The bull pen picture just got a little clearer for the Jays, as they returned RP Zechry Zinicola to the Nationals yesterday. The total cost to the Jays for assessing him winds up to $25,000 and he’ll most likely begin the year in AAA Syracuse now that he’s back with the Nats.
The remaining list of pen candidates includes: Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, one of Dana Eveland or Brian Tallet (whichever doesn’t earn the #5 spot in the rotation), Jeremy Accardo, Shawn Camp, Casey Janssen, Jesse Carlson (hurt knee), Josh Roenicke, Dustin McGowan (who may begin the year on the DL but has no options remaining) and Merkin Valdez. I placed them in what I consider to be the likeliness that they’ll earn a spot. If we decide to include the fact that Jason Frasor is being shopped and will likely not be with the Jays when the season begins, the 7 who are likely to make up the pen in April (in my opinion) are:
1 – Kevin Gregg, 2 – Scott Downs, 3 – Brian Tallet, 4 – Jeremy Accardo, 5 – Shawn Camp, 6 – Casey Janssen, and 7 – Merkin Valdez.
McGowan should begin the year on the DL, and Jesse Carlson may join him due to knee issues. Josh Roenicke will head back to AAA and gather more experience. That’s not a bad looking pen. It’s not the best, but it works. If Dustin returns and either winds up taking Eveland’s spot in the rotation or is added to the pen, he’ll be a major improvement to the pitching staff. After that we still have to consider Jesse Litsch‘s appearance in July or August, as well as the push that is likely to come from Josh Roenicke, Tim Collins, and Daniel Farquhar. All things considered, the pen looks healthy.