Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strong Bullpen Keeps Starters’ Heads Straight

Jeff Blair makes a good point about the Toronto bullpen and its makeup on a bunch of young starters psychologically. Though Anthopolous is unlikely to trade for anyone other than a legitimate prospect with some future upside, such a trade is likely to involve one or more of Frasor, Downs, or Tallet our strongest trading chips. This would weaken our likelihood of closing out games with perhaps an inconsistent Kevin Gregg left to close out games the games with unproven setup men behind him. This could have a profound effect on young starters who create a lead only to have it blown late in the game by a leaky bullpen.

Such a situation is something all starters have to get used to as it happens to the best teams and the most proven relievers. What you don’t want to have happen is the fear of losing a game get into a pitcher’s psyche so much that he goes longer than he should and hurts his arm and the team’s future as a result. Add to this the fact that the manager can become obsessed with an ineffective pen and begin to extend his starters longer.

This has happened frequently in the past with other teams and through trade happen to the Jays. The difference is that there is much talent on this team and likely someone from Roenicke, Merkin, Accardo, Purcey who would step up to the table and take over one of those roles. Remember, trades also create opportunity and many young players just need someone to show confidence in them and a chance to play. Once handed a job full time that new belief in themselves produces previously unseen result.


Joey Garthright signed a minor league deal with the Orioles. It’s no surprise that somebody picked him up in spite of his disastrous spring. The one thing you can’t teach is speed and Garthright has it to be used as a late inning defensive replacement or pinch runner. Jays just didn’t have a spot for him and weren’t going to make one.

With Purcey and Carlson being optioned to AAA, and the Jays short of lefties out of the pen now, it’s more than possible that the Jays will use Eveland’s strong spring to put him in the rotation and move Tallet back to the pen where he belongs. Rzep didn’t do anything to enhance his chances last night. My bet is that if Cecil has another strong outing, with his minor hand injury, Rzep will end up in Las Vegas to recover and continue fine tuning.

Jeremy Reed the other man demoted to AAA impressed enough people with his strong spring that he will be the first one called if the Jays need an alternate outfielder due to injury.

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