Even With Team Success; Bullpen Changes Ahead For The Blue Jays

Jun 12, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Neil Wagner (45) throws during the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

One of the bright spots for the Blue Jays all season and especially during this winning streak has been the play of the Bullpen. Whether its been an 18 inning game where we need more then 9 innings of relief, or just one more out to escape with a victory; this area of the team has done their job.

Even with this success the Blue Jays brass will soon have to make some tough decisions about the teams bullpen going fowrard.

• How long can the team carry 8 relievers?

• Do we have space for LHP Luis Perez and Brad Lincoln when the 4 LHP relievers we have are playing this well?

• Will Sergio Santos have a spot on the team when he is ready?

• When JA Happ and Brandon Morrow are back, how does Esmil Rogers fit in to the Bullpen?

• 2012 1st Round pick Marcus Stroman should be ready to contribute by August, should they keep him in the minors?

• Should the Blue Jays trade some of this talent? If so, who?

To help answer these questions, lets have a quick look at how the boys currently in the the Bullpen are playing(as of June 19 2013);

The Righties

Casey Janssen
• 15 Saves
• 2.38 ERA
• 22.2 Innings pitched
• 22 Strike outs

Casey has been one of, it not the most consistent force out of our pen. As the longest tenored Blue Jay and “closer” of the staff he has showed pin point control and calm in tight situations which makes him one of, if not the most valuable reliever in the Blue Jays Bullpen

Steve Delabar

• ERA 180
• 35 Innings Pitched
• 44 Strike Outs
• 20 BB

Hard throwing right hander who has played big in big moments. Steve has had great success striking out batters with his swing and miss stuff. He needs to continue to work on lowering his walk rate to reach the next tier of reliever success.

Neil Wagner

• 0.96 ERA
• 9.1 Innings Pitched
• 6 Strike Outs
• 3 BB

Throws hard and has hit the strike zone well. He is a great option to throw out there after a soft pitcher like RA Dickey and Mark Buehrle

Dustin McGowan
• 3.85 ERA
• 2.1 Innings pitched
• 2 Strike outs
• 2 BB

It is early to condemn him, but Dustin has not found his control yet. It has been nice to have him back out there with the team but is a likely candidate to be demoted at this point.

Lefties

Aaron Loup
• 36 Innings Pitched
• 2.00 ERA
• 27 Strike Outs
• 5 BB

Aaron is a smart lefty who has shown both control and durability. His ability to more multiple innings makes him an attractive option to keep up with the team.

Brett Cecil
• 36 Innings Pitched
• 1.50 ERA
• 40 Strike Outs
• 10 BB

People could go back and forth on who has been our best reliever, and you if said Brett Cecil, you would have a good case. He has been like a man possessed when it comes to attacking the strike zone. His numbers above, mixed with the fact he can pitch a couple innings in a game when needed makes him the pleasant surprise of the season.

Darren Oliver
• 20 Innings Pitched
• 2.70 ERA
• 12 Strike Outs
• 7 BB

This will be unpopular but if there were to be a member of the pen to be optioned I hope it would be Oliver. Once Rogers, Perez, or Santos are ready or get sent to the Pen Darren would make a good choice as he hasnt played as well as the other LHP and he doesnt have the multi inning ability of a Cecil or Loup, or the power the Perez .

Juan Perez
• 10 Innings Pitched
• 0 ERA
• 10 Strike Outs
• 3 BB

The 10 innings of work have been fun to watch. I am still unsure if he will have the staying power of a Cecil or Loup but as long as he keep throwing strikes like he has been doing he will make the decision to send him down allot harder.

• How long can the team carry 8 relievers?
For the next week or so I see the team keeping 8 relievers. What will be tough is when Jose Reyes is ready. Do they send down a position player or one of their 8 bullpen members? The logical choice would be to send down Munenori Kawasaki right? But even with the smile of Reyes, the team might miss that energy.

• Do we have space for LHP Luis Perez and Brad Lincoln when the 4 LHP relievers we have are playing this well?
Lucky for the AA, the decision on Perez can wait a little while as he has had a setback in his recovery. Brad Lincoln is an interesting player. Love to see him up here but he is no upgrade over the 4 lefties we have going at the moment.

• Will Sergio Santos have a spot on the team when he is ready?
Do I think Santos deserves a shot in our pen when ready? Not over our current relievers. Good news for this that disagree with me is that I highly doubt AA will let him sit in the minors when ready. The Jays brought him in because of what they believe he can do when healthy.

• When JA Happ and Brandon Morrow are back, how does Esmil Rogers fit in to the Bullpen?
Solution: Have JA Happ work from the pen in long relief if Rogers keeps up his stellar play. This situation is still far off so many things can and will happen before this decision is made.

• 2012 1st Round pick Marcus Stroman should be ready to contribute by August, should they keep him in the minor?
I know when he was drafted Marcus was projected to be someone who could contribute to a team bullpen right away. I think the team will keep him in the minors working on his game. Why start his free agency clock this year when we have pitchers carving hitters up?

• Should the blue Jays trade some of this talent? If so, who?
With all of our relievers and started coming back I would, but only the right player and for the right price. No player should be untradeable but it would take a big package to take a Cecil or Jansen away from this team. More likely the Jays should trade a player like Oliver and recoup assets while replacing him with young, effective and controllable talent.

Topics: Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil, Casey Janssen, Darren Oliver, Dustin McGowan, Juan Perez, Neil Wagner, Perez, Steve Delabar, Toronto Blue Jays, Wagner

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  • Justin Jay

    I think giving Juan Perez more of a look first would be wise, instead of just getting Oliver loose. He’s also a veteran presence in the clubhouse, like DeRosa, and often that goes unappreciated.

    Until Lincoln shows more consistency, he needs to stay in the minors. Luis Perez will probably stay there as well for now.

    After hearing about how Alex Cobb is responding since getting hit in the head like Happ and Brandon McCarthy having a seizure that was directly related to his incident, it would probably be better to let Happ take as much time as possible. If Rogers starts to struggle, maybe it would be worth considering Happ, but as nuts as this may sound, if Romero looks ready, he might be worth considering first. Not many pitchers have come back the same after getting plunked in the melon.

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