Saturday, March 12, 2011

So, where we at?

(....other than in deep shit with the Tao when he see the grammatical construction of the post title....)

Although nothing is ever certain, there were a few areas of this year's Blue Jays squad that, heading into camp, seemed fairly easy to predict. Funny how that works. Turns out those areas of "certainty" are drawing more questions than answers as the preseason crawls on. But maybe that's just me. Probably just me. But let's discuss, shall we? I mean, we're here anyway.... let's just.

The Rotation
Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Kyle Drabek, Marc Rzepczynski. Bingo bango bongo. Done. Maybe three weeks ago.....

The new "big 3" are certainly set. But the 4/5 spots in the rotation? Wiiiiide open, it seems. Nothing but a personal vibe here, but all of a sudden, it seems like the phenom Drabek is no longer a lock to "head north" with the big club, and Rzepczynski seems more likely to be on the outside looking in with regards to the rotation. And why? New skip John Farrell seems enamored with Jesse Litsch (which, for this guy anyway, isn't the worst thing... LET HIM PLAY! LET HIM PLAY!), and out-of-options (and Tao fave) Jo Jo Reyes is pitching well enough that the "option play" might give him an edge.

Keeping in mind..... come June 1 (or whenever the magical arb cutoff date is), the spring battle will likely be long forgotten as Drabek (for sure) and Zach Stewart (for maybe?) will lay claim to the jobs if they haven't already.

All of this to say.... depth is good.

Brett Lawrie
Now, this is going to come across as an endorsement for Lawrie to skip AAA altogether and start the season in the homeland.....and it's not, necessarily..... but at what point does the usual spring hype give way to "maybe this kid really is ready" conversation?

Oh, I know all the usual caveats apply. Gabe Gross. Simon Pond. Chuckle chuckle snicker snicker. But wasn't the primary concern with Lawrie his conversion to 3rd base and questions on his defensive ability in general? And haven't all those actually there been saying how remarkably strong he's looked fielding the position? And if this club really is gearing towards actually trying to contend in 2012.... wouldn't it be better to get the kid a year of experience leading up?

Of course, it's not that simple. There's the service clock issue (don't you wish we didn't ever have to take "service clock" into consideration? Because I know I'm sick to death of it. But that's another post...). There's the fact he's probably not really ready to handle the grind of a full major league season. There's probably a multitude of additional reasons that space restrictions just will not allow me to flush out (nothing at all to do with being lazy, friends).

So how about this. How about we all agree - you too, AA - that Lawrie starts the season in Vegas under the guise of "seasoning", and once the arb date passes, and assuming Lawrie is indeed raking and not butchering the position defensively, he's recalled and handed the keys to the hot corner indefinitely. Seems obvious and logical, right? Right. Done and done.

Juan Rivera
Serious question: is he really part of the team? And if he is, why can't I fathom that? And if the club is really in need of left-handed thunder, can't we just give the job to Eric Thames and see where that takes us? If we can't have the Stewart bone, and if we have to wait out Lawrie, can't we have this?

OK, not really.

(But would you be against it necessarily? In a platoon at least? C'mon.)

The Bullpen
Oh boy. I'm not ready to even attempt to sort this one out yet. Maybe next weekend. Until then.....


bakatron said...

brett lawrie needs his ego inflated even further by being sent to the pcl and then deflated by being sent down once or twice before he's a major league option. i dont want to ruin another prospect because of early exposure to the majors and then having him to trade because he's an enigma (similar to what the mariners did with morrow).

mike in boston said...

it's hard to get very invested in who makes the roster out of ST since, as you point out, we know who will be here by the middle of the season.

with that in mind, it seems to make sense to play the guys you might want to trade (Litsch, Rzep, Reyes, Rivera) in order to increase their value. This means leaving Drabek and Laurie in the minors until you have cleared roster spots for them. This approach has the advantage of protecting service time as well.

Buck16 said...

Bakatron - I'm just going to assume you've met Brett Lawrie and are 100% certain his ego is inflated to such great heights that he'll waltz into the batter's box on April 1 and DEMAND he receive a fastball down the middle on every pitch, just because of who he is.

C'mon - since when is it illegal for a kid to say he thinks he's good enough to make the big club? He didn't say he expects to make the team, or AA is an idiot if he doesn't make the team, or that he won't put the work in to make the team. He said he thinks he's ready. And he's doing all he can this spring to prove himself right.

I just think that's fucking awesome.

And Morrow got jacked around between the pen and the rotation - that doesn't make him an enigma, that makes the Mariners fucking stupid for disrupting the growth curve of a high-ceiling pitcher with sickening stuff.

I agree with Ack and think Lawrie should start in Vegas, but it has nothing to do with his supposed 'ego'.

Chad said...

You don't demand a fastball, you indicate with the bat where you want the pitch. Don't you know anything about baseball?!?

Gil Fisher said...

I`m sort of thinking the rotation is Romero-Morrow-Cecil-Litsch-Drabek with Rzep heading to AAA to be first in line for recall. I think Reyes will join Purcey as the lefties in the pen.

Buck16 said...

Chad - You've never heard of someone sitting on a fastball?

They don't know where it's going, they're just ready for it, and sometimes they hit it a mile.

Hardly my point, though.

Peter DeMarco said...

Please stop reading into Spring Training results, both Thames and Lawrie should not start the season in the minors. What's the rush? Further development is not only a good idea, but probably much needed for both players.

Also what is all this hate on for Juan Rivera? Let him play and hopefully he hits close to .300 with 25 home runs. He could either become a nice piece to trade at the deadline or return coveted draft picks when he leaves as a free agent.

Peter DeMarco said...

That should have been "should start the season in the minors" in reference to Lawrie and Thames.

Also, I predict that if Jesse Litsch and Reyes make the Jays, they will both suckity suck suck. Litsch probably deserves a shot, but that won't change the results, and before we know it Reyes will be gone and Drabek and Rzep will get their shots at the rotation.

The Ack said...

Why even have spring training then, right? And we can't read anything into minor league stats either - especially the PCL - so hot starts in AAA won't mean anything either, right? And it doesn't matter how well they field their positions or how advanced their approaches are at the plate. Every player who has yet to crack the MLB needs more time.....

See, now I'm in a position where I'm advocating both those guys make the club. I'm not at all (though I'd make more of an argument for Thames > Lowrie).... but it just seems the defacto argument for every young player is "what's the rush? they need more time", regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

It's becoem the easy argument, and I don't know how it can be the correct position to take 100% of the time.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for Lawrie starting in the minors but I am hoping he is up mnuch sooner than September. My hope is that we can find a contender to take Rivera and Put Jobau where he belongs , the OF. Thus leavign the keys to third in lawrie's pockets, with no realistic hopes of contetnion, I cant see how this is a bad play.

Chad said...

Gee, Buck, you really switched horses in mid-stream there. Great sense of humor!

(Debated on US or Canadian spelling, but judging from your defensive dumbness, opted for US.)

Peter DeMarco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter DeMarco said...

What's the rush means why start a players service time when they have never played a game above double A and you already have proven major league players at their positions.

Say for a second you bring both Thames and Lawrie up to start the season. Does that mean you would bench Travis Snider so that you could have Lawrie at 3B, Batista in RF and Thames in LF?

Not to mention you are going to be benching a guy in Rivera that hit 25 home runs in 2009 and you're paying $5 million for. And for what? To most likely find out that you brought up your prospects too soon?

Brett said...

Not sure I agree on Lawrie. I haven't confirmed this, but I read that he's only hitting .250 vs pitchers with MLB experience. Small sample size, no doubt, but doesn't that say maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves a bit?

After the arb date sounds good to me...