Archive for the ‘Rosterbation’ Category

lawrieyelling

Trying something new with the Assorted Weekend Thoughts this week: it’ll come at you as a series of smaller posts on a mostly-single topic (i.e. what normally would have gone under one sub-heading), rather than one big slog through it all that I don’t publish until 4:45 PM. Let’s see how this works, shall we?

The Jays found themselves with something of a roster crunch last night, when it was learned that Brett Lawrie had finished his rehab assignment and was ready to return to the club. This, of course, was terrific news both offensively and defensively for the Jays, but it meant that someone currently on the 25-man roster had to go.

That someone, it turns out, was Steve Tolleson, who the club announced this morning had finally been placed on the paternity list, what seems like several months after we first learned his wife was about to give birth.

What won’t take several months, however, is Tolleson’s return. According to the club’s press release on the matter he’ll be away from the club for a minimum of one day and a maximum of three. What the hell happens after that? Well… it’s not entirely clear just yet, and the answer isn’t a particularly easy one — barring someone getting injured in the next couple of days, be it of the real or imagined variety.

Currently the club has seven relievers, and that likely isn’t to change — or, knowing the Jays, if it is, they’re more likely to go to eight — so we’re looking at a position player going down.

Lawrie doesn’t need a platoon partner — he’s actually been better against same-sided pitching both this year and over the course of his career — and because of his range and athleticism is obviously not going to sit for anyone, defensively. Juan Francisco surely gets to stay, at least until Adam Lind returns, as the club’s first baseman or DH against right-handed pitching. Danny Valencia, with his career 139 wRC+ against left-handers will have a spot in the lineup against them, perhaps at DH or first base, with Steve Tolleson (a 132 wRC+ in the split) likely playing second most of the time.

There is some flexibility in how those guys are used, but those four — Lawrie, Francisco, Valencia, Tolleson — would seem to be safe now. That means one of Ryan Goins, Munenori Kawasaki, Nolan Reimold, or Anthony Gose will need to go when Tolleson is back.

Against lefties, Reimold ought to get into the action as DH, with Valencia at first and Tolleson at second. Against right-handed pitching the club would likely be best with Francisco and Jose Bautista at either first or DH, Gose in right, and either Kawasaki or Goins at second base.

Reimold’s platoon splits are pretty even, so he could be in the lineup against right-handers instead of Gose, and Gose does have options, so he could be sent down. But so does Ryan Goins, and Kawasaki can definitely hold down his spot — though not with the same level of defence — until rosters expand in September.

If it’s even his spot, that is.

John Lott tweets a picture of the lineup card for tonight, and Brett Lawrie is indeed in at third base against O’s righty Bud Norris. Colby Rasmus is in the doghouse and in at DH, with Gose in centre, and Kawasaki playing second base. Perhaps an indication of the move to come? Despite chatter about Goins’ improvements since his return from Buffalo, after just two hits in Houston he’s down to a wRC+ of 70, with a .277/.277/.362 slash line over his 13 games back in the bigs.

The defence sure still looks good, but putting up that line and still having options left? I think John Gibbons is tipping the club’s hand with the lineup he’s put out there tonight. I think it’s the right move, too. (Plus, though he offers no power, and his wRC+ and wOBA suffer for it, Kawasaki has a .330 on-base against right-handers this year. I can live with that?)

mcgowanthrowing

Whoa. OK, so I should probably get the hell out of bed and write about how the Jays’ Opening Day roster was formally set today, featuring five key bits of not entirely not-fucking-confounding news:

McGowan Starts Home Opener

I’ve written about this rather extensively over the past several days, as it appeared more and more clear that Dustin McGowan’s performances were a cut above those of everyone else pitching for the last spot in the Jays’ rotation, and fortunately the Jays seem to have their heads on straight with this one, despite the obvious risks. It just made too much sense for even this bizarre-thinking organization to not ignore — especially after McGowan reportedly has been saying that he feels great this morning (let’s just pretend it’s still morning) following yesterday’s 62 pitch outing.

Brandon Morrow, who almost kind of looked ready-enough in his last tuneup, gets bumped up a spot and will pitch in the final game at Tampa so that McGowan can continue to go on regular rest, pitching March 30th against minor leaguers, and then taking the ball in the home opener against Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees. It’s easy to be pretty jaded about this club — really, really, really easy — but how awesome is that?

For the sake of completeness, I should note that Morrow will also be on regular rest in his first start of the year, as he’ll pitch on the Saturday in Montreal, along with Steve Delabar and Aaron Loup.

Happ To The DL

Not entirely unsurprising news here, as apparently J.A. Happ’s back isn’t right, or wasn’t right, or flared up, or… something something left arm shittiness.

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Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

Last night, after the news about the Wednesday return of Jose Reyes broke, I left the post with a “MORE FORTHCOMING!” tag and began writing about some of the possibilities to get sent down when the club makes its reciprocal move. By the time I was done, though, it was far too late to bother updating the post and hoping that anyone would take a second look. So we’ll do it all now in it’s own post, because… y’know… content.

Take it away, me!

. . .

The recall of Reyes will spell the end for one current member of the 25-man roster who’ll either find himself bused down to the minors, or released outright from the club. Of course, as Shi Davidi notes, it’s not just a 25-man spot that will need to be cleared:

Don’t be so fast to think that changes anything, though, especially for someone like Munenori Kawasaki– who is one of the few demotion candidates with options remaining.

Currently the Jays have minor leaguers Thad Weber, Mickey Storey, Michael Schwimer and Todd Redmond on the 40-man, none of whom would be terribly troubling losses– and most of whom, frankly, aren’t likely to last through the summer on the team anyway, with Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ, Drew Hutchison, Luis Perez and Sergio Santos all eventually (presumably) needing to reclaim their 40-man spots. (They could also move Ramon Ortiz– or even Brandon Morrow, if they felt it was safe to assume he’s more than 30-odd days from returning– to the 60-day DL).

I suppose it could be tempting for the club to attempt to clear this all up in one move, removing Juan Perez from the 40-man and hoping he manages to get through waivers. Thing is, there are two ways to look at the potential D’ing FA of Perez, which… is actually what you could say about any of the potential candidates for demotion. There are several possibilities, and none– despite the arguments you’ll get from pretty much everyone– that particularly stands out as the most palatable. At least in my opinion. Or, at least, it didn’t when I started writing all this.

Let’s have a look at the demotion candidates, starting with Perez…

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instagramreyesphoto

Spring is finally over, and the Jays’ roster is set, so… uh… what do we have, exactly?

LF

Melky Cabrera hit the ball hard this spring, and hasn’t shown any signs of shrivelling into the turnip half the world expects him to just yet. I’m sure every idiot with a mouth will be ready to pile on him at the first sign that he might be, so it’s at least good for our collective sanity that he didn’t have an awful spring, not that it means any more than Ryan Braun’s name turning up in a Biogenesis notebook. IT WAS A CONSULTATION, PEOPLE!

The corner outfield spots are some of the better insulated positions for the Jays, with several guys capable of filling in if called on, both in the Majors– Rajai Davis, Emilio Bonifacio– and the minors– Moises Sierra, Anthony Gose. Shit, even Ryan Langerhans has warranted some consideration, should any kind of horrible tragedy occur where none of the other fill-in options are available. And it’s so far so good when it comes to the worries that Cabrera would turn out to be more powdered Melk– if you synthetic testosterone what I’m injecting– than Grade-A unpasteurized awkward food metaphor.

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Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins

The Jays announced this morning that they would begin the season by carrying 13 pitchers, a decision that was met with derision and snark from the snarky, derisive corners of the baseballing internet that I generally relish the piss out of. I grant them, it certainly feels right to shit on the delusional excess of clubs that carry so many relievers, as the expense of bench depth– I’ve done it– but I’ve gotta say, given the particulars of the Jays’ circumstance, there seems to me like there might be enough myopia in today’s snark to keep an optometrist in business for decades.

It depends on your definition of defence– or defense, if you’re like that– I suppose. And on that note, Sheehan later says outright that “defenses and rationalizations are not the same thing,” which I take to mean that he doesn’t believe the Jays’ rationalization– assuming he even considered it before smothering it in a warm blanket of snark– or that there simply cannot be a rationalization that leaves a team’s bench so thin at the expense of so many guys who are barely even going to be able to get into games.

I’d say that’s fair, but I actually don’t think the Jays are being wholly unreasonable with theirs here. At the very least, it’s probably worth considering the details before we get all insistent that it must be fucking stupid.

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