Man, I hate it when this happens. You sit around at work all week, grinding through stuff, and you see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that light, which was watching Gavin Floyd throw four or five innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, was eaten alive in a mid-spring Florida rainstorm. Sarcasm aside, I was actually excited for this game. Floyd has looked good in Grapefruit ball so far, and I’m interested to see if he can keep it up. Personally, I would rather see Aaron Sanchez in the rotation, but Floyd has made the decision more difficult than I figured he would.
Anyways, since there isn’t any baseball on TV, and we were all totally geared up for it, I’m going to compile a list of things to read so you can still get your Blue Jays fix on this lovely Saturday afternoon.
I mentioned this in the Game Threat I posted earlier today, but Gregor Chisholm tweeted a whole bunch of news this morning:
First of all, he said Kevin Pillar is essentially locked in as the Jays’ leadoff hitter to start the season. While it isn’t official quite yet, Gibby joked that they had been running pretty much one guy, and he doesn’t know if that means anything (sarcastically). So yeah. Pillar is going to be the leadoff hitter. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of it, but I’m also really not surprised at all. Obviously it would be more effective to use a guy like Russell Martin or Troy Tulowitzki in the leadoff position because they get on base at a much higher clip than Pillar does (and they’re wiling to not swing the bat all the time), but Pillar represents that traditional type of guy who can swipe bags and create havoc on the base paths (which he shouldn’t be doing anyway with Donaldson, Bautista, and Edwin batting). Oh well, hopefully they either come to their senses quickly, or Pillar does what he’s done his entire career and go ahead and prove everyone wrong.
After that, Gregor tweeted that the decision for the fifth starter likely wouldn’t be made until the end of camp. This obviously isn’t surprising, as the Jays are going to use every single chance they can get to make the right decisions for both the rotation and the bullpen going into the season. Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, and J.A. Happ are locked in (barring injury, knock on wood) but the last spot will come down to Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison, Gavin Floyd, or Jesse Chavez. Realistically, it’s probably between Floyd and Sanchez, as Chavez will fill in as a swing guy in the bullpen, and Hutch will go to AAA Buffalo to refine his stuff and be ready if somebody falters or gets injured. I do hope, though, that if they do select Floyd, that they don’t immediately throw Sanchez back the in bullpen. His value long-term for the Jays is as a starter, and if they make him a reliever in April, he more than likely won’t be able to start this season. I think having Sanchez and Hutch in AAA and Floyd in the rotation to start the year gives the Jays a wealth of possibilities for potential replacements and changes throughout the season.
And here’s a few more things on Aaron Sanchez, who pitched a great game yesterday against the Houston Astros. First, Gregor Chisholm wrote an article for MLB.com that talks about how Sanchez’s success comes down to whether or not he can control his secondary pitches (specifically his curveball and changeup). And then there’s another article in The Sun that talks about the same stuff, touching on how Sanchez views the competition for the fifth rotation spot as something positive, and that he views Chavez as a friend and Floyd as a mentor.
And finally, Gregor also tweeted that Gibby said that he’s “optimistic” that Edwin will be ready by the time the season begins. “Hopefully it’s not much longer,” Gibbons said to to Chisholm. “We can’t afford it to be much longer. We have a couple weeks left, he needs at-bats, he needs to feel healthy. He’s good today but we have to get moving pretty quick.” John Lott continued on Encarnacion news by tweeting that Edwin felt better today, was hitting in the batting cage, is planning on taking live batting practice on Tuesday, and that he’ll be ready for the season.
As we know, Edwin has yet to make his spring debut yet thanks to an oblique injury. Obviously I want Edwin to be ready for the beginning of the season, but I really, really hope they don’t rush him through this thing. The last thing we want is a kind of injured, on again off again Edwin throughout the season. If he does need to begin the year on the DL, which I hope he doesn’t, the Jays have enough depth at the position to deal with it. But hey, Edwin says he’s going to be ready, and he knows himself a hell of a lot better than I do!
Sticking with Edwin… The Score put out an article yesterday that the Jays are nearing Encarnacion’s deadline for getting a contract extension worked out. There isn’t anything new here about whether they’re closer to getting a deal done or anything, just that Atkins and Shapiro are respecting Edwin’s deadline and that if they don’t reach a deal (which I’m guessing they won’t), they won’t bring it up during the season. Ian Hunter from Blue Jays Hunter wrote that while Edwin and the Jays have had dialogue about a new deal, they haven’t nudged very far past the starting point. He also went on to note that apparently the Jays fielded Edwin a low-ball, two-year offer without a dollar number attached to it. And let’s be honest here, if you’re Edwin, an elite power hitter who’s hitting free agency at the age of 33 (he’ll be 34 when the 2017 season begins), are you going to consider a two-year contract? Hunter hopes that the Jays ultimately have the plan of meeting Edwin in the middle, and I hope he’s right, because two years really isn’t reasonable.
Steve Buffery from The Sun talked with Jesse Chavez, who said he’s thrilled to be back with the Blue Jays. He talked about being a veteran, knowing what a good and a bad clubhouse looks like, and that the Jays are noticeably different now than they were his first time around. Anyways, there isn’t much here, but it’s a good read if you’re interested in hearing nice things about the Jays clubhouse atmosphere and if you need any more reasons to believe Jesse Chavez is a likeable guy.
Dalton Pompey was demoted to minor league camp earlier this week, and according to an article in the Toronto Star, he handled it well. Gibby stressed to the young outfielder that he could probably have made the team, but they needed him playing every day, and Buffalo was the place where that was going to happen, not Toronto. Pompey also noted how he saw Chris Colabello and Ryan Going not crack the club out of spring, then eventually get called up and play key roles on the team down the stretch. It’s not surprising that he didn’t make the team, but it was the right move. There isn’t much value in having a 23-year-old stud prospect sit on the bench and pinch run all year.
In terms of trade rumours, the Jays are apparently looking to deal catching prospect A.J. Jimenez before they run the possibility of losing him for nothing. Jimenez, who’s 25 years old and has no Major League Baseball experience, is out of options and will be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t make the team’s 25-man roster out of camp. Along with Jimenez, Josh Thole, Ezequiel Carrera, and Junior Lake are position players on the Jays who don’t have options.
Oh yeah! And Marco Estrada will make his first start of the spring tomorrow against the Pirates (it’ll be on TV), and Gavin Floyd will appear in relief.
And finally, here’s a game to watch if you don’t want to read all of this stuff…
Or, if you’ve seen that one too many times… Here’s another personal favourite: