The Blue Jays Played Two Games on Sunday (Sort Of)

spring-program-2

The Jays played a pair of split squad games on Sunday, both of which were televised, even! And while nobody should have a clue what the final score of either of them was, or how a vast number of the scrubs involved performed, there is still some content to be wrung from them, I’m confident. 

So let’s follow in the footsteps of what I did after Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener and key in on some of the storylines that are beginning to develop as the long, grim march through spring truly gets underway…

  • Rowdy Tellez was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, but it was in the game against the Yankees in Tampa, meaning that most fans didn’t actually see it. That’s theoretically significant because, as I wrote on Saturday, there’s a non-zero chance that Tellez makes things uncomfortable for the Jays with respect to their position battle at first base. It won’t be difficult to get fans howling to see him given an opportunity ahead of Justin Smoak — though, truth be told, it wouldn’t exactly be difficult to see fans howling to see a saltine getting a chance ahead of Smoak — even though there’s no realistic chance he makes the club on Opening Day. We’ll keep watching.
  • Mark Shapiro will be keeping his eye on young Rowdy as well, it seems. Or so he said in an interview with the Fan 590’s new morning crew, Greg Brady, Hugh Burrill, and Elliott Price, on Monday morning. He sort of has to say that, but still! “He has an exceptional level of awareness for his age. And that only helps to make him more able to maximize his potential and maximize his talent.” Have a listen to the full 13 minute chat here.
  • Shapiro also singled out: Anthony Alford, focusing on his athleticism; Conner Greene, who didn’t have a great outing, “but hit 100 on the radar gun”; also Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette, Josh Placios, and J.B. Woodman.

  • Elsewhere in the game against the Yankees we had Ezequiel Carrera taking two walks in three plate appearances, which… I’m going to have to groan about. I’d love to see ol’ Zeke take the ball and run with it and hit like he did in the playoffs and win a job and be a big part of the Jays, but there is just absolutely nothing in his track record to suggest that’s going to be a thing.
  • Jon Berti won’t warrant his own headline when he gets sent down to minor league camp, which is too bad, because of the obvious one everybody would use. Or… maybe it’s actually for the best.

  • On the pitching side in the game against the Yankees, Brett Oberholtzer didn’t do himself any favours (um… unless it was Brent Oberholzer who didn’t); Bo Schultz, Chad Smith, and Chad Girodo… uh… had innings? I don’t know. It’s early!

  • In the other game, Joe Biagini “was kind of just playing with Major League hitters,” according to Shapiro, who sounded genuinely impressed with. Biagini was working on his changeup throughout his outing, but Shapiro noted that he was able to dial it up when needed, and get batters out. 

  • Biagini was decent enough, I suppose, though his in-game interview with Buck Martinez and Joe Siddall on the Sportsnet broadcast actually pretty great. Yes, yes, I know I’ve been saying not to encourage Biagini, but he seemed quite a bit more comfortable here, and so his humour — or “humour” as some may call it — presented well, I thought. Which isn’t to suggest that anyone reading this actually cares what I think about all that.

  • Aaaand, of course, just as I’ve started coming around on the idea of giving Biagini an honest look as a starter, we hear from Benny Fresh of Sportsnet that Jays seem a little cool on it now. “The addition of Mat Latos provides the team with another experienced candidate to start if necessary, and the Blue Jays want Biagini’s arm in their bullpen,” he says.
  • Uh… yeah… so… about Mr. Cat Latos: I know it’s way, way, way too early to judge, but I’m not exactly optimistic about this endeavor — and that’s not just because he gave up a wind-aided home run into the right field corner to… someone. Josh Howsam of BP Toronto noted that Latos was sitting 90-91 and had hit 92 once. That’s probably not going to cut it for a guy whose career has made it look rather clearly like he lives and dies by his velocity. Yeah, it’s early, but let’s just say that I’m not pencilling Latos in for anything just yet.

  • Upton, Smoak, and Goins looked to be in mid-season form, with 0-fers all around, and Smoaky striking out twice. But hopefully Bautista and Martin and Morales gave us a preview of what’s to come, too — because those guys, unlike the previous three, aren’t replaceable on this roster, and they looked as good as one can look in fucking February.

  • Speaking of Kendrys:

  • OK, one more of my own tweets, because I’m like that: