Blue Jays get physical

The only thing missing from the Blue Jays’ clubhouse here at The Mattick today was a few tumbleweeds drifting through. Today was Physicals Day. With the medicals being held off-site, that meant few players made the trek to camp.

The official reporting date was Saturday and the first official workout is Monday. As a result, Sunday turns into an unofficial day off for the players. When I did my first walk-through this morning, every chair in the clubhouse was pushed neatly up against its corresponding locker. Not one had been moved.

Cue the crickets.

A few players did show up, though. Some coaches wandered through and John McDonald strolled in with Jeremy Reed and the pair played some catch. Jose Molina, Raul Chavez and John Buck made appearances.

And, Kevin Gregg showed up for the first time.

Gregg would love nothing more than to head north with the Blue Jays as the primary closer. That said, nothing is guaranteed and he knows he is competing against Scott Downs and Jason Frasor for the job. Gregg also knows that having three pitchers who can fill that role is only a good thing for the Jays.

“Whatever role we all end up in, you’re making that bullpen pretty deep,” Gregg said. “Looking at the starters and seeing these guys are pretty young, with what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished, it allows us to shorten the game. We’re not going to have to push those guys and try to get them into the seventh and eighth inning.

“When you’ve got three guys that can close the door at the back end, it really helps out the starters and their situation, too. It let’s everybody grow.”

If it were my decision, I’d say throw Frasor in the closer’s role and let him run with it, especially with how he pitched last year. But, if Gregg has a decent spring, I think the job is his. He has 84 career saves. Downs and Frasor combined have 48. If it’s an even match, I think experience will prevail in this race.

Then again, if the Jays want to float Downs or Frasor at the Trade Deadline, having one of them open as the closer could increase their potential market value. So maybe Frasor wins the job after all.

Who’s your closer?

For complete Blue Jays coverage this spring, make sure you’re reading bluejays.com and following me on Twitter at @MLBastian. You can also find spring photos on TwitPic.com.

~JB

5 Comments

I havn’t watched Gregg pitch so I really don’t know what he brings. But I do know what Frasor brings, and he would definatly not be my closer. Too many times over the past few season has he crumbled in high leverage situations. Maybe he has mautred, and could handle it this year but there is still something I don’t like about seeing him come strolling out in the 9th. I like Scott Downs in the set-up role and think he could fourish there. The guy I would like to see close? Jeremy Accardo. If he has his arm troubles behind him and can get his fastball back to 97-98 where he was two years ago. If he can controll his splitter and get good movement he could be a pretty good closer. Its a tough call, right now there are alot of B level options, nobody that really stands out. Hopefully it will work itself out and someone will show they want the job.

I don’t know why everybody is ignoring Jeremy Accardo. He has 38 saves, more than either Downs or Frasor.

Saying that the three are “B level options” is unfair to Scott Downs. He could be a set-up man on any playoff contender without question. For that reason, he is certainly a great candidate to close. However, his value in the set-up role is invaluable to the Jays and anchored a bullpen that was the best in the AL two years ago. If Gregg looks good in the spring, I think he needs to be given the chance to fill that role. If he’s effective and can fix some of the command issues he had with the Cubs, the Jays will have the potential to bounce back to a top 5 bullpen. With all the good pitchers fighting for spots I think we’ll be in good shape.

Frankly, I hope we close by committee, Fraser, Downs, Accardo and Gregg. I think it would confuse our opponents who wouldn’t know who to expect when. All 4 of these guys can close and have proven it, situations change daily, why have a committed closer, take advantage of our strength, make it fluid and change it each and every day.

In addition, if we go that route, we build value in each guy so at the trade deadline we have multiple potential offerings.

Why limit ourselves??????????

JB Bastian: It would be nice to get an update on the physical condition of some of the players like Snider, Wallace, Wells, Ruiz, Lind, Hill and any others to see what kind of shape they’re in, ( weight ). As an example, I understand Wells was trying to lose 20 pounds, Ruiz was suggesting he would show up much lighter and Snider worked hard all year.

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