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.
The Blue Jays designated outfielder Casper Wells for assignment yesterday. The Jays made the move to make room on the 25-man roster for 39-year-old pitcher, Ramon Ortiz, who has been called up from triple-A. The Jays had claimed Wells off waivers from the Mariners last Wednesday, after the Ms designated him for assignment on March 31st. Wells is out of options, so he’ll need to clear waivers before being sent to the minors. Because he can play all three outfield positions and has had some success hitting lefties (.262 avg, .302 obp, .396 slg in his career), I imagine someone will claim him and his stint as a Blue Jay will be finished before he ever plays a game.
With this move, Ortiz will likely serve as the long man out of the bullpen. Ortiz has played 11 major league seasons and posted an 86-84 record with a career 4.93 ERA. While this is nothing to get too excited about, he played lasts season in triple-A and posted a 13-6 record with a 3.45 ERA over 169.1 innings.
I like the move of bringing long guy to the ‘pen and Ortiz can certainly eat some innings if necessary. While it’s strange to claim Wells and let him go, I’m hoping the Jays are thinking that they now have too much outfield depth because Jose Bautista is moving back to right field from third base with the return of Brett Lawrie.
The Jays toyed with the idea of having Lawrie play 2B, Bautista play 3B, and have Wells/Emilio Bonifacio/Rajai Davis fill in RF. I hated this idea. There is no sense having so many guys play out of their nature, primary positions if you don’t need them to do so. Also, I know Bonifacio has had his struggles early at 2B but I really feel with time, he will develop into a solid 2B.
Let’s hope we keep Bautista’s cannon arm in RF…..
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