Toronto Blue Jays have found themselves in a spring training bind

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Patrick Flynn



(ISN) – DUNEDIN – The Toronto Blue Jays have found themselves in aSpring Training bind after Marcus Stroman, arguably the best Blue Jays pitcher went down with a season ending injury a week ago. Aaron Sanchez moved into the starting rotation but the biggest question coming into Spring Training was wether Sanchez would be the closer or in the rotation. Brett Cecil was supposed to be the setup man for Sanchez, he would pitch the seventh and/or eighth inning in case of emergency, Cecil was a great backup option to be the closer and now with Sanchez in the rotation, Cecil will most likely start the season in the closer roll.

The Blue Jays are now going to need more bullpen depth to help setup Cecil. Miguel Castro, who is only twenty, has been pitching great so far this spring and the Jays would like to bring him north to help in the bullpen. Castro has never pitched above A-ball however .The six foot five one hundred ninety pound hard throwing right hander is one of the best prospects the Jays have in their system. It looks like the Jays are desperate to bring him up which is a big problem. A twenty year old shouldn’t be rushed to the majors, it doesn’t matter that he’s played great this Spring because he’s not really facing the best talent out there. The talent he’s seen so far in Spring Training is comparable to Triple-A calibre. Castro should build up confidence by mowing down guys in double-A or even triple-A.

 I don’t think that he’s ready for the the majors just yet but this is spring training afterall. With that being said, I think it would be great to see him later this season in Toronto, but let’s give him time to cruise for a few months.

The other twenty year old pitcher who has been successful this Spring is Roberto Osuna, he and Castro have developed a good friendship they’ve hung out together and opted to travel with the team in order to study opposing batters. As well, Osuna has served as Castro’s translator throughout the spring. When Osuna was only sixteen, he played professionally in Mexico, knowing this I would feel more comfortable with him going straight to the majors but Castro is the better pitcher and the Jays seem to have their hearts set on him.

So the Blue Jays will presumably take Osuna along with Castro not only to help out in the pen but to help with Castro’s English,this creates another problem for the Jays because now they have thirteen pitchers. They are going to need an extra bench player to give an aging Reyes a break every week. The turf will destroy him by July if he isn’t given frequent breaks to rest up. With Ramon Santiago suffering a broken collarbone following a Grapefruit League game last Sunday, Steve Tolleson is now most likely to backup Reyes.

Ryan Goins could also help out at shortstop although he will most likely spend the bulk of his time at second base. With the extra player on the roster to backup shortstop and thirteen pitchers, the Jays will have zero room for three catchers. There is no chance Dioner Navarro will be sent to Buffalo after an outstanding season last year. It doesn’t look very plausible that Navarro will be traded by the end of Spring Training. This means he will spend the season as the backup catcher and designated hitter. Josh Thole will then be sent down to triple-A Buffalo and leaving Russell Martin to catch R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball, Martin has struggled with this all spring despite multiple opportunities,Martin will have to catch all of Dickey’s starts for the rest of Spring to feel more comfortable but I’m not convinced that this will be enough.

The Marcus Stroman injury has really put the Blue Jays in a tailspin,the most damage has come from the catcher position. Knuckleballs are ruining the Blue Jays right now and they will need to make some big changes soon or it’s going to hurt them in the regular season.