Steve Delabar optioned in surprise move


The Toronto Blue Jays kicked off Thursday with a move that very few saw coming, optioning relief pitcher Steve Delabar to the Minor League camp.  After a down season in 2014 that followed an All Star appearance the year prior, Delabar appeared to have regained his velocity this Spring and was poised to be a critical piece of the Blue Jays bullpen.

Delabar had appeared in 7.0 innings this Spring, allowing 7 hits but striking out 9 batters compared to just one walk.  This sample size can’t be given much weight, but Delabar consistently passed the eye test on the mound, where he looked to be bigger, stronger and healthier.  According to several members of the media who are with the Blue Jays right now, Delabar was equally surprised by the move, and he was none too pleased.

Of course, it’s a good thing that Delabar is upset by this.  One can only hope that his fire leads him in the direction of success, however, and does not cause a rift between him and the Jays’ management team.  Delabar was reportedly not given a hard reason for his optioning, and has yet to be told what specifics the Blue Jays would like him to work on.

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At a glance, the “options” game appears to be at play here.  With pitchers such as Kyle Drabek on the roster who are still battling for a bullpen spot, but are out of options, the Blue Jays may be seeking flexibility.  This isn’t a new concept with the Blue Jays, and I understand the reasoning that works behind that strategy, but taking anything other than your best 25 players North seems highly counterintuitive.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about Delabar’s great importance to the makeup of this Blue Jays bullpen.  His ability to step into a late-inning role would allow the dominos to fall comfortably through the other six spots, but now his role will have a different impact entirely.  Charge up the portable DVD players, because we’re bringing some kids North.

Miguel Castro already seemed to be a lock in the Blue Jays pen after opening eyes around the league this Spring, but Delabar’s absence now leaves room for Roberto Osuna to step in and seize a job.  Not only are the two rookies extremely close, but they’re also extremely talented.

This isn’t the last we see of Delabar by any means, and he could very make an appearance before the calendar turns to May.  Regardless, this is a surprising move by the Blue Jays, as their bullpen continues to be one of the most complex storylines in all of baseball.

Next: Daniel Norris changes it up

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