Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Afterthoughts: McGowan, Snider, Lind, etc.

I almost titled this post "the last word" but that would have been ridiculously optimistic, right?

Anyway, there's enough Jays news in recent days that it's a dereliction of duty to not comment on it.

Item: Dustin McGowan nursing minor injury, signed to extension.
The easy to quantify is the injury story. Minor inflammation in his right foot will almost certainly keep him out of his next spring start which will almost certainly mean he won't be built up enough to open the season on the 25 man roster. This isn't a major deal, since the fifth turn only HAS to be employed once before April 21. McGowan, if he only missed one ST start (which would otherwise have fallen on Friday), could easily have time to take three turns in the Dunedin rotation and be on the right pace to start that 4/21 game. There's another scenario, which I'll get too in a second.

On the extension, there seems to have been a twitstorm on the subject with both sides arguing that it was a minor investment "but..." - to me there's hardly a reason for a but. It makes a lot of sense to me, one need only look back at Al Lieter (a much better comparison than Carpenter to me) to see what can happen when you patiently carry a pitcher through a long string of injuries and then he hits free agency. Do any of us want to see McGowan in pin stripes? Just remember, the amount of money they committed to McGowan is the same amount they spent on Jon Rauch. I know which deal makes more sense to me.

Item: Travis Snider to AAA
I'm not going to dissent, obviously, from the common meme that Snider has the higher ceiling than Thames, even though I love both guys. honestly, If I was in charge, I would seriously be mulling the idea of whether or not Bautista could be my 1B in coming years. I really would like to see Snider turned lose in the majors once and for all, but whatchagonnado? A couple of less often noted points: first, if Snider is down as much as a month (actually, past April 20) then the Blue Jays would be looking at the opportunity to add another year of control before he hits free agency (I don't think they are purposely manipulating that process but it's a nice bonus); second, as much as the common narrative is that the Jays are crashing Snider's trade value, I'm not certain that is true.
AA is not the only guy out there who knows how to fish for "distressed assets" and there are other smart GM's. That's not to say I'm jonesing for Snider to be dealt, particularly in that I don't see many areas of dramatic need, but I am saying that I would not begin to assume that if he decides to trade Snider (of which there's no indication) that he's going to get significantly less than full value.

Item: Adam Lind's back is barking.
I've kept the faith as much as anyone (short of AA) on Lind but i have to admit this worries me. I wonder if this won't lead to a lot more games at 1B for Encarnacion in order to gently handle Lind's back. If Lind can't go for an extended period (and as far as we know now that's not expected) then one option is David Cooper, the other is to bring back Snider and resign yourself to having Thames DH a good bit. I don't know if there's even one fan out there who would take Cooper over Snider, even though Tony LaCava spoke well of Cooper's continued improvement.

Item: Omar Vizquel is the 25th man
No one on the face of the planet is surprised.

Item: Everybody loves Kyle Drabek.
Drabek has done everything the Jays had asked of him this spring and, in my opinion, it would have sucked pretty hard for there to have been no room for him in the major league rotation. Enter Dusty's foot. Technically, Aaron Laffey was also in the running, and other than one start he's made a good case but Drabek is the future, not Laffey. More importantly, Laffey is not on the 40 man roster and the jays would have to risk losing a player they like if they tried to add him (or put Jesse Litsch on the 60 day DL which is not unthinkable). Still, when people ask AA or JF about the rotation, they don't say much of anything to make you think it won't be Drabek.

Here's where it gets even more interesting though. Brett Cecil, who was aces today in seven innings against a minor league squad, has had something of an uncertain spring. while people rave about everyone else the reviews on Cecil are more like "he was good" or "he's coming along" or some such. with McGowan mildly dinged and Drabek getting a chance to start in the majors, it sets up an interesting potential scenario, though to be clear i have no way of knowing if this is what the Jays will do.

Consider the April schedule and you will note without too much difficulty that the 5th starter is needed on April 11 and not again before April 21 - but if the 5th guy is Drabek, is there really any reason to skip him?

What if, in stead, they did it like this, never skipping any turn:

4/5 -- at Cleveland - Romero
4/6 -- off
4/7 -- at Cleveland - Morrow
4/8 -- at Cleveland - Cecil
4/9 -- Boston - Alvarez
4/10 - Boston - Drabek
4/11 - Boston - Romero
4/12 - off
4/13 - Baltimore - Morrow
4/14 - Baltimore - Cecil
4/15 - Baltimore - Alvarez
4/16 - off
4/17 - Tampa - Drabek
4/18 - Tampa - Romero
4/19 - Tampa - Morrow
4/20 - at KC - Cecil
4/21 - at KC - Alvarez
4/22 - at KC - Drabek
4/23 - at KC - Romero
4/24 - at Baltimore - Morrow
4/25 - at Baltimore - Cecil?
4/26 - at Baltimore - Alvarez
4/27 - Seattle - Drabek?
4/28 - Seattle - Romero
4/29 - Seattle - Morrow
4/30 - Texas - ??

Notice that if you were to assume that McGowan would return in the last third of the month at some point, doing it this way gives both Cecil and Drabek three turns in order to make their case for holding a spot in the rotation over the other. It might be that Cecil is locked in and the Jays are not considering demoting him at all, but such a trial is certainly a viable alternative choice.

Item: Blue Jays tied their Spring Training wins record.
With six games left on the major league ST schedule, the Blue Jays have equaled their all time high for spring wins with their 21st today. does that mean anything? Maybe just a little but winning is better than losing. The very good results from almost all the pitchers expected to go north is perhaps much more telling.

Item: Between this day, and the day Ricky Romero takes the mound in cleveland, their are seven other days.
Can't pass soon enough!

No comments: