Well that was a nice kick in the ass after a couple of tough ones.
The bats came out last night to make Wednesday’s game a bit of a laugher, at least until the ninth when Todd Redmond did his best to let the Rays back into it. But, a 12-7 win will play and Dosh Jonaldson is starting to look like the awesome player he is.
Oh, and Kevin Pillar.
But perhaps lost in the win is the continued absence of Marco Estrada. The player they acquired for Adam Lind – who’s off to a pretty ok start in Milwaukee – has only seen one inning on the mound in this young season. Old Gibbers has mostly gone to the young guys in high leverage situations if he needs a righty, leaving Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup to handle the other higher leverage duties. Cold Hynes has even seen multiple appearances.
Then last night, in what was very clearly not a high leverage situation, he went with Redmond, Hynes, and then even Cecil to close things out.
So what gives?
Heading into the season some thought Estrada could even challenge for the closer’s job. Of course, that was before Castrosuna took the world by storm. Still, it almost appears he’s gone from high leverage reliever to no leverage reliever.
In his one inning of relief work thus far he did give up a home run, which has plagued him in his career, but retired the other three batters he faced.
One thing to keep in mind is that he’s only thrown 1.2 fewer innings than Cecil. Granted, Cecil’s gotten into four games.
But if Gibbons wasn’t going to use the righty, they could have cut him in spring training and saved $3.25 million of his $3.9 million 2015 contract. With Shi Davidi reporting the team could have $5-8 million to spend mid-season that extra money could be huge. Of course, they could still include Estrada in a mid-season trade, but his early season usage is curious.
Many assume the Jays will go back to a seven-man bullpen when Michael Saunders is ready to join the team. It would appear it’s between Liam Hendriks and the aforementioned Redmond, with Redmond not doing himself any favours early on. Hynes should probably also not feel too comfortable. With Cecil out of the official closer role, Hynes’ role on the team is a little redundant.
All this is to say Estrada’s usage may increase once the bullpen is reduced to seven. Perhaps the team wants to see what it has in the Hynes-Redmond-Hendriks triumvirate before they get too deep into the season. Estrada’s stronghold on the Major League roster is maybe leading to his early absence from game situations.
Another possibility is perhaps the team is secretly getting him ready to take over a starter’s role. Now I’ll admit, I have no idea how behind-the-scenes things really work, but is it possible they’ve been stretching him out in the bullpen to take over for Daniel Norris or Aaron Sanchez? I don’t think Norris has been all that bad and should hold down a starter’s role for the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, Sanchez had a forgettable debut. It’s only one game, of course, but if he’s going to be a guy who throws to an ERA in the high-fours, does it perhaps make sense to switch Sanchez with Estrada, the latter of which would probably perform similarly in the rotation? Given the organization appears to be going all out this summer, and given how good Castro and Osuna have looked thus far, how bad ass would it be to have those three electric arms in the bullpen locking it down? Suddenly the relief corps goes from unsure to pretty awesome, especially when you throw in Cecil and Loup, who can mow down lefties with the best of them.
It’s a possibility, and would make tonight’s game an important one for Sanchez. Should he have another stinker will Gibbons and Alex Anthopoulos consider making a switch?
There’s also the possibility that everything I’m saying is just bullshit and Gibbons just hasn’t gone to Estrada because the situation hasn’t warranted it.
Either way, I don’t think the Jays are going to let Sanchez put up too many stinkers in the rotation before they make a move. Perhaps Johan Santana returns to health. Perhaps it’s Randy Wolf who gets the call. Or perhaps it’s Estrada.
Or, perhaps Sanchez throws a gem tonight and we all forget about it.