Well, Spring Training is over and it's still snowing in Toronto. Good thing they started the season on the road. After 4 games in Tampa Bay they sit at 2-2. Won the first 2 and all was looking well. After the first controversial interpretation of a new sliding rule was enforced against Jose Bautista in the third game, negating the tying and go-ahead runs/ending the game, they started a 2 game losing streak. Such is life when the Jays play at Tropicana Field.
Lets take a look at my inaccurate portrayal of their opening day roster.....
The Starters - Never mind, I nailed that. Aaron Sanchez looking good so far, but the bullpen also looks like they could use him. Stay tuned. Marco Estrada started on the DL. Temporarily replaced by an extra reliever because of off-days.
The Bullpen - Aaron Loup and Bo Schultz are on the DL to start the season. Arnold Leon (out of options) and Joe Biagini (Rule 5 pick) are two players that made the team, that I didn't even mention as being on the bubble. I should have in hindsight with Leon. Biagini is a surprise to me, but he better start performing instantly, or he might be gone. Rule 5 picks have to stay on the active roster for the entire year in order to not have to be offered back to their original team. He hasn't gotten into a game yet. They're going to have to drop one of these guys when Estrada comes back. Leon didn't help his own cause when he gave up a 3 run homer to lose the game in his first outing as a Blue Jay. Leon would have to be put on waivers if he's the odd man out. I had Ryan Tepera making the team, which he did originally, but at the last hour they signed left handed reliever Franklin Morales who's coming off a career year with Kansas City last year. Tepera deserves to be on the team, but he had options so he got sent to AAA. With Brett Cecil and Morales in the fold, suddenly Aaron Loup's future looks a little cloudy. Loup is a big favourite of John Gibbons, but after being extremely reliable and effective for his first 3 seasons, he was the teams worst relief pitcher last year. They could keep 3 lefties, but they certainly don't have to. They will take their sweet time rehabbing Loup's injury as their doesn't seem to be a spot for him right now. Also, Roberto Osuna was named the closer over Drew Storen. I think this was the right choice since Osuna did nothing to deserve losing this job. I figured it might go the other way so they could build Osuna's innings up toward him eventually being a starter. Maybe that's no longer the plan.
The lineup - No biggie here. I predicted Junior Lake would win out over Ezequiel Carrera. Mainly because I thought a right handed bat would be a better platoon situation with Saunders. Carrera was here for a lot of last year and performed well. I think this was a loyalty thing. Or maybe Lake being a couple of years younger benefits more from getting regular at bats in the minors. Interestingly though, Darren Ceciliani, who was one of the best players for the Jays in Spring Training, is on the 40 man roster along with Dalton Pompey. Junior Lake is not, so we likely won't see him this year.
So my predictions were off like they always are, but hey...... It's not my fault they don't see things the way I do ;)
In other news.......
- Brett Cecil tied the major league record for most consecutive scoreless outings my a major league pitcher on Monday. That is a HUGE accomplishment. It's sad that we didn't see more coverage on it. Relief pitchers that aren't closers get no love. Even in this blog post, it's so many paragraphs down. Unacceptable. Unfortunately he gave up a home run the following night, so he was unable to claim the record for himself. Still though. He hadn't given up an earned run since before the all-star break last year. That's nutty.
- I know the Morales pickup was mentioned above. I just want to give our new GM credit. He's made some crafty little moves. Toronto fans were so in love with Alex Anthopolous, that when he left, it was natural to be nervous about the incoming regime. I don't really disagree with much that Atkins has done so far. He's shown some nice touch.
- Josh Donaldson seems to have a minor calf muscle injury - NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. They say it's minor though - NOOOOOOOOOOO. I'm sure it's no big deal.