Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. In this edition: the lineup, the bullpen, a trade idea and more!
After an off day on Monday, the Blue Jays faced the Diamondbacks at Rogers Centre. But, before then, there were some things written. Today, we look at the batting lineup, the bullpen, silly trade suggestions and much more! Let’s get to it.
Don’t forget to catch Our latest Episode of the Jays Nest Podcast where we chat Hot Players, hitting Stat of the Week and our Hot Takes.
*Ken Fidlin, of the Toronto Sun says that Devon Travis is primed to take over the leadoff spot. We know that the Blue Jays were considering this for a long time, so that doesn’t come as a shock. But, we need to ask if Travis is actually ready. Remember that being off for basically a year means that timing, etc will be an issue. Fidlin suggests that the past week or so has been enough evidence to move the 25 yr old up. He’s referring to his big game on Sunday that included a HR and 2 doubles. Travis is hitting .545 over the last 6 games. Is that enough? Well, perhaps. Manager, John Gibbons used him out of the 2 hole Tuesday night. With Jose Bautista out, perhaps now is the right time to try it.
*At Sportsnet, Arden Zwelling focuses on the suddenly improved bullpen of the Blue Jays. Once the source of rage and frustration for Blue Jays fans, the bullpen has started to come around. Arden pins a lot of the credit on Jesse Chavez, who has settled down nicely lately. His effectiveness has to do with adjustments to his cutter, which have paid off…the Orioles outing not withstanding. Of course, the rest of the ‘pen has not been as bad as they were to start the season, which is not really surprising. We didn’t really think they would be, did we? Drew Storen, once the target of much anger, has relied on his 2-seamer more and is combining it with his change up. It is working for him. This, and the addition of Jason Grilli has been quite nice to see.
*Speaking of the bullpen, Dirk Hayhurst, former Blue Jay and current TSN Analyst, says that the relievers being what they are (he actually means what they were since we know that they are performing better lately. We can only assume Dirk knows that too…or…) means that the Blue Jays should flip Jose Bautista for some bullpen help. Hayhurst points out that Joey Bats is in decline and is seeking way too much money to justify his next contract. He may have a point about the decline. It may not be as dramatic as Hayhurst would lead us to believe, but still. It’s a valid point. What doesn’t make sense is that Bautista is a “10-5” guy. For those who don’t know, or haven’t been in the big leagues long enough, that means that Jose’s been in the big leagues for 10 years and 5 with the same team. As such, he has the right to veto any potential trade. So, this really is a moot point. But, read Dirk’s work, if you like.
*Over at Clutchlings, our friend, Doug Fox, fills us in on the Bluefield Blue Jays. He provides a little background info about the club, whose development contract is about to expire with the big league club that shares the same nickname. The highlight of Bluefield’s roster is Vlad Guerrero Jr. As Doug says, “The top international prospect last year, even at 17 and with a position switch from the outfield, the organization feels that he is mature enough both competitively and emotionally to skip the GCL.” Obviously, this will be one name that will draw attention to this club over the next little while. But, other names to watch will be OF Reggie Pruitt and P Jose Espada, who can throw some serious gas.
Around the League
*If you thought the Blue Jays were the only club with bullpen issues, perhaps you (or Hayhurst) should check out Ethan Obstarczyk’s piece over at Pirates Breakdown as he highlights the path Pittsburgh took to building their group of relievers. Currently, that group ranks 20th in baseball with a 4.10 ERA. Ethan points to the Pirates letting Antonio Bastardo go without replacing him properly as well as the guys who were supposed to be uber-effective, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon. For example, after walking just 17 batters in all of 2015, Watson has issued 11 free passes already.
*Over at MLB Reports, Hugh Hawkins has a great idea. He suggests that MLB bring in Ron Burgundy be brought in to entertain fans during the 2016 All Star festivities in San Diego. This could be a really great idea. Remember that Will Ferrell has a passion for baseball. He did a tour of appearing for many teams during Spring Training 2015. Hawkins says to let Burgundy (Ferrell) do Home Run Derby interviews, etc. But, it might actually be funny to hear him call the whole thing. He can do better than the “Back, back, back, back, gone” that has just been reduced to an after thought these days.
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