Blue Jays take Brett Cecil out of closer role, give it to ???


The closer role in baseball is often considered overrated, but nonetheless, it is one that you need someone with nerves of steel to occupy. It was obvious that the Toronto Blue Jays no longer felt that Brett Cecil carried that presence into the role.

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Blue Jays manager told the collective media, including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, that Cecil would have the closer tag removed from his resume. This is the second time Cecil has lost the job he long coveted, also being removed from the role in April when the team felt his velocity wasn’t up to par.

The timing of the decision is of no surprise. Cecil has been dreadful in June, allowing 10 earned runs on eight hits and five walks over his 7.2 innings of work this month. While he’s struck out nine in the process, it was obvious that hitters had dialed in on Cecil and the results were a blown save and two losses in June.

As per Gibbons, the Blue Jays will move Cecil back in the bullpen and give him a chance to find his rhythm again. Perhaps that will include finding how he’s tipping his pitches, something Cecil alluded to in a conversation with Gregor Chisholm of earlier this week. That admission may be what finally convinced Toronto that a move was needed.

Or perhaps it was the performance of rookie Roberto Osuna on Monday night.

The right-hander struck out five and induced 11 swinging strikes during a two inning save against the Rays. While Gibbons was slow in naming Osuna the closer, his 2.12 ERA, 2.11 FIP, 10.59 K/9 ratio, and .172 batting average against make him the most eligible candidate for the job. It may be a steep responsibility to ask of a rookie, but Osuna has thrived under pressure this season and he’s shown more poise than the typical 20-year-old rookie would.

Interestingly enough, if the Blue Jays do go in the direction of Osuna, it would be the second time they’ve replaced Cecil this season with a 20-year-old rookie. Of course, Miguel Castro initially looked great in the role as well, but his control got iffy and as a result, batters started reaching him for harder contact. Castro was eventually optioned to Triple-A to get more work, a fate the Blue Jays are hoping will not befall Osuna.

There is also the possibility that Toronto could make a move. They’ve been tied to both Jonathan Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez in the past few weeks, with the latter making much more sense given the Blue Jays lack of desire to part with premium prospects and the lack of financial flexibility. Of course, one could also opine that the Blue Jays may not need a prototypical closer given their lack of save opportunities, and as a result could instead push for a high-leverage reliever without the closer pedigree.

Regardless, the role no longer belongs to Brett Cecil and someone else needs to step up and claim it for the time being.

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