As most Jays fans know by now, the Jays have been blown out by the Rays for the second straight game, putting a damper on a time that should be focused on the great draft the Jays had. The hitting has been woeful, but you have to hand it to both Jeff Niemann and David Price who pitched some of the better games of the season against the Jays. This is what made losing those tight games due to the bull pen tough, the fact that we knew there would be some stretches that had the Jays losing some really lop-sided games to their division rivals. As much as the Rays pitching was on and the Jays hitting was off, the Rays benefited even more from their hot hitters who found their groves against Shaun Marcum and Brian Tallet. This is where the Jays are beginning to make some changes while they hope that their offense gets on a roll and that simply returning Travis Snider to the mix down the road gives them the offensive boost they need.
The rotation is about to go through some changes throughout the organization, from LoA to MLB. As signings are completed and some short season pitchers like Daniel Webb and Drew Hutchison begin to pitch in games, the Jays will be making a multitude of changes at all levels. Some newly drafted and signed pitchers will get a chance to prove themselves and pitchers like Henderson Alvarez, Chad Jenkins, and Kyle Drabek could be getting the promotions they deserve. Those who have been simply lagging behind at the lower levels will be pushed by the fact that they know the Jays have added a massive influx of arms that are going to demand some playing time.They’re surely looking over their shoulders, dreading any talk of a meeting with the managerial staff. That, my friends, is what we call motivation to perform and it may be Alex Anthopolous’s greatest move during this draft. He has forced pitchers to wonder if they’ll be the one losing their job this season or next.
The impact will be felt all the way to the Jays. Jesse Litsch is the first injured pitcher to return and will take Brian Tallet‘s spot in the rotation, a move that I am a huge fan of. I love Tallet’s presence in the pen and think Litsch has the potential to be a workhorse. If he displays a healthy arm, Litsch may become trade bait in order to make room for Marc Rzepczynski who has been hot over his latest starts and is getting his stuff back up to par. Scott Richmond is also getting ready for his rehab assignment, and both Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart have shown enough stuff to push the Jays to promote them to AAA. Once that happens, decisions will have to be made and it may all depend on the next 2-3 week performance of the Jays.
If the the Jays can be above .500 over that span, chances are they will make minimal moves. If they are well below .500 over that span, we can expect Alex Anthopolous to do some heavy shopping and perhaps shock fans with 1 or 2 moves that are unexpected. I can’t help but notice how crowded the rotation is getting and how Alex Anthopolous can use some of these tools to set the Jays up for a very productive 2011 and beyond. Who it will be, if anyone, remains a mystery, but I know Marc Rzepczynski and Kyle Drabek are not going to want to remain in the minors forever, so something’s gotta give!
For now I’ll just hope that they pull out a win in this series with Brett Cecil leading the way and avoid a sweep.