In a rare showing of loyalty, the Blue Jays have decided that unlike last season Brian Tallet is a lock for a bullpen spot. That says something about Toronto’s relief corps: left handed relievers with with sub-4 ERA’s two years running usually don’t have to be told that. In fact, there are a lot of relatively large contracts being handed out to guys with not that much better of a track record or performance in 2007 (see: Scott Downs).
From the way he’s throwing, it’s clear that League has won a spot. He was touching 97-98 on the gun today, but more importantly his pitches are sinking so well. He didn’t strike anyone out today but induced 4 ground balls (one of them squeaked by Rolen), increasing his GO/FO ratio to an amazing 16-2. That means despite all the reclamation projects and minor league signings and a rule five pick, etc, etc, there is only spot still available for opening day and that’s if B.J. Ryan isn’t ready. Then John Parrish can sit out there and mop up instead of some combination of Frasor and Tallet riding the pine. Who cares!
Apparently Thigpen was “stunned and shaken” by his demotion last year and his time in the majors may have retarded his progress? Huh?! That and a bunch more confusing takes on what the plan is for Thigpen. Lecava says:
The next time he comes to the big leagues, it’s going to be because of his versatility. He can play third, first, catch, possibly even some left field, right field.
So Thigpen is a starting catcher in AAA year, but they really see his value as a 2010 fringe utility guy? Great. This brings up the very real question of who is going to be the Blue Jays’ starting catcher in 2009. So far the Jays may have depth but there doesn’t seem to be much serious expectation of anyone taking a full-time role. I figure that they see Jeroloman and Arencibia as the real tandem of the future while some combination of either Diaz and Thigpen can plug the gaps before being shuttled into the role of a “versatile” (read: bench) player.