Blue Jays Rumour Roundup – March 8, 2012

A few odds and ends from Jays nation:

Sportsnet caught up with one of the Jays top prospects Anthony Gose.  They had a four minute conversation if you are interested to hear about his spring training thus far.

-Mike Cormack reported that Brett Cecil was a bit out of sync with his mechanics in today’s game versus the Yankees. 

The 25-year-old left-hander managed to pitch two scoreless innings in his second start of the Grapefruit League season, but struggled throughout with his balance on the mound, missing high with several pitches as a result.

Afterwards, Cecil said he is still struggling with some of his mechanics as a result of the near 40 pounds he shed during the off-season.

“I have to get the timing down a little more, with a little bit lighter weight and I talked to John (Farrell) about this. “My arm is a lot quicker than it was last year, so it’s a matter of getting the timing down to get everything to work together, all in one motion, all in one time”

-Jays manager John Farrell held a media scrum today and had quite a few musings:

On managing expectations for Brett Lawrie in Year 2:

“The one thing about Brett is, even for his age, he’s a mature kid,” said Farrell. “He’s got one thought on his mind and that’s winning. And while some of the accolades, the publicity, etc., to his credit, when you see his responses to questions in the media, he keeps things in the proper perspective.

“He knows he’s a good player and I think everyone that sees him play a game knows he can stand out amongst some of the best in the game. He’s an exciting young player, one that believes in himself and we mentioned this the other day, he’s part of the heartbeat of this team even at a very early age.

On Lawrie’s leadership role with this team:

“To me, leadership doesn’t have an age to it,” said Farrell. “He can be vocal in the clubhouse, he’s respectful to his teammates, respectful to the game and he’s one heck of a player.”

On whether Lawrie or pitchers have the upper hand, second time through the league:

“I guess that remains to be seen,” said Farrell. “The one thing that he showed in the 150 at-bats he had with us last year was his pitch recognition. And when he stays within his strike zone and doesn’t chase out of the strike zone, that’s when he can be a hitter with some impact in the game and that’s why at the age that he is, he’s got a chance to be pretty special.

“He believes he’s going to hit, he believes he’s going to play well, but that doesn’t cause him to short cut the work that he needs to do to be successful.”

On what could keep the Blue Jays from contending this year:

” We need some things to go our way,” said Farrell. “The greater number or higher number of innings pitched by our rotation, quality innings pitched by our rotation, is the one area that will allow us to make up the gap that existed at the end of last year.”

“I like our team, I like our lineup, I like our bullpen and I think we’ve got the people in camp and in our rotation to do just that, but some of the things that every team is going to have to rely on and depend on — health — but also how well our rotation pitches is I think, the tell-tale sign.”

On the Blue Jays’ offence:

“We return a team that scored the fifth-most runs in the American League and when you return a Brett Lawrie, the addition of Rasmus in centre, Johnson at second base and the natural progression of I think some of the younger players in their second year, I think it’s realistic to expect we’ll be an offence that can score more runs than a year ago,” said Farrell.

“We’ve got greater balance than a year ago. We’ve got, I think, a deep lineup. It’s a younger, more athletic group that I think gives us more options to do some things inside of a game.”

On what he hopes to see from Brett Cecil, Thursday and throughout the rest of the spring:

“The thing that we continue to hone in on is the consistent execution of pitches, particularly down in the strike zone,” said Farrell. “We’ve talked about it repeatedly, but we feel like the change in body composition will allow him to do it and then everything else becomes much more effective, particularly his changeup.”

On whether Cecil’s “dead-arm” problems from a year ago are now fully behind him:

“With every pitcher we monitor them arm-strength wise and we feel like the program and, really the framework for all of our starters will take that into account,” said Farrell. “There’s going to be peaks and valleys that every pitcher will go through, but we don’t have that as a focal point.”

On the performances of Drew Hutchsison’s and Deck McGuire Wednesday:

” I thought Hutch looked very comfortable,” said Farrell. “He went to a spot down and in on (Garrett) Jones after reading the reaction of Jones on the previous pitch.

“Deck — to his credit — he didn’t revert to just throwing, he continued to pitch, made some good pitches in some key spots. I think (it was) valuable experience in their first time out.

But another young arm that impressed him Wednesday was…

“To me the guy that was also impressive was (Ryan) Tepera,” said Farrell. “He gave up a home run, but he didn’t back away and fear the strike zone. He got the next six guys in order and showed good poise and composure on the mound.”

The 24-year-old Tepera, the Blue Jays 19th round selection in the 2009 draft and spent all of last season with single-A Dunedin where he posted a 4.43 ERA, 1.326 WHIP while averaging 5.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 27 games (23 starts).

-Fangraphs positional power rankings continued with the Jays ranking 27th for left field strength (or lack of) no matter who the starter ends up being, the Brewers and Ryan Braun ranked number one.

Designated hitter was slightly kinder as the Jays ranked 6th out of 14 AL teams as Fangraphs expects the group of Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Travis Snider/Eric Thames should be relatively productive.  Boston Red Sox come in at #1 with David Ortiz manning the DH spot.

-Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote that oft-rumoured SP Roy Oswalt might be willing to play anywhere this upcoming season, he was linked to thet Jays earlier in the offseason but he told the team he would not come to Canada.

Roy Oswalt spent most of the offseason telling teams that he’d prefer to sign close to his Mississippi home, but the free agent right-hander will now consider other opportunities. He’s telling clubs he’ll play anywhere, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (all Twitter links).

Oswalt said last month that he’s looking at a possible midseason return and the probable timeline for a deal hasn’t changed, according to Crasnick. By June Oswalt’s kids will have finished school, and a potential move would be easier on his family at that point in the season. Oswalt’s decision may depend on which contender needs pitching depth a few months from now, Crasnick writes.

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