Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Up, Down, in, out?

David Purcey is back.

I kind of expected when the Jays announced Dana Eveland was to be designated for assignment that Purcey was the logical guy to get the call, and Richard Griffin has some words with Mr. Purcey and Cito on the subject here.

Griffin speculates, not without basis, that Purcey's stay might be short. The dispatching of Eveland (not remotely unexpected) means the Jays will need to spot in a fifth starter on June 1, and that person is very likely to be Brian Tallet. So when Tallet is activated, one of the Blue Jays' eight relievers will have to ship out (barring an injury in the mean time) - that will almost certainly be Purcey or Josh Roenicke. If Purcey impresses well enough to get the selection there - more on that in a sec - then the next potential date with destiny is June 10, which is the next time the Jays will need a #5.

It is possible that the Jays will pitch Tallet each time they need a #5 in July (6/1, 6/10, 6/15, 6/26) but I have a not insignificant hunch that Jesse Litsch will start at TB on 6/10 and the jays will go with the standard five man rotation thereafter.

As for the call between Purcey and Roenicke, it's not clear cut because both have only one issue - lack of control. Roenicke seemed to have been in a grove in Vegas, walking only one in his first eight IP, while Purcey - who was otherwise showing a lot of promise - was still walking too many. But when Roenicke was recalled a month ago, he left whatever progress he'd made in Vegas - nine walks in nine IP. If Purcey can bring better results in his trial, he might move ahead of Roenicke (for now) on the depth chart. The reality is that the Jays have more major league worthy relievers than they do spots in the majors.

Speaking (as we were a moment ago) of Eveland, there's no news so far of anyone sniffing around claiming him (not surprising given how thoroughly the wheels came off) and he's already said he'll accept the demotion to Vegas if he clears waivers. The rule is the Jays have 10 days to wait while he clears, which would mean he could be shipped to Vegas on June 3 . . . which just so happens to be the day Litsch is eligible to be activated. Right now I don't read too much into that because if my guess is right, the Jays will let Litsch start in Vegas on 6/5 (at least) but it's worth making passing note of.

On the hitting side, the speculation is already aflame about how the Jays will handle the return of Travis Snider. If he comes back on schedule, he'll arrive on the eve of a month in which the Jays have 4 off days in the first three weeks so there's no obvious need to rest players. Nonetheless, there will be 10 quality hitters (yes, I'm still counting Hill and will continue to) for 9 spots.

Let's start the discussion by laying aside the SS and C positions. Whatever is done with the excess hitters won't affect either.

Among the others:
Lyle Overbay - Hitting .313 with an .874 OPS over his last 12 games, equaling his longest good stretch of the year. If he goes back to struggling over the next week, he invites reduced playing time but right now he's doing what he gets paid to do;

Aaron Hill - the .150ish BBiP is well reported by now and Hill is clearly mired in one of the worst slumps in his career, due partly, no doubt, to pressing and partly to bad luck. but he's not going to be permenantly benched;

Edwin Encarnacion - In seven games since coming off the DL he has an (unsustainable) OPS of 1.614 but sustainable or not, you don't interrupt that groove lightly. I do think, however, that with health he'll prove himself a slugger capable of reaching the mid-to-hgh 20's at least;

Fred Lewis - The newcomer has a .320 BA and an .886 OPS in the month of May, plus he's the fastest guy on a fairly slow team.;

Vernon Wells - V-Dub has cooled from his insane May but let's not entertain any illusions he'll lose real playing time no matter what;

Travis Snider - Over the two weeks prior to his injury, Snider hit .385 (1.187) and everyone will want to see where he picks up from that;

Jose Bautista - the International Man of Mystery (so-called because no one on Earth can figure out where THIS shit came from) keeps on spitting in the metaphorical eye of skeptics like myself. He has 10 home runs and a 1.125 OPS in May, he was already a favorite of Cito and he could never get another single hit this year and it would take Cito until the break to consider pulling him.

So what's to do?

I propose that each man get one day in seven off until and unless someone else is hurt. when Lind is off, EE can play 3B as well as when EE is off. it might be tricky to play Bautista at 2B or 1B, but he has experience there. Spelling all outfielders is obvious. One assumes someone, if not more than one, will be dealt in late July and if so, then ech player will miss about 7 games over the next two months (again, assuming health). I like that solution better than sitting one guy most of the time. Of course, if it worries you that he play poorly at 2B or 1B then the plan can be modified, but the upshot is, i think "who sits?" is kind of the wrong question.

Six Days until the real tests come - but at least they are beating who they are supposed to for a change.


Anonymous said...

Good point about cycling through to rest everyone once every seventh game. Question - why does no one ever seem to suggest that sort of thing? Is it just not an Old School Baseball thing to do, or is there some other reason?

Hilleraj said...

For some reason (probably the part of me that values defense), I just can't seem to get on board with EE being our 3rd baseman going forward. I think it would be nice if AA can use his hot return as a bit of leverage with a team that's struggling for production at 3rd. He's made some progress with his throws (and I'd imagine Butterfield deserves a lot of credit for that), but I think his defense will end up being a liability that his bat can't make up for.