Sporting News reports that the Twins have confirmed interest in Padres Heath Bell as a possible replacement candidate if injured Joe Nathan requires season ending surgery. This is not good news for the Jays likelihood of trading one of their excess arms from the bullpen if true. Nathan was due to test his arm yesterday but I haven't heard whether he did or not and if he did what the outcome was. All signs however point to the need for surgery.
Though Jason Frasor would be cheaper both in terms of dollars and prospects in a trade, with the Twins in serious contention for a playoff spot perhaps they feel they need a closing candidate who has a stronger track record. If so, then Bell would be their man having recorded 42 saves last year. With a $4 million contract he would be a great solution from a financial standpoint but would likely cost the Twins 2-3 prospects to acquire. Jason Frasor on the other hand could be had for the like of Ben Revere who has had a strong spring for the Twins.
Just as injuries about beginning to have an impact on our lineup, so too will this happen to other teams. With an excess of pitching to deal, we will have no shortage of trading partners either before the end of spring or shortly after the season begins and teams realize what they finally have. Once some candidates for post season emerge, AA's infamous blackberry will begin ringing. Pitching is always in short supply, so teams will want what we have to deal.
Roster Situation Clearing
I posted a few days ago about it being too early in the spring to be certain about the lineup going north. With a couple of weeks still left in spring training, demotions and injuries are beginning to help clarify the potential opening day lineup.
The appearance of a shoulder problem for Brandon Morrow could create a potential SP spot for Dana Eveland or Brett Cecil who is working with a new grip for a cutter. Both Cecil and Rzep are working with Bruce Walton trying to come up with a pitch that will induce more ground balls in an attempt to reduce their pitch counts and having some success it appears. This would help them go deeper into games which would reduce the burden on the bullpen and help add some of the innings we’ll miss from Roy Halladay.
The bullpen looks different too due to the potential addition of David Purcey and his new 2 pitch repertoire. Merkin Valdez has an arm scouts drool over so it appears the Jays will keep him in the hopes they can ease him into a bullpen role and eventually throw strikes. Dana Eveland makes this team because he has earned it based on performance, experience, and the fact he’s out of options. Jays won’t let him go without getting something in return in a trade. It appears Jeremy Accardo is the odd man out since he has options left. He’ll complain about it but will go to AAA in hopes that someone doesn’t perform or they need him due to injury. I believe he has zero trade value at this point, but he needs to go to another organization to get a chance to play again.
With Travis Snider beginning to hit, it looks like he has earned the job and confidence of management that this could be his breakout year. Let’s hope they’re right, we’ll need his bat to overcome some of the leads our young pitching staff will give up. Mike McCoy has earned a bench role and it’s likely Encarnacion starts on the DL opening a temporary spot for Jeremy Reed.
We will have a very full DL at the start of the season but it will be full of players with huge potential. The fortunate thing is that the replacements aren’t too shabby and make for a young, exciting, and competitive team. We aren’t going to be pushovers and will have a pitching staff that could shut down the opponent’s lineup on any give occasion. Pending any additions by trade, it’s looking very encouraging.