Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Hey, so Drew Storen isn’t going to be the Blue Jays’ closer! That’s… unexpected.
The Jays have announced this morning that last year’s rookie sensation, Roberto Osuna, will continue in the role — with John Gibbons citing his familiarity with Osuna as the reason for not making the switch.
That’s cool and all, I guess. Those roles are always fluid, and dependent on how everybody does, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to make too much of a big deal of an announcement like this. But… well… it’s certainly not how I think I’d have done it.
I’d much rather see Osuna being deployed in the highest leverage situations possible, and potentially, on occasion, for four outs or more — which, of course, would help to bump up his inning totals so that next year, when he damn well should be made a starter, he’ll have that much higher a floor to work from.
Then again, maybe it’s kinda smart. Maybe?
The thing is, I worry a bit about Storen. Not because of some magical difficulty he supposedly has with pitching in an even-numbered inning — despite the very notable meltdown at the end of last season, after the NationLOLs traded for Jonathan Papelbon and bumped Storen from the closer’s role, he’s thrived outside the ninth inning before — but because he just sort of feels like the kind of guy who is better suited to coming in to pitch a clean inning, rather than being thrust into a high-leverage situation with runners on in order to bail someone else out. And he feels especially miscast coming into games as that sort of guy when Osuna — who we’ve seen excel in exactly those kinds of situations — will be sitting right there. Especially considering that he’s made more than three outs in only two appearances since the start of 2012, and hasn’t gone more than one inning in either of the last two years.
But have I really gone through the data in order to be sure I can back such vague feelings up? No, I definitely haven’t. And there’s probably nearly as much to like about the fact that Osuna will be available in the eighth, when needed, to bail Storen out and pull off some four-, or even five-out saves.
So… whatever? Especially because this stuff is hardly written in stone.
It’s just… Osuna is damn good and probably won’t give the club a reason to think about replacing him, meaning it’s going to be hard for Storen to fail his way up into what I tend to think is a more ideal role. But if they’re mostly just going to use him to try to pitch a clean inning in the eighth (which, even if they’re gung ho about throwing him into somebody else’s mess, is what’s going to happen the vast majority of the time anyway), how much does it honestly matter?
Meanwhile, the club has also announced that Ezequiel Carrera (who let’s please, seriously, not ever call Zeke) has made the team as the fourth outfielder — which is completely expected, although a mild injustice to Darrell Ceciliani, who will only go to Buffalo because he has minor league options remaining — and that it’s Ryan Tepera (and his reverse splits) who has nabbed the last spot in the Jays’ bullpen, with Pat Venditte being optioned to the minors.
That means Joe Biagini and Arnold Leon (who would likely have been lost to another organization if they hadn’t) have also made the club. At least until Marco Estrada comes off the DL, which he’s expected to do a week from Sunday. (Tepera could be optioned down at that point, too, theoretically, but that would leave only Brett Cecil as a guy who can be matched up against an opponent’s toughest lefties).
So this is it! The Opening Day roster! Assuming they don’t change course on Edwin Encarnacion and have him open the season on the DL (which currently is not the plan). Have a look: