The Blue Jays were busy Friday morning ahead of the 1 pm deadline to exchange arbitration figures signing six players.
The Blue Jays came to terms on one-year deals with Brett Cecil ($3.8million), Steve Delebar ($850,000), Drew Storen ($8.375 million), Aaron Loup ($1.05 million), Drew Hutchison ($2.2 million) and Michael Saunders ($2.9 million).
The Blue Jays were unable to come to terms with Jesse Chavez and American League MVP Josh Donaldson. The Blue Jays offered Chavez $3.6 million while he asked for $4 million. Donaldson asked for $11.8 million while the Blue Jays offered $11.375 million.
In Donaldson’s case, I know it is part of the process of the arbitration system, but to the fans that have endured a disappointing off-season going to arbitration over $450, 000 to the American League MVP just reeks of pettiness from an ownership that have been accused of being cheap. Realistically Donaldson should win his arbitration case so in the end he will most likely will get his $11.8 million dollars.
The Blue Jays are still a File and trial team so there won’t be any deals announced with Donaldson or Chavez before their arbitration cases.
This is the last year of arbitration for Cecil, Storen, Saunders and Chavez who will all be Free Agents at the end of the 2016 season.
The Blue Jays dropped the rubber match of their three game series tonight at Fenway as the Blue Jays were soundly trounced 10-4. The Blue Jays didn’t lose their game and a half lead on the Yankees as the Orioles won 5-3 in the Bronx. The Blue Jays start their biggest series in 22 years tomorrow night in the Bronx as they start a four game tilt with the Yankees, the Blue Jays send David Price to the mound while the Yankees counter with rookie Luis Severino.
In a game where there wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about Chris Collabello had a three run home run in the seventh to at least make the score look a little more respectable. Edwin Enacarnacion went 2 for 3 with a RBI, which was his 39th straight game he’s reached base safely which is now a new franchise record. Matt Hague and Munenori Kawasaki each had a hit in their only at bat’s of the game, for Hague it was his first hit as a Blue Jay. Josh Donaldson also had a pair of hits, one which would have been a home run on any other park turned into a long single with Donaldson getting gunned down at second. Jeff Francis helped restore order by tossing two and two third innings of shutout relief. John Gibbons with the game out of reach opted for the “B” team in the sixth inning, with a their big series with the Yankees starting tomorrow night it was a wise decision to give his starters, sans Collabello and Ryan Goins, a much needed rest.
The Blue Jays clutch hitting in the fourth and fifth innings, the Jays had runners on in each of the two innings and couldn’t come up with a big hit to get the Jays back into the game, it also was big as the Red Sox put the game out of reach with four runs in the fifth inning. Speaking of the fourth inning, there is no way that Drew Hutchison should have been back out for the fourth inning, he didn’t look particularly good getting through the first two innings unscathed before the wheels fell off in the third inning. Did they expect Hutchison to all of a sudden find himself in the fourth inning? If it had been me, Hutchison would have been gone after grooving the fastball to David Ortiz on the three run home run.
Like I mentioned in the Bad, Hutchison was awful allowing six runs in three and a third innings. At this point the Blue Jays can’t afford to have Hutchison starting games in a pennant race, they just can’t. He should be banished to the mop up role coming out of the bullpen, I don’t care about the Gregg Zaun’s of the world talking about his 13-4 record. It’s a flawed stat and this year’s Drew Hutchison proves it. Steve Delabar was even worse than Hutchison tonight getting torched for four runs on four hits and a pair of walks while only recording one out. It seems like not all that long ago that he was an All-Star but he sure has watched his perfomance and his place on the organization depth chart plummet.
The rosters for the 2014 All-Star game will be announced tomorrow night ahead of Sunday Night Baseball. Ahead of the announcements I give you five members of the Blue Jays that should be named on the team.
1. Jose Bautista RF
Bautista will be voted in as a starter for the American League and is the Captain for the American League for the Home Run Derby. Bautista is very deserving of the honour, the four-time All-Star is having an excellent season at the plate as he is hitting 301/425/529 with 17 home runs. Bautista is leading the AL in On Base Percentage as well as walks with 60. Bautista also has one of the best arms in Baseball.
2. Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Encarnacion who made his first All-Star appearance last season is having another big year offensively as he is currently second in Home Runs with 26 and is one behind the White Sox Jose Abreu. Encarnacion is also hitting 278/369/593 so far this season and could be the Jays’ early season MVP. Encarnacion also leads the AL in total bases in 194.
3. Melky Cabrera LF
Cabrera, who suffered through injuries in 2013 and had a tumour removed from his spine last summer, is having a year worthy of comeback player of the year. The one time All-Star, is second in the AL in hits with 107 and is hitting 297/344/464 to go along with his 11 home runs this season. Cabrera, who was in the top three in the AL voting for the outfield, was fourth in the last publicized numbers and if he got a big last-minute push from Blue Jay fans voting for him then he just might make the game as a starter which would be really cool considering where his career was a year ag
4. Mark Buehrle SP
The four-time All-Star is having yet another All-Star worthy season as he leads the Jays starters in ERA, WHIP, Innings pitched and Wins. Buehrle has had a stellar first half so far going 10-5 although would have more wins if the offence hadn’t taken a downturn this past month. Buehrle has a 2.50 ERA to go along with a career best 3.68 FIP and has a WHIP of 1.21. Buehrle is currently fourth in the AL in WAR at 3.7,
Casey Janssen CL
The Blue Jays sent two relievers to the All-Star game last season in Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar, and this season another Blue Jay in the bullpen is worthy of the honour. Janssen, in his third year as a closer is by far having his best year of his career despite missing the first month of the season. Janssen in 19 innings has only allowed two earned runs while only walking one batter and having a WHIP of .895 and a K/BB ratio of 13 to go along with an ERA of 0.95 and a FIP of 1.90. If Janssen were to make the All-Star game it would be his first appearance.
The Blue Jays had their five game winning streak snapped tonight losing to the Los Angeles Angels 4-3. The Blue Jays record now sits at 18-18 on the season and they are in third in the AL East and sit two and a half games back of Baltimore. The Blue Jays send J.A Happ to the mound Saturday afternoon against the Angels’ Tyler Skaggs.
The Good: Even though he didn’t have his best stuff tonight Dustin McGowan gutted it out for five innings and kept the Blue Jays in the ballgame. Jose Reyes is finally starting to look like the player that most Jays’ fans were expecting when he was acquired. Reyes went 3 for 4 scoring twice and hit a home run in the eighth which at the time tied the game. Melky Cabrera 2 for 3 with a walk scored a run on a wild pitch and stole a base. Jose Bautista extended his streak of reaching base safely to 36 games with a single in the eighth inning. Sergio Santos in the sixth inning pitching a three up three down inning. The Blue Jays won a challenge in the top of the fifth inning that quite frankly I thought there was no way the out call on the tag to the runner coming into home plate was going to be overturned. My guess is that New York had a camera angle that Sportsnet either had and didn’t show or just didn’t have it, because all the angles they showed made it look like Navarro tagged the wrong leg on the runner sliding into home.
The Bad: Steve Delebar, who came into the game in the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs, immediately issued a four pitch walk and gave the Angels a 3-2 lead. Juan Francisco was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Adam Lind was 0 for 4 as well. Edwin Encarnacion went 0 for 3 but did have a walk. Dioner Navarro was also 0 for 4 tonight. The Red Maple Leaf hats the Jays were wearing look awful, I was never a fan of the Spring Training hats in blue, but to make red ones that don’t match the current uniform just looked bad.
The Ugly: encarnacion’s error in the ninth on a routine ground ball to second couldn’t get his foot on the first base bag before Mike Trout did, in the end that error didn’t cost the Jays the game alone but still it’s a play that has to be made in that spot.
The Blue Jays opened up their wacky four game series with a nice 3-0 win, It is the Blue Jays second straight win and their record now sits at 15-17 on the season. The Jays are now in a three way tie with Tampa and Boston for third in the AL East. The Jays send Drew Hutchison to the mound tomorrow night against the Phillies Cole Hammels.
The Good: J.A Happ pitched five shutout innings tonight, he did walk four and allowed three hits while striking out two, It was by no means a masterpiece but it was good enough to get the job done. Jose Reyes wacked the third pitch of the game out of the park for a lead-off home run and sparked the Jays offence which scored three runs in the first two innings. Colby Rasmus continued his hot streak going 2 for 3 and a walk, both of Rasmus’ hits were doubles. Melky Cabrera continued his hot pace getting another 2 hits, it was Melky’s 15th multi hit game of the season which leads the Major Leagues. Jose Bautista went 0 for 3 but was hit by a pitch to extend his streak of getting on base safely to 32 games on the season and his 33rd overall. The record is 84 games so Bautista has a way to go to catch that number. Bautista also showed why you shouldn’t try to run on him as he threw a laser to home plate on a Ryan Howard fly ball to deep right to nail Marlon Byrd at home plate. The Bullpen bent but didn’t brake tonight as Esmil Rogers and Aaron Loup tight roped out of trouble in the sixth and seventh before giving way to Steve Delabar and Brett Cecil who finished it off. For Cecil it was his second save of the season.
The Bad Edwin Encarnacion went 0 for 4 tonight and is now 0 for his last 15. John Gibbons, who is dealing with a short bench kind of, let Esmil Rogers bat for himself in the top of the seventh, Rogers didn’t fair all that bad he hit a fly ball to left, but he did have a couple of good hacks during his at bat.
The Ugly: Brett Lawrie left the game in the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring. According to Mike Wilner on the post game show says that Lawrie had said it had been bothering him for the last few days and that it’s nothing that a few days off shouldn’t take care of. Having gone thru a hamstring injury with Reyes it wouldn’t surprise me if Lawrie ends up on the DL. For the time being expect to see Juan Francisco at third base and honestly that is kind of a scary thought.
For the third time this season Sergio Santos blew a save opportunity, tonight however, had to go down as the most spectacular of the three that he has blown.
Santos came into the bottom of the ninth with the Blue Jays leading 5-3. He gave up a first pitch single to Neil Walker, then struck out Andrew McCutchen but then served up a fastball right down the middle of the plate to Pedro Alvarez who belted a two run blast to center. Santos then got Ike Davis to fly out and then he gave up the game winning shot to Sterling Marte to give the Pirates a 6-5 win, the win was the Pirates sixth come from behind win.
As for the Blue Jays, this has become a disturbing narrative that keeps repeating itself early on this season. The Bullpen has had their struggles ever since they allowed six runs on eight walks in a game in Minnesota two weeks ago. The Jays have now let five games get away from them when the Bullpen has been handed a lead in a game.
After the game tonight John Gibbons hinted at some changes with the pen in general with Gibby saying that they really miss Casey Janssen and Dustin McGowan in the back-end of the bullpen. It could be totally conceivable that Marcus Stroman gets the call to the Jays’ because the Jays really need McGowan in the pen to help Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup.
I’ve thought right off the bat that the bullpen missed having McGowan in the back-end of the pen where he pitched so well last year, add to the fact that Janssen is still on the DL and Neil Wagner was sent back to Buffalo in favour of a long man, which in turn have put more pressure on the back-end guys to work more in high leverage spots. Add to it the shortage of innings out of the starting rotation early on and it’s easy to see why Gibby is really considering putting McGowan back in the pen sooner than later.
As for the short-term solution, it wouldn’t surprise me if Gibby mixes and matches his relievers to get thru the back-end of a game. They could use Cecil or Delabar in spots too. How they would use Santos in games is anyone’s guess. I can’t imagine that they use him again in a save situation any time soon, so maybe they use him when a game is already out of reach.
If this early stretch of struggles in the pen it has made Jays’ fans appreciate Casey Janssen much more now than perhaps they had before.
The Blue Jays dropped the opening game of a three game set in Kansas City Tuesday night 10-7. The Jays’ record on the season now stands at 12-14 and they sit in fourth in the AL East and are three games behind the Yankees for first.
The Good: The offence was great again as they scored seven runs for the second straight game. Jose Bautista hit his eighth home run and ran his streak of reaching base safely to 26 games. Edwin Encarnacion hit his second home run of the season. Melky Cabrera had two more hits and drove in two runs to run his hitting streak to 11 games on the season. Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus showed that they are breaking out of their early season struggles with a pair of hits each. Dioner Navarro and Jose Reyes also had two hits each for the Jays. Dustin McGowan, who may have made his last start as a Blue Jay made sure it was a good one going six plus innings allowing three runs on three hits. As for McGowan’s potential successor in the rotation, Marcus Stroman was on his game tonight firing six no hit innings striking out 10 in Buffalo Tuesday night. The fact that John Gibbons didn’t commit to McGowan making his next start when asked after the game gives me the feeling that he is heading back to the pen and the Marcus Stroman era is upon us.
The Bad:Juan Francisco was 0 for 5 tonight while striking out three times. It is becoming more apparent that like Adam Lind, he can’t hit lefties. Steve Delabar wasn’t very good either tonight, allowing a home run to the first batter he faced Salvador Perez. Delebar then looked even worse trying to field Jarrod Dyson’s bunt in the seventh, trying to tag him and then hitting him in the back with the throw to first. Navarro threw a ball into center field on a steal attempt in the second inning leading to the Royals second run. Escobar had a huge jump to begin with and Navarro would have been better off just hanging on to the ball instead of attempting the throw.
The Ugly Brett Cecil, Sergio Santos and Esmil Rogers all stunk tonight and were apart of the Royals six run eighth. Cecil started the inning but allowed two hits putting runners on first and third. Gibbons then brings on Santos to attempt a five out save and he promptly gives up a bases clearing double giving the Royals a 6-5 lead. From there the Royals got four more runs. Santos gave up three runs in a third of an inning, Cecil was tagged for 2 runs in two-thirds of an inning and Rogers was tagged for a run in a third of an inning.
The Bullpen’s ERA now stands at 5.04 on the season. It’s early but the pen has to be better. It’s the fourth time in the seven games that the Jays have led by three or more runs and have managed to lose.