Last night, tweets were coming out sharing the possibility of the Toronto Blue Jays signing RHP Mat Latos to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training camp. Those rumours have been confirmed and a deal has been signed according to the Toronto Blue Jays (who are the #1 reliable source in Jays land!).
If you are not aware of who Latos is, last season he played for the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals as both a starter and reliever. In his early career with the San Diego Padres, Latos was an excellent pitcher and finished eighth in Cy-Young voting in 2010. He had been with four Major League franchises before selecting a one year contract with the Chicago White Sox in 2016. While starting with the White Sox, he had an amazing start, but a not so great ending. He signed a contract with the White Sox in the beginning of 2016 (in the offseason), and was thought of as their 5th starter. In his first four starts he pitched to an ERA of 0.74, but then allowed 29 earned runs in his next 36 innings pitched. Around the end of May (2016), the Chicago White Sox picked up James Shields (a starter essentially picked up to replace Latos) and was designated for assignment. He was then released. A few weeks later, Latos signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals, with whom he stayed with until just recently (recently as in today) signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. The route to pitching with the major league team was very slow, as he was assigned to their Rookie-level Gulf Field Coast League. After months of work in the minors to help improve him, he finally made his Nationals debut on September 4, 2016 against the New York Mets.
Today the deal was officially signed and announced (plus 30 minutes after it became official he walked onto the field wearing Jays Spring Training gear (it escalated very quickly needless today!). At this point, the deal seems to be a minor league deal with no word of how much it is worth or for how long. In short, this will give the Jays some potential pitching depth in both the bullpen and potential starting rotation (more to that in a moment).
Making it official this morning meant that over the course of today many Jays tweeters would think of some great puns about the guy (and his cat… Cat Latos). Trust me when I say they do not disappoint! Here are some of my favourites (to see all of my favourite tweets as soon as I see them, follow me on twitter here):
If you have been following the Jays closely throughout this long (and stress enduring) off season, you have probably seen talks somewhere about stretching out Joe Biagini to become a starter, or at least have a significant roll in the starting rotation (Joe has his own opinions on this subject matter, which I encourage you to watch here). If you recall, whenever a starting pitcher or a pitcher with a significant roll in the club became injured, the Jays would always call up Drew Hutchison. It is times like these that we forget the heavy roll that Hutchison played in the organization, although he spent most of his time with the Buffalo Bisons (the Toronto Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate team). With the signing of Mat Latos, the Jays can feel a bit more comfortable with the issue of not nessicarily having a back up pitcher to fill in the rotation.
Does the signing of Mat Latos affect Joe Biagini? The future is quite unclear with the answer to that question. If anything, it will leave the Jays with a tough decision (if Mat Latos shows real potential). If by chance Joe Biagini wins a fifth spot in the rotation, Mat Latos could fill the loss of Biagini in the bullpen, but I think that is a big risk as Biagini was one of the most effective players of the Jays bullpen last season. He was one of the star pitchers of last season thought the league, and being a rule 5 draft pick by the Jays made his story that much more interesting! Since the Jays have shared that they will not be limiting Aaron Sanchez like they did last year, the Jays need for a fifth starter is less significant than it was last year, but it’s reassuring to know that there are two guys that could fill the void, and do it successfully.
P.S. Here’s a picture of Mat Latos incredibly cute cat, “Cat Latos” which I expect to be a subject of discussion during some media interviews this Spring Training!
With Marcus Stroman on a little bit of a downfall, where will his fate lead him?
Last year, Marcus Stroman could be considered one of the many saviours of the 2015 Blue Jays team. And although he may not have necessarily helped them to get to the playoffs, he helped them in the playoffs (which I consider more important). He was 5-0 last season, and had a great start to the season. The last thing I would’ve expected is for him to get to where he is now. Sure, he’s short and does not have much MLB experience, but he was considered their Ace in early April.
Now, he’s 6-4 with a 5.33 ERA (highest starting pitcher ERA on our current team). Not terrible, but not like Marcus Stroman. You can visit his Twitter everyday and see some sort of motivation. You can tell he wants to get back to how he was originally, but theres something he just can’t do. And to be honest, I can’t really pin point it exactly. Maybe it’s just a combination of things.
But when a team like the BlueJays a possible playoff contender has a pitcher like Stroman, it’s not easy to know his fate. Every win and every loss counts, even when Stroman is pitching. A few days ago I saw a tweet that said their gonna give him 10 days (2 starts give or take), but that may not be the best thing to do.
I have come up with a list of a few possible outcomes, but remember this is only my opinion. Trust me I’m not always right!
I’m not ready to send Stroman down (even though both Gregg Zaun and my Father are). So why not have a reliable pitcher in the bullpen. He can go in for at least 2 innings, possibly 3. This way, he could make his way up to go back in the starting rotation. And if for whatever reason Gibby decides to put Sanchez in the bullpen as well, we will have a VERY reliable bullpen. The only thing that could ruin this theory is that the players in the bullpen now will not have as many innings on them if everything stayed the same as it is now. And when the Blue Jays make it to the postseason, they may want both Sanchez and Stroman back in the rotation. In which case the regular bullpen may not be as prepared as possible.
2. Minor League – Buffalo Bisons
Now here’s the thing… You either love this theory or hate it. Personally, I don’t like it. I think that he’s better than being sent to Buffalo. Honestly though, you never know. See, Stroman could focus on his pitching rather than the fact that he has a big pressure to win, which could be very rewarding in the end. On the other hand, Stroman could feel like he is being slightly disrespected. As I was writing that, I knew exactly what Billy Beane would say. By going to the minors, he could give Bisons ace Drew Hutchison (who really deserves a spot on this team) a chance to come up to the majors and start.
3. Continue in Starting Rotation.
As many would say, “Practice makes perfect.” And maybe for Marcus Stroman, that’s all he needs. Sure, he’s had a lot of practice but he’s had a rough past year. I think that this method is VERY risky, and it could lead one of two ways. Either him staying the way he is, or getting better.
What do you think Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays Organization should do? Let me know in the comments.
I hope you enjoyed this evening Thursday read!
One of my favourite things to do in my spare time include writing blog posts and catching up on Twitter. As I’ve said before, one of the best (if not the best) communities on Twitter include the MLB one. Friday afternoon we had some spare time in class, and I checked Twitter on my iPhone. “DH in the NL” was among the top 20 trends in Canada, and I was immediately in wonder of what I could’ve missed. Turns out, I didn’t miss much. Other than the fact that the entire world was sharing there opinion about DH’s in the NL. As a Baseball blogger for a team in the AL, I don’t have much experience nor have I really formed an opinion on this. Although, I do have an opinion on one thing. Something that I think that the National League should think about is not making pitchers hit. Pitchers are an essential part of a baseball team, whether it be little league or the majors. Pitchers are not hitters and that’s something that they need to understand. Who remembers when “thee who shall not be named” (no I don’t mean Voldemort I mean David Price.. Haha) got a base hit, and I believed that tied the game?! I’ll admit, that was pretty cool but it’s something you definitely wouldn’t see everyday, or every season for that matter.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the ideas above in the comments below, or as always feel free to throw me a tweet @aalyssacohen!To end off today’s post, I have a trivia question for you all! My mom has been sharing my blog with a few of her co-workers who like the BlueJays, and one of them gave me a question to ask you… So hear it is:
For the four major sports leagues in North America – MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL – what are the only 2 days of the year where there are no games played in any of these league?
Answer in the comments or below or tweet it to me, and the winner and answer will be revealed in my next post!
Catch you in the Rogers Centre!
I hope your week has been going well. Today, we are going to be talking about Aaron Sanchez possibly becoming the Toronto BlueJays 5 or 6 starter.
Currently, the pitcher chart looks like this.
*According to multiple reporters Chavez and Hutchinson are fighting for the 5 starting pitcher spot.
With 6* starters and 8 relievers, we are not in dire need of anymore pitchers, let alone a new starter.
Sanchez was talking to media press just a few days ago (since a lot of them are around the city for the 2016 Winter Tour), and all I was hearing was “I want to be a starter.” or different variations of that statement.
“Starter, 100 per cent,” Stroman said when asked what role he envisioned Sanchez playing with the club this season. “Everything we did this year was for that. We didn’t work out twice a day for two months for him to be a reliever.
“So he’s 100-per-cent ready to go out there and go seven, eight, nine innings every five days. That’s kind of been our mentality – nine every five. That’s something that we’ve kind of been saying in the gym. And everything we’ve done, our preparation, is to start.”
“I think that’s always been my idea,” Sanchez said when asked about his ultimate desire to be a starter.
Let’s take a look at Sanchez’s stats in comparison to his best friend and teammate Marcus Stroman:
Stroman ERA 2015: 1.67
Sanchez ERA 2015: 3.22
Stroman WHIP 2015: 0.963
Sanchez WHIP 2015: 1.28
Even though Stroman’s stats are significantly higher than Sanchez’s, be aware that Sanchez played many many more games than Stroman this year. Plus Sanchez’s stats are still very good against other pitchers!
Now the choice lays in the hands of the front office. Personally, I’m not really sure of this option. Right now the pitching and defense is quite strong, and I’m not so sure that making Sanchez a starter is the right option at this point. Who know’s what will happen during the season!
A post that opened up my mind to different options earlier in the day was a post written by Ian over at The BlueJays Hunter. He discussed some very interesting options for both Sanchez and Hutchinson to start the BlueJays 2016 season. Check it out here, and tell him I sent you!
Have any thoughts about Sanchez? Comment below or throw me a tweet on my twitter!
Catch you in the Rogers Centre!