Blue Jays Morning Brew: Podcast Ep. 65, Gibbons, rotation
With 12 short days until Blue Jays opening day we round up the links you need on this Tuesday morning, including the latest Jays Nest Podcast!
Podcast Ep. 65 – The Jays Nest Podcast is back for your Tuesday listening pleasure. With Shaun Doyle back from vacation and me back from Blue Jays minor league camp in Dunedin our own version of Spring
Eating Training is all wrapped up, so we’re back to “normal” and have some big plans for the season ahead.
You can subscribe to the podcast just in time for the season HERE on iTunes and iOS or HERE for Stitcher.
A busy week of Blue Jays news sees us talking Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Aaron Sanchez, John Gibbons, the fourth outfield spot, and the beaten-to-death story of Adam LaRoche in Chicago.
As always, you can interact with the show on Twitter with any questions or comments. Find Shaun @JaysFromCouch and me @KeeganMatheson.
Gibbons contract changes – Over at BP Toronto, Ewan Ross looks at some very important comments made by president Mark Shapiro on Sunday night while speaking with Steve Phillips on Sirius XM’s MLB Network Spring Training Tour. Phillips asked Shapiro about manager John Gibbons and the rolling clause in his contract.
“No, we’ve already addressed that. That’s already come out of his contract. That’s the short answer, but not taking anything away from what it was. I think every situation is different. Gibby has been unbelievable, I love being around him, I can see why players trust and respect him. He’s an extremely consistent human being, with great values and morals. And really has set a nice tone here. He’s obviously a good decision maker, and handles himself great in pressure situations.”
One has to assume that there was some “give” involved in this “take” from Gibbons, but it does leave him in a less certain spot. Especially if the club stumbles out of the gate.
UPDATE: On Monday evening, Steve Phillips of MLB Network Radio reported that John Gibbons is signed through 2016-17 with a bump in pay, but has no rolling clause for 2018.
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Delabar update – Reliever Steve Delabar still appears to be on the outside looking in this spring, but he recently expressed his desire to stay with the team when speaking with Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun. Manager John Gibbons also had some positive thoughts on the right-hander, who is out of options as camp nears it’s end.
“What I’ve seen this spring, he’s pitching more,” Gibbons added. “In the past when he had his troubles, he was scattering his fastball a little bit, now he’s back to locating it better. And the split’s good. The split kind of deserted him on and off a little bit the last couple of years. And just judging him from the spring, he kind of looks like the old guy.”
Betting on Russell – At Sportsnet, Nick Ashbourne looks at the critical years upcoming on Russell Martin’s deal. Given Martin’s age and the money owed to him, the organization is really betting that he will buck the aging trends for his position. Especially with little catching depth coming up behind him (we still believe in you, Healthy Max Pentecost).
“After a year in which catchers aged 32-36 hit .229/.304/.315 and accumulated only 2.8 WAR between them,” Ashbourne writes, “the team locked Martin up for those seasons with the largest free-agent contract in franchise history.”
Next: The broken logic of the Sanchez-to-bullpen argument
The Tampa Bay model and TTOP – Make a fresh pot of coffee, tell the boss you’ll be a little late, and bite into this great piece from Kyle Matte over at BP Toronto.
Kyle looks at how the Tampa Bay Rays handle their pitching staff and TTOP, the Times Through the Order Penalty. This examines, essentially, how opposing hitters perform better in each successive time through the order against the same starting pitcher. Especially the third.
This could become even more important for a Blue Jays rotation in which only Marcus Stroman throws more than three pitches over 10% of the time. This limited pitch diversity produces quick familiarity for opponents, especially when facing a predominantly two-pitch arm like Aaron Sanchez or J.A. Happ.