So we've had a day or so to let this one digest. What's coming out on the other end?
First, and probably most importantly, JA Happ was sharp today against Tampa, in their 6-1 win. Happ entered today with a 1.89 ERA over 6 spring appearances, and only gave up a single run over 4.2 innings. Colby Rasmus hit a grand slam in that particular game as well.
Alex Anthopoulos spoke with the media yesterday about the Romero demotion. The money quote, if there's one at all, was at the end-- "he definitely took a step forward today; he just needs a bit more time." I assume that's speaking about the mechanical adjustments made last week, but you never can tell with this guy. Anthopoulos was also on the FAN590, presumably discussing the same thing, but I've yet to listen to that.
Romero being sent down kinda sorta opened up a spot on the 25-man roster, if you squint. I say that mostly because Brett Lawrie's injury was the real catalyst in that, but also because Brett Cecil is one of the benefactors of the extra room. Assuming JA Happ was never going to be a member of the bullpen, Romero's demotion doesn't really matter either way here, but Happ being in the rotation may have theoretically opened up a spot for whichever of Brett Cecil and Jeremy Jeffress wouldn't have made the opening day roster. As it stands, both Cecil and Jeffress are going to make it, at least for now, as the Jays will go with an 8-man bullpen to start the year. More from Gregor. I think it's going to take some getting used to, seeing Cecil on the big club, with Romero in the minors. Of course, if you listened to Keith Law's new podcast, Behind the Dish, you'd know that 8-man bullpens don't sit well with him. I'm fairly confident that this will only last until Lawrie returns, at which point one of Jeffress or Cecil will be traded or outrighted and everything will return to normal.
For the record, we're going to be going with the following in an order determined by who I think of first: Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson, Morrow, Happ, Santos, Janssen, Oliver, Cecil, Jeffress, Delabar, Rogers, and Loup. The Offensive side of things will feature Bautista, Reyes, Edwin, Lind, Cabrera, Izturis, Bonifacio, Rasmus, Arencibia, Blanco, Derosa, and Davis, until Brett Lawrie returns. More on that in an hour or so, in a new post that's coming.
Elsewhere, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan examines RA Dickey, and his approach when pitching against other pitchers. Sort of moot now, given Dickey's shift to AL baseball, but, much like AA, there's a money quote at the bottom. Some quick context: Dickey threw a bunch of 80MPH fastballs to batting pitchers, striking them out just 17% of the time, vs. the league average of 38%. As an above-average pitcher, with average or above-average strikeout abilities, this is peculiar.
In that regard, this post doesn’t mean much of anything. It’s strictly a look back at a curious phenomenon. But if there are people out there who think Dickey is due for a rough adjustment to the AL since he won’t get to feast on pitchers, well, about that. It should be less of a factor than you might think.