While fans clambered for a proven closer nearly all winter long, the Toronto Blue Jays apparently felt they had the role already taken care of with an internal candidate. And if Brett Cecil has anything to say on the matter, he’ll happily inherit the mantle from Casey Janssen.
Speaking to MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the bespeckled lefty made it known that he has full intention of being the team’s next closer and that he has the stuff to succeed in the position.
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"“It’s just a matter of who they want to do it, and obviously that’s not up to me. … I’m not patting myself on the back, but I think I’ve proven over the last two years that I can handle it. It’s just a matter of who they want.” – Brett Cecil (H/T Gregor Chisholm)"
If we’re considering body of work, Brett Cecil certainly has the inside track. Since converting to a reliever full-time in 2013, the 28-year-old has been outstanding. In 126 appearances, Cecil is 7-4 with a 2.76 ERA, a 2.63 FIP, and an 11.5 K/9 ratio over 114 innings of work. That included an All-Star selection in 2013 and was followed by a season that was arguably better.
But to be a closer, there is a certain mindset that needs to come into play, a feeling that one is untouchable even in the toughest of situations. To that matter, Brett Cecil has excelled. In 2014, Cecil showed that when the situation was more dire, he was more dialed in.
Moreover, Cecil’s splits against left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters would indicate that he would be comfortable in any situation. In fact, Cecil profiled much stronger against right-handed hitters in 2014 than against like-handed hitters.
However, those splits seem to be a one-year anomaly. His 2013 splits were actually much closer, with Cecil leaning toward heaving dominance against left-handed hitters.
Of course, John Gibbons may choose to simply use whichever reliever is the most effective depending on the situation, rotating Cecil, Aaron Sanchez, or Aaron Loup based on the match-ups. However, if the Blue Jays choose to observe a traditional closer role, Brett Cecil certainly has earned the first crack at the title.