Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition: the AL East, J.P. Howell, Dalton Pompey & more!
The Toronto Blue Jays 2017 roster is getting closer and closer to being set. Well, as set as a roster can be at the beginning of February. There is the whole matter of Spring Training to go through, but who’s counting? As the club made a couple of new additions, specifically to their bullpen, we shouldn’t expect too many more deals that will have an impact on the big league club. There may be some Spring Training invites handed out, but those would be more of a formality than anything else. As we count down the days until pitchers and catchers report, here are the latest news and links:
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* Over at Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith runs down the offseason that was for the Blue Jays’ division rivals. The AL East has been pretty busy this winter and some teams still have work to do. For example, the Baltimore Orioles have had an interesting go of it. As Nicholson-Smith points out, they are relying on basically the same rotation they had last season, which was fairly brutal. They retained the services of Mark Trumbo, but even Adam Jones is wondering how they will be able to keep up defensively. This very well could be a rough year for the O’s.
Obviously, on paper, the Red Sox have had arguably the better offseason. Adding Chris Sale will do that. They also added Tyler Thornburg to their bullpen, making them the favorites to repeat as AL East champs. If you wanted to, you could be “that person” and point out that David Price has already begun his decline and remind Beantowners that it is next to impossible to repeat otherworldly offense. Of course, you’d be screaming into the void, so don’t bother.
The Yankees brought Aroldis Chapman back…Oh! And added Matt Holiday. That’s about it. It is curious why a team would spend so much on an elite closer with a rotation that looks to be rather sketchy in 2017. As for the Rays, they are taking the scenic route to preparing for the 2017 season and could end up with one of the remaining free agents out there. And, with their pitching, it could be just enough to make them pesky, but not overly competitive.
Nichlson-Smith wraps up his AL East summary by suggesting the Blue Jays are likely done shopping, but could add a swing man to round out the bullpen. At this point, while you can never be too comfortable with the pitching depth you have, you have to think that a guy like Mike Bolsinger, or Gavin Floyd, is more likely for that job than spending any more money to bring in someone else.
* Jon Morosi joined Prime Time Sports to express his confusion over the Blue Jays choice in J.P. Howell over Boone Logan. He was also down on the offense. He doesn’t think they’ll scare many opposing pitchers. Well, let’s set aside the nagging feeling that Morosi might be a little upset that he didn’t get to scoop any of the big stories this winter and could be venting a bit. If you consider that Howell signed for less than Logan and the fact that the Blue Jays lefty got 10% more groundballs AND left 15% fewer runners on base in 2016, the Blue Jays seem to make out quite well, thank you very much. Nothing confusing there.
* In his latest Blue Jays Inbox, Gregor Chisholm answers a few questions for readers. Before we even get in to the details of some of those questions, it is interesting to note that there is a heavy focus on minor league talent and prospects. This level of interest in the Blue Jays farm is quite exciting. So, Chisholm talks about Max Pentecost and the need for patience with the young catcher, among other things.
But, the one sticking point is the situation Dalton Pompey finds himself in. Right now, he appears to be blocked at the big league level by Melvin Upton Jr.and Ezequiel Carrera. Chisholm points out that the club wants Pompey to get regular, starting at bats rather than bench time. So, if he comes north with the club, it would mean that he played THAT well this spring. One has to wonder just how well he would have to play to beat out the other two at this point. Of course, injury could play into things, but in all likelihood, Pompey is headed for AAA…again. Which stinks because of THIS and THIS.
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