Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Roster Smash Up Derby! Who Will Survive?

Give the paucity of offense (aside from that which is generated by the One Man Gang) and the number of bullpen oopsies in recent weeks, it seems a little difficult to make the case that there aren't enough spots on the Jays' roster to accommodate all the talent.

And yet...

By the time you start to get some of the walking wounded stumbling back from the 4077th (dated reference?) to the front lines, there are going to be choices that have to be made in terms of who comes back to Toronto, and who is provided with a bus ticket and a Gideon Bible for their breast pocket on their journey back to Sin City. Or worse.

In an effort to figure out who goes where and why and who'll be left blowing bubbles from their nose, we've isolated the fellas into separate and distinct street gangs. (When did this go from demolition derby to M*A*S*H* to The Warriors?) This is focused mostly on the short term, and not necessarily taking into account deadline deals. They are as follows:

The One Man Gang: José Bautista. He has the contract, the performance, and the fan adoration on his side. The things that would have to play out that would lead to his exit are too crazy to even ponder. Hey, was that a frog that just fell from the sky?

The Rock Solid Crew: Barring injury (which is no guarantee this year), these guys are certain to stick around through the end of the season. Led by starters Rickey Romero and Brandon Morrow, swingman Carlos Villaneuva and economical relievers Marc Rzepczynski (in spite of last night), Casey Janssen, Shawn Camp and Jason Frasor. Key position players Adam Lind and Yunel Escobar aren't going anywhere, while Rajai Davis is likely safe (no better CF option, and a two year deal). The Jays hold options on J.P. Arencibia, but he's performed well enough to merit inclusion here, and his backup, José Molina, fits the team's needs for the time being.

There. That's 13 players. Plus...

The Returning Wounded: John McDonald will make a beautiful dollar for this team so long as he wishes, so they'll make room for him as soon as he's ready. Jesse Litsch? Hmmm...Maybe? Dustin McGowan is a 2012 project, and Jesse Carlson will likely never sling another Frisbee for the Jays.

Let's assume that Litsch rejoins the team, and Johnny Mac's a given. That brings us to 15 players (Seven position players, three starters, four relievers plus Villaneuva.) Now let's add...

The Rising Sons: Gordie Dougie's arrival will come within the week, as soon as his hand recovers. At some point, the Jays are going to have to consider the return of Travis Snider. Eric Thames acquitted himself fairly well in his recall, though his return is unlikely until September. He may be joined by Adam Loewen, if only momentarily. Meanwhile, Brett "Squints" Cecil has allegedly regained some of his form, and may be knocking on the door to make his return. He may have to wait in line behind Brad Mills, who has pitched like a man all season long. David Cooper is a better PCL hitter than he is a real hitter. If the need arises for a bench outfielder, DeWayne Wise's name might come up as a quick solution.

So add Gordie Dougie, and hold the rest of these guys for now, and we're up to 16 players. Now's where the math gets tricky.

The Bubble Boys: Jo-Jo Reyes has pitched well in recent starts, but a regression over the next few weeks could see him back in peril. Kyle Drabek has to stop pitching around batters, or he's going to get to smell the dry air of the PCL real soon. The Jays could move Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch or Frank Francisco at a moment's notice, though all three will likely stick around until close to the trade deadline, supposing they'll still return draft picks. Juan Rivera is Juan Rivera, but (like it or not), he's our Juan Rivera until something really odd happens, if it ever does. Aaron Hill probably doesn't belong here, but we'll put him here just because we have that sort of authority. And Corey Patterson has been a treat as of late, but the Jays really only have him as a placeholder, and should he ever become a pumpkin again, it'll be easy to part ways.

So: Let's add Jo-Jo, subtract Drabek (just for sport, just for now), and add the three former closers and hold Rivera and Hill. And for now, C-Patts can keep stealing bases so that the One Man Gang gets walked. Now we've got our insane eight man bullpen back, plus a four man rotation and three roster spots left.

The Fallen: Edwin Encarnacion is singing for his supper with every at bat. Same with Jayson Nix, who at least has some positional flexibility on his side, but he was the last man in and may end up being the first man out. Mike McCoy should probably just wear his 51's uniform, even when he's in Toronto, because he's never really a part of this team. Luis Perez has been a welcome addition to the bullpen, but he's to easy to return to Triple-A.

So the obvious answer here is to dump McCoy and Perez and hold on EE (which this team will likely do through the end of the year). Nix is the most disposable player should the need arise to add someone to the 40-man (like Wise), but until he's pushed, he'll stick around.

So add Drabek back to the rotation (if you must), and you've got a roster that pretty much looks like it does now: Too heavily built around the bullpen, without a lot of capacity to move players like Cecil and Snider back into the fold, and a bench that is populated by either defensive replacements or pinch hitters, but not a player who does both.

Which is to say: Enjoy the recall of Brett Lawrie, because there's not a lot more of that coming between now and September.


Tdotdanatic said...

That exercise seemed both futile and necessary.

Chad said...

This seems like the rosterbation where no matter how furiously you rub and tug, eventually you just give up and go to sleep.

Tao of Stieb said...

Chad: You said a mouthful right there.

I'm kinda depressed that I continued on with this. I was going to pull the plug early on, when my bright idea turn to mush.


Chad said...

I think it's probably very sound logic, which only makes it more depressing. Thanks, Tao!

At least I have this bag of hickory sticks to cheer me up.

Anonymous said...

Thought you had to be called up before you could be "recalled".

Anonymous said...

You read a lot of Tow Wolfe or what?

Anonymous said...

Well said, Tao, well said.

Anonymous said...

You have 4 guys that should not be with the team come August (if we're still in the hunt):

1) E5
2) Nix
3) Rivera
4) McCoy

The guys I'd like to see:

1) Lawrie
2) Thames
3) Cooper
4) Brad Mills

Long term, Aaron Hill seems like a failed experiment, and Snider and Cecil's issues are psychological, which worries me because a player's only as good as his mind.

Anonymous said...

Haha Snider's issues are not psychological at all...bad habits creeped into his swing mechanics and its greatly affecting his ability to hit for power...Cecil I would agree with you, as for sending down Perez, he's been one of our best relievers and has the ability to go multiple innings, the Jays need him.

Chill said...

I think that Rivera's revelation at first and Lind's wonky back make Rivera a lock for staying the rest of this season, and if he continues to put up some decent numbers at the plate, he might even return next year.

Lawrie's broken hand might keep him out of Toronto for the whole year. We all remember what broken hands did to very useful hitters like Overbay and Hinske...turned them into Overpaid and Shitske. I'd prefer Lawrie to take as much time as needed to recover in the PCL and not be exposed to real breaking pitches until it is really better.

And yes, Drabek has been ugly. He is not fooling anyone at this point.