Wednesday 14 August 2013

The Continued Losses of a Lost Season

We're beginning to see the gruesome effects of the nasty combination of raining and pouring here.  Josh Johnson is on the DL, and, at least to some, is becoming less and less likely to receive a qualifying offer from the Jays in the offseason, which is akin to saying that the entire Josh Johnson experiment went about as poorly as possible, given the list of possibilities presented at the start of the year.

"He might be a Cy Young candidate," we said.  "We might extend him," we said.  "At worst, he'll walk in free agency and we'll get a draft pick for him," we said.  I still kind of think that he's going to get a qualifying offer, especially when you consider the free agent starters out there, and there are certainly worse things in the world than having a guy with a career 3.40 ERA, a career 3.32 FIP, a career 8.3 k/9... you can see where this going... on a 1-year deal. Josh Johnson has been a really good pitcher his entire career, except for that year that he wasn't. Which, granted, is this year, which is his most recent year, and thus a very important year to use as evidence from which to form opinions.  I'm getting a little off topic here, but basically, 1 year, $13.8MM or whatever for a guy who has been a really good pitcher throughout his career isn't a disaster.  That's probably a story for another day.

Melky Cabrera hasn't been very good either.  He's been hurt a lot, with those wonky legs holding him back quite a bit, both offensively and defensively.  Even with tempered expectations, he's been a pretty big disappointment.

Brandon Morrow is down and out, and has been for a while now.  Even when he was around, things weren't going well.  He might not be back this year.  He was a borderline ace last year while he was around, and was the hot choice for breakout pitcher of the year.  That went to shit too.

Even the bright spots... Jose Reyes was the only person hitting over the first few weeks of the year, but he got hurt and missed multiple months.

Now we're learning that Colby Rasmus, arguably the best Blue Jay in 2013, will probably miss 15 days or more.  It doesn't matter quite so much, now that the season is definitely over, but it would certainly be nice to see him get as many plate appearances as possible while he's having a great year.  This injury will ultimately save the club a bit of money this offseason (arbitration, counting stats, etc.), but meh.

All these injuries means that Alex Anthopoulos is lefting searching around for people to fill in.  It was once automatic that any outfielder going down would mean that Anthony Gose comes up to fill in.  Lately, the extra roster spot essentially needs to go to a pitcher, since none of the starters can get out of the 5th inning, but beyond that, Gose is hitting like .230 in AAA.

Enter Kevin Pillar.   The 24-year old was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft, and has responded by hitting .321/.366/.466 over his minor league career, including .299/.341/.499 in AAA over 52 games.  He's only played 52 games in AAA because he spent the first half of the season dominating AA.

Any and all scouting reports I've ever seen would suggest that he's nothing overly special-- a lot of Reed Johnson comparisons, which-- I mean, Reed Johnson has been in the league for 11 years, so he's got to be doing something right... .283/.340/.410 is certainly below average for a corner outfielder, but is useful regardless, especially in a situation like this one, where the alternative is to have fucking Emilio Bonifacio in there everyday.

I guess something like a Pillar callup is the only exciting thing to look for at this juncture of the year.  Most teams who are really terrible and totally out of it at this time tend to have some really nice prospects built up that get September callups.  Marcus Stroman is the only other person that I can think of who might be a candidate for something like that, and even then, I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense to add him to the 40-man and start the service clock already.  Still, it would certainly be a lot more exciting than watching Thad Weber or Chien-Ming Wang run out there.

And Christ knows we need something to be excited about.  Esmil Rogers will start against Boston tonight.

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