Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So Long, Brett Cecil


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Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures
Brett Cecil came to Spring Training  in the best shape of his life. He lost 38 pounds in the offseason and entered camp with a fresh attitude. Ultimately, those accolades weren't enough to keep him in the starting rotation.

I can't say that I was very surprised to hear Brett Cecil was optioned down to the minor leagues. However I was taken aback that the Blue Jays pulled the trigger so soon, and that they sent Cecil down so far.

There were a few concerns last week when Brett was originally supposed to face the Baltimore Orioles in Spring Training, albeit an incredibly depleted lineup nearly void of any Major League talent. That probably should have been the first red flag that there was something really wrong with Brett Cecil.

I'll certainly give Brett credit that he put forth lots of effort to show that he was committed to being a better pitcher in 2012 than he was in 2011. His mission to get in shape got him back in good graces, but ultimately it couldn't make up for the fact that he just could not locate.

You probably know me as the eternal optimist, which is why what I'm about to say is such a departure from my usual optimistic outlook; but I would not be surprised if Brett Cecil does not pitch in the Blue Jays starting rotation ever again.

That could mean two things; perhaps the Blue Jays feel Cecil is better served to pitch in shorter stints and he'll be the next starter-to-reliever pet project. That could also mean that Brett Cecil just doesn't have what it takes to pitch in the American League East.

I hate to kick a guy when he's down, but I think the latter might be true. Brett Cecil's velocity has been a concern for some time now, and while pitchers like Shaun Marcum can get away with not having a "blow it by them" fastball, Marcum does boast a stellar command of his pitches.

And when Brett Cecil doesn't have either velocity or control, that's a huge cause for concern for the Toronto Blue Jays.

If the club didn't have the wealth of pitching depth as they do, then they could afford to keep Brett Cecil out there to see if he works the kinks out himself. However, there are so many talented young arms in the farm system that look like much more viable options than Cecil.

I wouldn't have pegged Joel Carreno as the first one to take Brett Cecil's place in the starting rotation, but I think it's a great opportunity to see what Carreno is capable of stretched out as a starter once again.

His sample size from the bullpen last year was small yet impressive, but I guess the Blue Jays value Joel Carreno more as a starter than a reliever. Had it not been for players like Luis Perez who are out of options, I would've said Carreno was a safe bet to crack the Opening Day roster.

Brett Cecil has the edge when it comes to big league experience, but others like Joel Carreno have much more potential. In a regime where "high ceiling" is the greatest thing since sliced bread, Brett Cecil just doesn't cut it.

That's not to say the Blue Jays starting staff needs to be comprised of five aces for them to compete.Take a look at the back end of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays rotations; they aren't bona fide studs by any means ... but they do at least have some potential to become #2 or #3 starters down the road.

Perhaps that was the motivation behind transitioning Jesse Litsch from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Sure, Jesse could have held his own and ate up some innings, but they weren't quality innings.

Even if Brett Cecil does manage to regain his composure and gets called back up to the Blue Jays, I don't think he fits in very well with the long-term plans of this starting rotation.

Now that Toronto has a wealth of options in the pitching department, the Blue Jays might not think twice about overlooking Brett Cecil and promoting the next "high ceiling" prospect ahead of him.

3 comments:

  1. As I wrote this morning, I really think Cecil's going to end up as a LOOGY. He kills lefties, and that's worth something.

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    Replies
    1. I actually don't mind Cecil as a LOOGY - in small doses he could be okay. I just think his future as a starter is definitely in question, especially with so many others like Hutchison and McGuire now nipping at his heels.

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  2. Cecil doesn't have great command, and isn't particularly groundball-heavy. When you couple those things with the 86-88 mph fastball, there's no way he can be consistently successful in this division. He's got pretty good platoon splits so maybe a conversion to a LOOGY is in order.

    His future as a starter with the Jays is definitely done.

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