Blue Jays Morning Brew: Educating Mitch Nay and bridging the rotation


Tuesday is an exciting day for Blue Jays fans, as we get our first official taste of exhibition baseball. After the team held their annual intersquad game yesterday (and recorded a win), Toronto will kick off their Grapefruit League action with a 1:07pm tilt with the Pittsburgh Pirates in Dunedin.

For those with Rogers Sportsnet, or a subscription to, the game will be broadcast live. It will also be available to listen for free via and Pittsburgh’s KDKA. With Russell Martin making his first appearance against his former club, it promises to have some story-lines to follow right out of the gate.

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Speaking of story-lines, one of the ongoing stories this spring will be the starting rotation, and how the back-end of it shapes out. Mike Petriello of FanGraphs has an interesting look at the Blue Jays’ prospective rotation, noting that the group may have an average age of 28, but it skews either very young or very old, especially if the group includes one of Aaron Sanchez or Daniel Norris. Add 37-year-old Johan Santana into the mix later in April, and it creates quite the interesting dynamic.

Speaking of Sanchez and the rotation, that has been a huge hot topic issue all winter and now into the spring. A lot of that has centered around whether he better serves the Blue Jays out of the bullpen, which is a decided weakness at this stage. That continues to rear its head nearly daily, with Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail taking a run at it on Monday. In it, MacLeod really notes the pull that the Blue Jays are struggling with in both directions, but the fact that the team has alternatives in the rotation (Norris and Marco Estrada) may be the difference maker in the decision.

More youth was in the news as well, with Kiley McDaniel doing some legwork on the international spending pools, a topic we discussed here last week. In the piece, McDaniel notes that the earlier projections of the Blue Jays inking Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are still accurate, but the cost will likely be higher than the $3.2 million range previously discussed and could be well over $4 million. That means the Blue Jays will be over the cap, and could go all-in on international spending this year in order to maximize the talent they get in return.

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Of course, the Blue Jays do have some prospects already in the system with some high ceilings. One of those is third baseman Mitch Nay, who Gregor Chisholm of reports is getting some special instruction this spring. Former Blue Jays third baseman Scott Rolen is in camp to work with Nay on his fielding at the hot corner, something the Blue Jays are hoping will allow him to stay there long-term. With Nay’s bat potential, we could be looking at a decision in the coming years with Josh Donaldson at third, so this makes total sense in terms of grooming his potential replacement (or trade bait).

If you float around the Blue Jays social media accounts as much as we do, you’ve noticed the new motto “Come Together” displayed nearly everywhere. Unfortunately, as Andrew Stoeten pointed out yesterday, that mantra is not proprietary to the Blue Jays, as it is also used by a Sexual Education and HIV charity. Can we say awkward?

And if you missed anything from the Jays Journal team recently, here are some great reads:

Do the Blue Jays have a Bench Crisis? – Jim Scott

Will the 2015 defense be improved? – Eric Elliott

Forecasting the Buffalo Bisons starting rotation – Ryan Mueller

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