Decisions, decisions

Continued to break down the looming roster decisions with manager Cito Gaston today and he provided a little more insight into what he’s thinking at this point. Of course, with five weeks left, anything and everything is subject to change. That injury bug doesn’t care about the plans.

As for the bullpen, which I find a more interesting race this spring than the rotation, Gaston said that his four lefties — B.J. Ryan, Scott Downs, Brian Tallet and Jesse Carlson — are all considered “locks” at this point. He added that some pitchers will have to beat out Jeremy Accardo for a job, so he’s the front-runner among the righties. Everyone else? Time to show something.

Last week, GM J.P. Ricciardi said he could see a scenario in which Travis Snider started the season at Triple-A. Today, Cito said Snider would have to play “real bad” not to be on the Jays’ Opening Day roster. As for the bench, which probably won’t have room for all of Kevin Millar, Jose Bautista, John McDonald and Joe Inglett, Cito said he has a tough decision ahead.

Someone made a comment on one of my stories recently about the fact that I always say there are only two openings in the rotation, when it’s been reported elsewhere that there are three jobs up for grabs. My reason for continuing to say that there are only a pair of vacancies?

“I would think there’s two spots. That’s what I think. Two spots open. I think Purcey pitched well enough to be one of the three guys that we have right now — unless he absolutely pitches himself off the club.”

Thanks, Cito.

So that’s Doc Halladay, Jesse Litsch, Purcey, and a pair of front-runners in Casey Janssen and Scott Richmond. Behind them, Toronto will take a good, hard look at prospects Brett Cecil, Brad Mills and Ricky Romero. Other candidates include Matt Clement, Brian Burress, Ken Takahashi, Mike Maroth and … I think I got ‘em all.

One team insider told me the prospects might be ahead of Clement and the others on the depth chart at the moment. It’s also more likely that Janssen and Richmond make the club, barring injury or poor showings, and the Jays ease the youngsters into the rotation as the season moves along. Moving Janssen to the ‘pen during the year to clear a spot for another starter is also a possibility.

Got some stories to write. Later…

~JB

8 Comments

Isn’t 4 lefties in the bullpen a lot?

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Julia
All 4 of those guys are effective against righties and lefties.
4 does seem like alot though.

Whats the deal with Brandon League, why is he not a lock?

I would say Brandon League will make the team, but they just can’t call him a lock because whenever the team vocalizes expectations of him, bad things happen; and he disappoints. Like the year he was supposed to be the 8th inning guy and came to camp with a bad shoulder from surfing.
Bullpen probably looks like this: Ryan, Downs, Tallet, Carlson, Accardo, League, Wolfe. I think Frasor probobly gets traded for a bag of balls type of minor league player before April.

I find it hard to believe that League wouldn’t be a lock for the pen, especially with his showing last year after Cito took over. Perhaps they are holding off saying he’s got the job so he feels he needs to work harder to make the team.
As for the starting rotation, i’m very interested to see if Litsch can step up and be a quality number two guy. I realize with Marcum and McGowan out, he becomes the next logical choice, and he did look pretty impressive at the end of last year when he was called back up with extra velocity on his fastball, but i’ve never considered him a top of the rotation pitcher. Any thoughts?

I think Cito just forgot to mention League, who went 1.42 era after the break. I think if Accardo is healthy then both Accardo and League are there. With a healthier Ryan, we should be very strong in the late innings with these 3.
The only reason League goes to AAA is if the plan is to trade Ryan at the trade deadline and position League as the closer. It would then make sense to send him down and give him experience as closer.
I expect Wolfe, Fraser, Camp and others are all in a fight for the last slot. I didn’t understand why we even resigned Camp, they were getting to him big time late in the year once they all got film on his sinker, so I mark him gone along with his brand new 750k us contract.

I really like what Cito said about Snider. It looks to me that Cito is making the decision about which players to keep, not JP and that is the best news of the year so far.
JP is going to look awful foolish if Cito goes with Millar over Bautista, cause that’s the two I think the last bench job is between. My take is Bautista, Millar is done in my opinion. Both Inglet and Macdonald are proven commodities so I expect we keep both of them.
I’m still hoping Clement comes through, if he’s healthy he could be a lot better option than Richmond. Of all the young guns, Rickie Romero is the only real one unless one of these reclamation projects show more than expected.
Cecil needs more stretching out and as good as Mills was last year, I think he needs some time in AAA.
It is a luxury though to have 3 top flight left handed prospects (Cecil, Mills & Romero), 4 including Purcey.

gs – I agree with Camp, but I’d add Frasor to the list, i read that his deal isn’t guaranteed but given the economy I don’t think they’ll be able to dump his $1mil+ salary on anyone.

I think the 7th-8th inning would be better for League than the minors if you want to groom him for the 9th, the closing mentality is something that come from high stress situations and truth is 7th-8th in Toronto, New York, Boston and elsewhere is likely more stressful than the 9th in Vegas.

I also agree on Bautista over Milar but not because Milar is done (20hr’s last year tells me otherwise); Bautista is the better athlete and can play more positions. While Johnny Mac can play 3rd it’s best that he doesn’t.

I agree Cecil needs more stretching but I think he’s with the Jays by the end of the year at least in the ‘pen ala David Price with the Rays last year. And Mills definitely needs time, but I think those are the only prospects. Purcey is a major leaguer now, it only stands to be seen how good a major leaguer he is, and if Romero isn’t in the rotation at some point this year, I don’t think he’s ever going to make it, I think he’s spent way to long in the minors to be considered a top flight prospect.

I think Romero will be fine, he has the ability to play he just has to put it all together. He definatly isn’t a top flight prospect he lost that a little while ago. He has been passed by Cecil and Mills. But you look at his minor league stats, when he has been healthy he has put up decent numbers. The Jays have invested alot in this guy and he will recieve every oppourtunity possible this year to succeed.

What has taken Romero so long is his ability to throw stikes in stead of walks. For a while he was walking a guy every 2 innings. However, that appeared to start changing at the end of last season, so I’m hoping he finally figured it out. If he has, I expect good things from him, because he has good stuff, he just needs to get it accross the plate.

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