After Alex Anthopoulos and Darren Oliver met with the media last evening via conference call, we got a peak into what Anthopoulos is thinking regarding the bullpen. He said that Casey Janssen, Darren Oliver, Sergio Santos, and Esmil Rogers were locks. He stressed Rogers was a lock because he is out of options and would likely be claimed off waivers if sent to the minors.
So who else is out of options in the bullpen? Brett Cecil and Jeremy Jeffress, that’s who.
Anthopoulos also said he likes Brad Lincoln as both a starter or a reliever and if Lincoln (who has options) doesn’t make the MLB club and starts the year in triple-A, it will be as a starter. He was quick to point out that J.A. Happ and Aaron Loup also have options remaining.
If you look at the logic of keeping guys on the MLB squad as to not expose them to waivers then the current bullpen would shake down like this:
Middle relief – Cecil (L), Jeffress (R), Rogers (R), Delabar (R) – he also has options but is the best reliever of those who has them,
Set up – Oliver (L), Santos (R)
Closer – janssen (R)
That means the Jays would head into the season without the traditional long reliever/swingman who is often called upon should a start get shelled or injured early in a game. But with the rotation of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero, perhaps the Jays don’t think they’ll get shelled often and carrying a long man is a waste of a bullpen body. If a starter goes down early with injury, each reliever could plug an inning until the next time around in the rotation when someone is called up from triple-A to start.
That puts J.A. Happ starting the year in triple-A as the Jays “6th” starter. Brad Lincoln likely falls right behind him in triple-A as the “7th” starter by the way Anthopoulos was talking. Lincoln would likely be called up if a right handed arm was needed in the ‘pen even if he is starting in triple-A. My only comment to this is that the Jays gave up a lot of young prospects to get Happ and rent Brandon Lyon for half a season, so Happ was the key guy they wanted. And for Lincoln we surrendered Travis Snider. Is our team really that deep that these guys can’t crack the roster?
Any way you frame it, the Jays certainly have depth…