No, obviously it’s not a permanent move. Don’t get your boxer-briefs in a twist, for fuck sakes. But yes, according to a tweet from Bisons play-by-play man Ben Wagner, Aaron Sanchez has been moved to the bullpen, obviously with a view to bringing him up to help the big league club (and limiting his innings in the process so that he doesn’t have to be shut down in mid-September).
This comes on the heels of the Jays making a waiver claim today, acquiring Brad Mills, the former Jay who became expendable when Oakland traded for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and designating 2010 first round pick Deck McGuire for assignment in the process.
So… Brad Mills is back, and is going to end up on the 25-man roster of this club. A corresponding move has yet to be announced, but it could be a relatively simple one, despite the news about Aaron Sanchez being moved to the bullpen. The Jays currently have three catchers and five outfielders, so it’s not outlandish to think that Kratz or Gose or Mastroianni could be optioned down, with Mills joining a pitching staff with an eight-man bullpen — or, perhaps, a six-man rotation.
I’m just spitballing here, but the Jays toyed with the idea of a six-man rotation earlier in the season, with what seemed like the intention of preserving some bullets for a guy like Drew Hutchison. Now Marcus Stroman fits that bill as well, as both pitchers will be depended on down the stretch as they head into uncharted waters in terms of the innings they’re being asked to log. Their hitting the wall ought to be a very real fear for any Jays observer even half serious about them making some kind of playoff run — which, at this point… uh… we’ll just be happy if we get to the point where we have to worry about it.
Stroman has been so good, and the Jays have been so bad, that it’s hard to see how they could honestly take him out of the rotation at this point, but the Jays seem to be enamored with how the Cardinals did things with their young arms last year, and surely they noticed that Michael Wacha spent about a month in the bullpen, after originally getting called up as a starter, before rejoining the rotation for the stretch drive. I’m not saying this is really what the Jays are onto, I’m just sayin’…
Anywho, in Mills they have… something? The left-handed former Jay made three starts for Oakland (two of which were on the road, FYI), allowing eight earned runs over 16.1 innings, with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. Not great, but not terrible, either. He can eat some innings for the club, and in Triple-A this season with Nashville, he was pretty spectacular: 77 Ks and only 18 BBs in 75 innings.
He doesn’t have a lot of experience in the bullpen, so… we’ll see how they intend to use him, I guess.
The Jays having Aaron Sanchez moved to the bullpen is the clearest signal yet that they intend to bring him up to help the big club this year. And I’m OK with that. Seems like reasonably good asset management: sure, you’re giving him some service time and adding him to the 40-man a bit earlier than necessary, but they obviously feel he’s going to be up and contributing in the big leagues sooner than later, so I’m not terribly bothered by that, and in return, instead of giving away talent to bring in some pricier veteran bullpen piece, you just use a guy who seems like he should be able to be successful in the role. We all know he’s had his struggles with command, but it could work — cutting down on the variety of pitches he’s throwing might help, right? Right???
This also, if we’re being honest, makes you wonder a liiiiiitle bit about just how constrained the club is with respect to adding payroll, but I think it’s a reasonable enough idea on its own to not believe that’s the only thinking behind it — especially because it’s not like they’d be asking to add some hugely expensive (in baseball terms) reliever down the stretch, but just the pro-rated salary of a guy making a few million bucks. I mean… they can’t be that stretched, can they?
Whatever the case is on that front, as a baseball move it could work. The way Sergio Santos (who is out of options, FYI) has been going lately, along with the fact that Chad Jenkins exists, suggests that it behooves the Jays to address their bullpen (and that’s to say , and this would be a pretty damn decent way to do it, I think. Shit, if they think Mills can give them enough innings to justify it, how about adding both Sanchez and Stroman to the ‘pen? That’d make for a really impressive relief corps., though they’d obviously be taking a big hit in the rotation to do so. But given the fact that they may need to pull things back for Stroman anyway, if they want to have him continue to be available through September and (hopefully) October, maybe it’s a thing? Hey, and maybe he can even stay there once Brandon Morrow comes bffffffffffffff — hahaha, sorry, couldn’t get through that sentence with a straight face.
I probably shouldn’t be focussing quite so much on that angle, but it certainly intrigues.
Ahhhh, Deck McGuire. It sure does hurt to see his name two spots ahead of Chris Sale when you look at the first round of the 2010 draft, but before we lament his D’ing FA too vociferously, let’s remember some context. First off, he may not necessarily be on his way to another organization. He could get through waivers unclaimed, and with the way he’s pitched — 23 walks in 55 innings, with just 38 Ks and a 5.59 ERA since moving up to Triple-A — and the fact that he spent parts of four seasons at Double-A, it wouldn’t be surprising. And that’s just sort of it: the writing has long been on the wall here, unfortunately. You don’t struggle so badly to get out of Double-A for so long and keep your prospect status intact.
And the draft stuff? Let’s not forget that there were actually twelve GMs who passed on Sale (whose violent delivery led a large number of observers to see his future in the bullpen), and that lots of picks from that draft have busted just as badly — Barret Loux (6) is out of baseball, Karsten Whitson (9) didn’t sign and ended up an 11th rounder this year, Christian Colon (4) is in his third season trying to get out of Triple-A, and even Billy Beane and the A’s ended up with something of a disappointment in Michael Choice (10). Sure, McGuire was the “safe” pick, and that sure adds fuel to the ol’ moron fire when it comes to this conversation – he can’t even get a safe pick right! — but the fact that he was safe allowed the Jays to gamble on other picks, which they did in the sandwich round, drafting Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, and Asher Wojciechowski. Say what you will about the guys that they were traded for, but two of those prospects were key pieces that turned into 2/5ths of the Jays’ current rotation, while the third will soon be on the big league roster in the bullpen, as we discussed above. The Jays kinda nailed the 2010 draft — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Prospects bust sometimes. Have you heard??????