Tagged: Aaron Loup

Mid-Season Review – Part Two: The Bullpen

While not the official midway point through the season, the allstar break certainly serves as the unofficial midway point in the long, 162-game season that is major league baseball.  I thought it would be fitting to take advantage of the allstar break to prepare a report card of sorts and break down the different aspects of the Blue Jays organization.  This is part two of the series: The Bullpen.

Coming into Spring Training, it was hard to find any holes in the Blue Jays roster.  But if you were forced to point to something, it probably would’ve been the bullpen.  Casey Janssen showed great consistency since taking over the closer role in 2012, but he isn’t a prototypical closer and he was coming off shoulder surgery.  Sergio Santos was thought to challenge Janssen for the closer spot, leaving Darren Oliver and Steve Delabar as solid late inning options.  Aaron Loup was thought to make the club, but had almost zero expectations since he was entering his first full season.  Brett Cecil was a question mark to even make the 25-man roster.  Esmil Rogers was to be a mulitple inning, mid-relief guy.  Dustin McGowan, please.  He would probably just get hurt again.  Juan Perez, Neil Wagner….who are they?

One of the lone bright spots at the break is the Jays’ bullpen.  The group has posted the best bullpen ERA in the AL over the first half (2.90), the most wins in the AL (21), all while pitching the most innings of any ‘pen in the MLB (334.2).  Let’s look at each member of the group who has contributed to the surprise success.

Juan Perez (19.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1-1 record, 0.76 WHIP, 21 K’s) – Perez came out of nowhere this season.  A 34-year-old career minor leaguer and with the Jays in search of a fresh arm to eat some innings due to the rotations early season struggles, Perez earned a call up when he pitched to a 0.86 ERA over 21 innings in triple-A.  It was thought Perez would be a sort-term inning eater and head back to Buffalo when the rotation turned things around and got healthy.  After posting a 0.00 ERA in 19.2 innings with the big club, Perez doesn’t look to be going anywhere soon – especially since sending him to the minors would expose him to waivers.  With a very affordable $380,000 contract, he would surely be claimed by any contending club looking to add bullpen depth.  The emergence of Perez (along with Loup and Cecil) give the Jays flexibility to trade veteran Darren Oliver to a contender before the July 31st deadline.  With his hurky-jerky motion, he sure is fun to watch.

Dustin McGowan (11.2 IP, 1.54 ERA, 0-0 record, 0.86 WHIP, 15 K’s) – McGowan is finely healthy (touch wood) in part due to the Jamie Evans throwing program which has strengthened his ever-ailing shoulder.  It’s only 11.2 innings, but McGowan’s stuff looks as good as it ever has and his maturity and determination really shine through when he is on the mound.  If he can stay healthy – and that’s still a big if – the patience the Jays have shown with his injury-riddled start to his career might just pay off.  And if he does stay healthy, a lot more pitchers might start subscribing to the Jamie Evans velocity program.

Steve Delabar (42.0 IP, 1.71 ERA, 5-1 record, 1.26 WHIP, 58 K’s) – Delabar, a feel-good story of a teacher turned MLB allstar and arguably the man that made Jamie Evans’ velocity program famous, has been everything the Jays were hoping when they acquired him from the Mariners last season for OF Eric Thames.  He still walks too many hitters (23 so far) but doesn’t allow the long ball (1 so far) and has the strikeout ability to make up it.  More than any other reliever in the Blue Jays bullpen, when they need a big strikeout, he is the guy to go to.

Brett Cecil (46.1 IP, 1.96 ERA, 3-0 record, 0.97 WHIP, 55 K’s) – After winning 15 games as a rookie starter in a tough AL East, the next couple season weren’t too kind to Cecil.  He struggled mightily as a starter, experienced an alarming drop in velocity, and looked like he was destined for a permanent home in the minors.  Yet, Cecil – despite his struggles – still managed to get lefty batters out at a very high rate.  So it’s no surprise the Jays gave him a shot to grab a spot in the bullpen since he is out of minor league options (you’ll remember I wrote about this months ago and actually discussed it with Alex Anthopoulos).  Am I surprised with Cecil’s success this season?  Not at all.  I’ve always thought he was more suited for the ‘pen – he was a closer in college.  Am I surprised by Cecil’s command and much improved velocity?  Absolutely.  Thank you Jamie Evans (are we noticing a trend here?)

Aaron Loup (46.1 IP, 1.94 ERA, 4-3 record, 0.97 WHIP, 33 K’s) – Where did this guy come from?  Last year, Loup was a surprise call up from double-A and he has never looked back.  This year, Loup experienced his first major league camp Spring Training invite.  It’s unbelievable.  Loup has shown the ability to pitch multiple innings, strand inherited runners, dig in for a strikeout, or get a double-play grounder.  The angle he creates with his 3/4 arm slot is nasty, but it’s his ability to throw consistent strikes with his delivery that impresses most.  Loup has only walked 6 batters.  When looking to induce contact, Loup is an option right up there with Janssen.

Sergio Santos (4.1 IP, 2.08 ERA, 0-1 record, 0.92 WHIP, 6 K’s) – After missing nearly all of last season to shoulder surgery, Santos couldn’t get through 5 innings this year before requiring elbow surgery.  The hard-throwing righty is now been prescribed the Jamie Evans training program and hopes it helps cure his oft-injured arm.  The Jays are hoping Santos can regain the form that saw him strikeout 92 in just 63.1 innings for the White Sox in 2011.  2014 will be very interesting for Santos – the Jays hold club options on him for 2015, ’16, and ’17.  He’ll need to stay healthy and pitch well if he hopes to cash in on the contract structure the Jays inherited from the White Sox.  Santos is scheduled to come back to the ‘pen late July.  So the question is, who does he replace?  With how well everyone in the bullpen is throwing, don’t be surprised if Santos has an “extended” rehab assignment.

Thad Weber (13.0 IP, 2.08 ERA, 0-1 record, 1.23 WHIP, 8 K’s) – Weber was used as a fresh arm to call up when the bullpen was gassed earlier this year.  Although he pitched well, his stuff isn’t as good as the guys currently in the ‘pen and doesn’t look to have a role with the Jays beyond triple-A depth.  Yet, with a 2.37 ERA in 49.1 innings for Buffalo, he certainly provides quality depth.

Casey Janssen (29.1 IP, 2.76 ERA, 2-0 record, 0.89 WHIP 26 K’s) – With so much doubt heading into the season about Janssen’s ability to maintain his role as the team’s closer, he has certainly stuck it to his critics.  He may not throw hard, but he has pinpoint control (only 7 walks) and gets the job done – 18 of 19 in save opportunities.  While Delabar and Santos might have more traditional closer-like arms, Janssen’s ability to attack and carve up the strike zone is unmatched by any member of the bullpen.  It should be noted that the only save he blew, the Jays went on to win in extras, so the Jays have not lost a game that he has attempted to save all season.  Janssen is also on the Jamie Evans throwing program after having a slower than expected recovery from offseason shoulder surgery.  He has been pitching through what he describes as “discomfort” most of the year, but he appears to have turned a corner in the past couple weeks.  He is the leader of the ‘pen and an example to the young pitchers on the team of how location is more important than velocity.

Neil Wagner (18.1 IP, 2.95 ERA, 2-3 record, 1.15 WHIP, 15 K’s) – Wagner is a 28-year-old rookie.  He’s always had the power arm, but lacked control prior to this season.  He has a lower-grade version of McGowan’s stuff without having the previous arm issues.  As well as he’s pitched, he has minor league options and could be the odd man out of the ‘pen when Melky Cabrera comes off the DL later this week.  Definitely a plus-depth arm to stash away in triple-A.  Oh…and after going 13 for 13 in save opportunities for Buffalo, you know he’s ready to handle sticky situations.

Darren Oliver (29.0 IP, 3.10 ERA, 3-1 record, 1.21 WHIP, 23 K’s) – It’s not often a reliever throws less than a hit per inning, limits walks, has a winning record, and a 3.10 ERA yet finds himself pitching in a lesser role than the previous season.  However, with the emergence of Cecil and Loup above Oliver on the depth chart, that’s exactly what happened.  With Perez nipping at Oliver’s heals for innings also, it really wouldn’t surprise me to see Oliver be traded prior to the July 31st deadline.  There isn’t a contending team out there that wouldn’t want him on the roster.  And while it’s doubtful the Jays would get much in return for the 20-year veteran who aims to retire after this season, it would open up room in a crowded bullpen and also allow Oliver to pursue a World Series title – something he hasn’t been able to capture in his 20 years of MLB service.

Esmil Rogers – he is started the year as a reliever, moved to the rotation as a stop gap due to injuries, and now hasn’t looked back.  See Part One in the Mid-Season Review series for notes on Rogers.

Brad Lincoln (21.2 IP, 4.15 ERA, 0-1 record, 1.48 WHIP, 19 K’s) – While Lincoln’s numbers are plenty good enough for many MLB bullpens, they just aren’t good enough for this one.  The return piece in the deal that saw the Jays give up on former number 1 draft pick, Travis Snider, hasn’t lived up to his own 1st round status.  Although he has pitched modestly well, albeit inconsistently with the Jays, with the rise of other arms in the system, he continues to slide down the depth chart.

Mickey Storey, Edgar Gonzalez, Justin Germano, Jeremy Jeffress, and Dave Bush – None of these guys threw more than 8 innings, had an ERA under 7.30, a WHIP under 1.75, or won a game.  All were inning eaters during the early season melt down in the rotation when the Jays were forced to go to the ‘pen after only 2 or 3 innings routinely.  None were a factor in the bullpen’s success and none look to be a factor in the foreseeable future.

So…can the Jays bullpen keep up its torrid pace in the second half?  Probably not.  Can they maintain their status as the top group in the AL (and arguably the MLB)? Most definitely.



Reyes status – who goes down?

The Blue Jays are having Jose Reyes play at least one more game in triple-A.  Whether the team doesn’t want to do anything to break up the superstitions surrounding its franchise-record-tying winning streak or Reyes just needs a few more at bats is a question.

Reyes went 2-5 with 2 singles yesterday for Buffalo.  In six games between triple-A and single-A, he is 8-22 (.364).  Reyes also stole another base yesterday, and he also scored from second on a hit up the middle.  He seems to be running and rounding the bases on the previously sprained ankle just fine.

Alex Anthopoulos has not given an exact date when Reyes will be back with the big club, but hinted that his return might not come until the team travels to Boston on Thursday for a 4-game series.  Anthopoulos said that Reyes is being evaluated day by day and could return at anytime.  But he also mentioned that he might play today in Buffalo and then a couple games in New Hampshire, the Jays double-A team, which is logistically on the route to Boston.

The bigger question than “when will Reyes be back?” is “who leaves the team when Reyes inevitably comes back?”.

While nobody knows for sure, I have a feeling I know what move the Jays are leaning towards.  I also have my own view (big surprise, eh?).

Jays take

Nobody wants to mess with the clubhouse chemistry right now and it appears Munenori Kawasaki is a big part of that.  The Jays are carrying 8 men in the bullpen while the norm is 7.  Kawasaki’s recent heroics and fan chants buy him a few more weeks with the club and the Jays make a move by trying to sneak left-handed Juan Perez through waivers and do not succeed.  Perez and his affordable $380K contract are claimed by a team looking for lefty help in its bullpen.  Kawasaki gets extremely limited playing time with the return of Reyes, plus the crowded infield of Maicer Izturis, Emilio Bonifacio, and Mark DeRosa and is sent to triple-A when Brett Lawrie returns shortly after the allstar break.  Kawasaki gets an honourable call up when the roster expands in September, barring any unforeseen injuries to middle infielders that would bring him up sooner.

My take

Even though Kawasaki is a fan favourite and has shown heroics in his brief stint with the club, there just isn’t enough room on the roster for another middle infielder.  Especially one that has minor league options and can be sent to triple-A with zero risk of being lost on a waiver claim.  Kawasaki was signed as a minor league free agent to provide major league depth should a middle infielder go down with an injury.  He has done this and done it well.  However, he will receive nearly no playing time once Reyes returns and the Jays are committed to Izturis (due to his contract) and to Bonifacio (due to his superior natural skill set) and unfortunately, Kawasaki is the odd man out.  Thoughts of sending a reliever down right before 4 games vs. the Red Sox might not be a great idea.  It would be better to get through that series and the next 4 vs. the Tigers before taking the luxury of the additional arm off the roster.  The rotation has been amazing but it won’t last forever.  With the potent offences of the Red Sox and Tigers coming up, keeping the 8-man bullpen doesn’t seem like a bad idea.  Especially when keeping Kawasaki really only buys the Jays time until Lawrie is back.  Send Kawasaki down when Reyes returns and cut the bullpen to the traditional 7 when Lawrie is healthy.  Who should go from the bullpen?  Dustin McGowan, that’s who.  He is owed $1.5 million this year and another $1.5 million next year.  Then they Jays either pick up a $4 million club option for 2015 or buy him out for $500K.  If you didn’t know McGowan and have an emotional attachment to his never-give-up attitude, you would be happy for the Jays to risk putting the hard-throwing righty through waivers – a pitcher who has had 3, count them, 3 shoulder surgeries.  A guy who nobody expects to get anything out of for the rest of his career.  Anything he does is considered a bonus.  He is the least at risk to get picked up off waivers and should be the guy to go.  He would undoubtably accept a minor league assignment since the Jays organization has been so good to him over the years.  With hard-throwing Neil Wagner essentially doing what the Jays might get from McGowan, but only better, there really isn’t a need for his arm in the ‘pen right now.  The relievers with minor league options aren’t going anywhere.  Wagner and Aaron Loup are too valuable.  If it’s between McGowan and Perez, McGowan has to go.  This isn’t personal.  It’s about putting the best team on the field and trying to win every game.


What a difference a week makes

The Blue Jays were 9 games under .500 when they embarked on the most recent road trip.  They have since won 5 straight and now sit only 5.5 games out of the second wildcard spot.  What a difference a week makes.

Anchored by solid starting pitching and an offence that continues to hit homers, the Jays finally look like the team everybody thought they would be after all the offseason moves.  Now home vs. the Rockies, where I suspect the Jays should take 2 of 3.  Then the real test: 3 vs. the Orioles, 3 vs. the Rays, and 4 vs. the Red Sox.  A disappointing couple weeks could put an end to any playoff hopes.  A successful couple weeks would mean the Jays are back in the thick of a postseason race prior to the allstar game.

With Jose Reyes scheduled to come back later this month (he went 2-2 with a single, triple, 2 walks and 2 stolen bases in his rehab debut this weekend), the offence should only get better.  Also, Brandon Morrow should be back by the end of June.  When healthy, we all know what he is capable of doing.

So the question becomes this: who gets sent down?  With everyone playing at a high level, it’s a good problem to have.  Currently the Jays are carrying 8 men in the bullpen.  I imagine that there will be a move at some point to drop this back down to the traditional 7.  Perhaps when Reyes returns?  But who goes?  My guess is either Juan Perez or Dustin McGowan.  I think Perez does more for the team, but the Jays have a soft spot for McGowan and probably don’t want to risk losing him on waivers if they send him down after being so patient with him during 3 shoulder surgeries.  Unfortunately, Perez might be the odd man out.  It sounds awful to be sending down a guy that is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 10 innings, allowed only 5 hits, recorded 10 K’s, has held opponents to a .152 average, and produced a 0.80 WHIP.  But Perez is a lefty.  And the Jays already have three other lefties in the ‘pen (talk about luxury) in Aaron Loup, Darren Oliver, and Brett Cecil.  But Perez is also out of options and would have to clear waivers.  At $380,000, how could somebody not claim him?  Neil Wagner has options and could be sent down, but the Jays have been keen on using him in clutch situations.  It’s pretty hard to send down a guy who throws 96-98 mph and consistent strikes.

To me, if the Jays are going to really make a run and go for it, McGowan is the odd man out.  I know…I know…  We all want to see him do well.  He continues to fight through adversity and never gives up.  But he also has a contract which pays him $1.5 million this season and another $1.5 million next year.  There is a club option for $4 million in 2015 with a $500,000 buyout.  If anyone has a shot at clearing waivers, it’s a guy who has had three shoulder surgeries and is making that kind of money.  And if he cleared waivers, you have to think he would accept a minor league assignment in triple-A since the Jays organization has been so good to him all these years.

It also makes sense from this standpoint: when Morrow comes back, Esmil Rogers probably gets pumped out of the rotation and back to the ‘pen.  Replacing one righty with another makes sense.  And I’d rather have Rogers than McGowan at this point.

Tough decisions for sure.  It will be interesting to see how GM Alex Anthopoulos handles the next couple weeks.  There are a lot of “good problems” right now with respects to the Jays roster.


People Questioning John Gibbons Moves – April 16, 2013

There is still a bit of a buzz around Blue Jays nation following a move made by manager John Gibbons on April 16th.  Gibbons brought Rajai Davis off the bench to pinch hit for Colby Rasmus – and three days later everyone is still asking “what if”…

Rasmus had been 2-2 with a homer, but was about to face a lefty.  He hasn’t had many at bats vs. lefties this season, but is just 2-10 (.200 avg) with 7 K’s.  Yikes.  Davis, on the other hand, is 5-12 vs. lefties (.417 avg) and only hitting .200 vs. righties.  Seems like a natural move to make in a tie game, right?

But Rasmus has unbelievable power and it’s hard to take a homerun guy – who is the winning run – out of a game.  Also, Rasmus is by far the best defensive CF on the team.  And when Emilio Bonifacio took a bad route to a ball in CF moments later, the media and fans jumped all over Gibbons.

But here’s the more puzzling move (or non-move)…..

Why did Gibbons not bring in Casey Janssen to pitch the 9th in a tie game at home?  When at home you won’t get a save situation in extras, so you might as well throw your best reliever at the opposition in the 9th – your closer – and hope to score in the bottom of the 10th.  Gibbons is starting to make a habit of throwing one-inning guys multiple innings.  It worked when Aaron Loup pitched 3 inning of 9 up, 9 down ball.  It obviously did not work when Steve Delabar pitched (or tried to pitch) 2 innings on April 16th.  I didn’t mind stretching out Loup as much because we had a 4 run lead.  But in a tie….use one-inning guys for one-inning and play for the home half.

Davis or Rasmus late in a tie game vs. a lefty – that move gets questioned either way and frankly I have no problem with either.  If Davis had of got on a stole a base or two, nobody would be saying anything about the swap.  It’s just a move that backfired and those will happen over 162 games to any manager.  It’s the bullpen use that I’m questioning here, which is thought to be a strength of Gibbons.

Overall, I think Gibbons has done a good job managing the early overused bullpen.  But let’s all keep our eyes on whether he starts using our one-inning guys for one inning.



Discussion with Alex Anthopoulos

This morning season ticket holders were invited to dial in and have a Q&A session with Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.  I missed the first 10 minutes of the 45 minute call, but did manage to ask a question,  I explained to Alex that the media and manager John Gibbons are alluding that if Brett Cecil manages to crack the 25-man roster, it would be as a long man out of the bullpen.  My question was this:

With the numbers Cecil has put up vs. lefties, not just last year but throughout his career, and since he hasn’t had much success vs. righties, why haven’t the Blue Jays given Cecil a long, hard look as a lefty specialist?

I also continued to state my opinion that if the Jays do not take him on their 25-man roster, since he is out of options, another club will likely pick him up for nothing, use him as a lefty specialist (as the numbers show he should be used) where he has to potential to excel and have a solid career.

Anthopoulos gave a pretty good answer to this question, although I still disagree with the organization that Cecil is a long reliever.  Anthopoulos said that for the past few years, they’ve gotten three different Cecil’s at Spring Training and never know what to expect.  His weight was up, then it was down.  His velocity was sitting 85-86 mph and this spring his throwing 90-91 consistently.  He has been a fastball/change up guy, a fastball/slider guy, and is now a fastball/curveball guy.  His mechanics have been different each year, also.  Anthopoulos acknowledged the lefty vs. righty splits and said they will continue to monitor them closely.  But because Cecil’s velocity is up, Anthopoulos thinks Cecil will fair better vs. righties this year.  Anthopoulos also said the club needs a guy who can eat some innings and fill the void that Carlos Villanueva held so well the past couple seasons.  Anthopoulos’ hopes that they don’t need a traditional long guy in the ‘pen because the starters are going 7 plus innings per night.  However, over 162 games, he figures there will be a small handful where the starter is roughed up a bit and leaves the game in the 3rd, 4th or 5th.  Anthopoulos went on to talk about Aaron Loup and how they really like him in the lefty specialist role.  He mentioned Casey Janssen closing games and Sergio Santos and Darren Oliver playing set up.  He mentioned that Esmil Rogers and Steve Delabar are great one-inning guys.  But the club is missing a long man and might need Cecil to fill the void – even if his strengths lie elsewhere.

So it looks like if Cecil makes the club (which I really think he should since he’ll be gone for nothing otherwise), he’ll only get into the games with the huge deficits or leads.  Hopefully, for Jays fans, it’s leads.

For what it’s worth, I’d left Jeremy Jeffress be the long guy that is rarely needed, start Loup in triple-A for depth even if he is major league ready (think J.A. Happ), and have Cecil be the lefty specialist.  Here’s why:


vs. left – ERA = 2.81, WHIP = 0.94, opp. avg. = .214

vs. right – ERA = 6.75, WHIP = 1.72, opp. avg. = .319


vs. left – ERA = 2.25, WHIP = 1.11, opp. avg = .186

vs. right – ERA = 5.75, WHIP = 1.41, opp. avg = .282


vs. left – ERA = 2.48, WHIP = 1.00, opp avg. = .224

vs. right – ERA = 4.75, WHIP = 1.42, opp. avg = . 275

Sorry Alex, after 357.2 innings, the numbers don’t lie. 


Blue Jays to Bring Best Team North

There seems to be a change in spirit in the Blue Jays organization.  Both manager John Gibbons and GM Alex Anthopoulos are stating they will bring the best team north following spring training, even if that means losing a player on waivers because he is out of options.

The most notable area where this competition for roster spots is taking place is in the bullpen.  There seems to be a position battle for the second left-handed bullpen spot between Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup.  Loup pitched surprisingly well last season as a rookie posting a 2.64 ERA in 30.2 innings.  Cecil, who struggled as a starter, seemed to find himself a role as a lefty specialist out of the ‘pen – he posted a 2.81 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and a .214 opponents batting average vs. left-handed hitters.  Cecil is out of options and Loup is not.

The other battle seems to be between righties Brad Lincoln and Jeremy Jeffress.  Jeffress is a hard thrower with a solid arm but not a whole lot to show for it so far in his career (4.89 ERA in the majors).  He is out of options.  Lincoln showed success last season with the Pirates but slowed a bit, perhaps due to fatigue late in the season, after coming to the Jays in the trade which sent Travis Snider to Pittsburgh  Lincoln’s career numbers are flashy either (4.78 ERA) but he seemed to put things together last year going 5-2 with a 3.68 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 88 innings.  He has options remaining.

I think all this talk of ‘bringing the best club north’ because we’re all in is more to motivate Jeffress and Cecil.  I agree the Jays are all in.  But with the depth of this bullpen, it makes zero sense to not give Cecil and Jeffress a shot to show what they can do in the first couple months of the season.  Also, if they don’t make the team and are sent down and don’t clear waivers, then the Jays lose valuable depth should someone get injured this year.  Also, with 162 games and a very strong backend of the ‘pen between Steve Delabar, Darren Oliver, Sergio Santos, and Casey Janssen, Jeffress and Cecil can be eased into non-pressure situations if necessary (although I think Cecil will be a star if he’s used properly as a lefty specialist no matter the situation).

So nice try guys.  I know you’re all in this year and very thankful for it.  But Cecil and Jeffress are breaking camp with the Jays unless injured.  You heard it hear first.


You can follow me on twitter @IHRTBJs

Re-thinking the Bullpen

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…