Blue Jays Odds & Ends: Roster Moves, Standings & More!
With an off day on Thursday, I thought I’d take a bit of time to check in on some odds and ends in Blue Jays Land. After watching Josh Donaldson‘s performances in the series against the White Sox, it is easy to feel disappointed with not sweeping Chicago out of Toronto. The highs of a walk off and a game tying home run can do that to you. But, winning 2 out of 3 is not bad. I’ll take that every series. In moving on, there are a few things of note that are worth discussing. Here we go!
The Blue Jays made a roster move on Thursday, sending Scott Copeland down to AAA Buffalo.
Really, this doesn’t come as a surprise. He’d only appeared in a grand total of 2 games for 3 innings. In those 3 innings, he walked 2 and gave up to hits. Granted, manager John Gibbons didn’t really give him much opportunity to do any more than that. Already, it would appear that Copeland’s big league career is shaping up to be Chad Jenkins-esque with trips back and forth to the minors. On May 2, Copeland was called up only to be sent down 2 days later. Then, on May 18, he was summoned back to Toronto. In the 10 days he spent up here this time, he never saw game action. If they’re not going to use him, then they are better off sending him down.
Toronto Blue Jays
But, this brings up an interesting line of questioning: On a team that is somewhat desperate for arms, why call up a bullpen arm and never use it? Isn’t that a waste? Why not call up an arm you’re actually going to benefit from? But, the question that I really want to look at is the apparent yo-yoing of young pitching talent.
Some will say that the Blue Jays never seem to know how to handle young pitching talent. Giving Copeland the Jenkins treatment could be seen as an example of that. The up and down shuffling could hamper (to some extent) a pitcher’s development. When you bring a guy up, you want him to stick. But, there seems to be a distinction here. If he is a “blue chip”, untouchable like Aaron Sanchez or Daniel Norris, the club will stick with the plan of (for lack of a better term) ‘proper development’. If the player is on the fringe, they will use him as needed.
This is not a criticism, by any means. But, as Copeland has thus far been up and down twice in less than a month, it would appear that this is playing out. The current bullpen situation may dictate that some guys will have their fate decided by current goings on rather than a long term plan for long term success. Copeland may be a victim of that.
With Copeland being sent down, there will be a corresponding roster move announced. As always, we’ll keep you posted on that front. But, it does bring up some interesting ideas. One of whom is Dioner Navarro. Currently, he’s on rehab assignment in Buffalo. But, he’ll be set to return shortly. This will have an interesting effect on the current roster, given its state. There seems to be little room for a DH until Jose Bautista can hit the field. And, would the Blue Jays carry 3 catchers? Josh Thole would surely be redundant.
Maicer Izturis had begun his road back to the big league club after missing a suspicious amount of time with a groin injury. But, then he hurt his shoulder diving for a ball while playing for Dunedin. Hearing a “pop” in your shoulder is not a good thing. So, he’ll be out for a while. This is significant because the Blue Jays just had to use Russell Martin at second base because Steve Tolleson tweaked something and was not game ready.
All of this has me thinking that the corresponding roster move could be an infielder. Or, it could be Navarro and Thole goes down. Or, they keep Thole and DH Navarro while Bautista rests his shoulder. Or…ugh…I’ve gone cross eyed. I’m also leaning toward an infielder because of the slight turn the rotation has taken. If Copeland wasn’t being used out of the ‘pen, why bring up an arm to replace him? Why not just start using him more?
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Turning our attention to the AL East standings, we see something very interesting, in particular for the “doom and gloom” fans. May has been a brutal month. The Blue Jays ended April 11-12 and 2.5 games back of the AL East lead. Since then, they’ve gone 11-14. It has been painful to watch at times. The road trip through Baltimore and Houston were particularly difficult times. This year’s May has been quite the opposite from last year’s. It has been awful with the club finding all sorts of ways to lose. And, yet, they find themselves (as of Thursday evening) at 22-27 and only 4 games back of the first place New York Yankees. If this were late August, we’d be somewhat excited that they are so close. Of course, we’d be more excited if they were actually IN first place at that point. But, 4 games is not too big a deficit.
As well, the Blue Jays are 6.5 games back of the Wild Card spot. What that tells me is that they have a better chance (right now) of making up ground in a weak AL East than they do of gaining on the rest of the American League. This division is ripe for the picking. Now, a lot can happen still. There are two whole months to go before the Trade Deadline (the first one). But, 4 games out is pretty good considering the terrible month we’ve just watched play out.
I would be very interested in hearing your comments on any or all of the above. Feel free to leave your thoughts below. Also, don’t forget, our 21st episode of Jays’ Nest is coming up. Tune in to our LIVE Google Hangout on Saturday morning, 9amET. We’ve got lots to talk about. You can send in questions for our show to email@example.com or @JaysNestPodcast.