asked to perform at a similar level today (duh).
Luis Perez has only pitched once in the past four days, throwing 37 pitches over 3 innings of one-hit ball. Expect to see Perez and likely Aaron Laffey, who didn’t pitch yesterday and appeared just once over the same timeframe. A few decent innings from Carreno with Perez closing it out? Off day in Miami and boom, everyone is sorted. Sounds like a plan, no?
According to a tweet from the team, the Jays have subtracted a right-hander from their bullpen in order to add a lefty for the upcoming series against the Rays and Yankees.
The tweet seems to be a bit confused, fulfilling the fantasies of Ottawa’s City Council by suggesting that New Hampshire is now the club’s Triple-A affiliate, so… I’m not entirely sure whether to believe that Carreno is being sent to New Hampshire, where he spent the bulk of 2011, or to Triple-A, which would be Las Vegas, where he’d been recalled from at the start of the month.
Regardless, Carreno didn’t do himself a whole lot of favours by getting a bit walk-y yesterday– coming through unscathed in relief of Ricky Romero, despite giving out three free passes in 1.2 innings– as well as in his appearance on Friday. And Evan Crawford will provide an extra bit of left-handedness, which should help the Jays over the next week, as key bats for both the Rays– Joyce, Zobrist, Scott and Molina– and the Yankees– Swisher, Cano, Teixeira, Jones, Ibanez– have been struggling against southpaws this season.
Of course, Crawford is going to have to be better than what we’ve seen so far in the Majors– and especially better than his performance against Texas before he was sent down, in which he gave up home runs to right-hander Craig Gentry, and lefty Mitch Moreland– for any of this to actually matter.
So… there’s that.
Image via Robert Rogers/Getty.