Key to the future?

Brett Cecil may, indeed, be the future of the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff. After all, he’s currently the club’s top pitching prospect. And, after being selected in the first round of the 2007 draft, the left-hander made his way quickly through all three levels of the minors before the end of the ’08 campaign. But for now, he’s simply fighting for a spot in the back end of the rotation for the 2009 Blue Jays.

It may be a better idea for the 22-year-old to spend the year at Triple-A Las Vegas (that still sounds weird, doesn’t it? Las Vegas?), but with Burnett gone and McGowan and Marcum out with injuries, anyone and everyone is being considered by manager Cito Gaston for the No. 4 and 5 slots in the rotation. Cecil will look to impress tomorrow, as he starts the first game of the spring for the Jays against the New York Yankees.

On Sunday, Gaston told the Sun’s Bob Elliott that he was looking forward to seeing how the youngster carries himself against big-league hitters. “I want to see how he handles himself on the mound,” Gaston said. “I want to see his makeup.” The Blue Jays’ manager then made a reference to Jimmy Key, the club’s all-time winningest left-hander.  Will Cecil be the next Key? Well, he may just get the chance to shine in 2009.

As for Key, he made his ML debut in 1984 as a 22-year-old and, well, 116 wins later he stood behind just right-handers Dave Stieb and Jim Clancy on Toronto’s all-time wins list.

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7 Responses to “Key to the future?”

  1. Jay B Says:

    Todd,

    Halladay is at 131 wins, so don’t you dare leave him off that all-time wins list…

    i’ve heard a lot about cecil breaking camp with the team, and i don’t see what the problem is…they said he’ll only make the team as a starter, so it’s not like they’re taking innings away from him by keeping him, and it’s not like he’ll be thrown into a position where he’s expected to win 12 games or whatever…it’s a low pressure situation, since it’s already pegged as a ‘rebuilding’ yr, so wouldn’t you rather he bust his mlb cherry this yr, than have him learn on the fly next yr when management has told fans that they expect to be division contenders?

    it doesn’t seem like gaston and ricciardi are on the same page about a few of their prospects either…i read some comments from each of them regarding whether snider will break camp with the team, and ricciardi said ‘it wouldn’t be the worst thing for him to start the yr in vegas’, while gaston said ‘he’d have to hit his way off this team’…

    either way, for fans that think there’s nothing to look forward to this yr, if snider, cecil, and later on arencibia, all see time in the bigs, along with lind’s first full season, we get to watch the roster get turned over to the guys that will be leading us in the near future…

  2. Jay B Says:

    thanks for the info on inglett in your last blog…i didn’t realize he was that mediocre…i thought his obp was in the .360 range, but you pooed all over that…

    with that said, after their attempt at furcal fell through, orlando cabrera would’ve been a good fit for us…plays d almost as good as johnny mac, and leads off adequately…

    having him hold down that spot for 2 yrs while scott campbell gets ready (if he doesn’t make the move to 3rd), or until another SS comes available wouldn’t have been so bad, cause both SS and leadoff have been a hole on our roster since tony fernandez and reed johnson left town…

  3. TD Says:

    Thank you, my good sir. Halladay is, in fact, also ahead of Key on that list. How dare I? Haha. On the topic of Cecil, it’s a tough call. They’ve already said that if he does break camp with the big club, he’ll be limited to around 170 innings for the year — similar to what they did with Purcey last year. I think there’s nothing wrong with giving him a taste of the bigs this year, but I would probably rather see him spend the majority of the season at Triple-A.

    As for Snider, it might be a case where they start him in the big leagues and send him down if he struggles early. The important thing is just getting him a lot of at-bats, no matter where that is. If they think he can work through a big-league slump in his rookie season, then by all means they should keep him up. The key will be how he responds to the first signs of a slump.

    Alex Gonzalez was pretty good defensively, my friend, so I wouldn’t go quite as far back as Tony Fernandez (although Tony was on that same 2001 squad as a bench player).

  4. Jay B Says:

    alex gonzalez? really? you considered him an ‘answer’ at shortstop? he could play the position, but boy he couldn’t hit big league pitching…he’s johnny mac with more pop, more k’s, and slightly worse D…

    the only downside i see to having snider and cecil here for the yr is that it starts the clock on their mlb service time…apart from that, cito is supposed to be a master of managing people, so i’d rather him working with young guys helping them work through tough times, rather than have them rip up AAA and not learn what adversity is until they’re on a division hopeful…that’s my take at least…

  5. TD Says:

    Sure, he may have struck out a franchise-high 6 times in a single game (@Cleveland, Sept. 9, 1998), but he was solid defensively. No spectacular plays, but a rocket for an arm. He definitely got the job done on D.

  6. Jay B Says:

    ya he played solid D, but that doesn’t mean he was by any means an every day major league shortstop…as evidence by his career high .323 obp (50 games or more), or by the fact that he was out of the league after bouncing around for 5 yrs after leaving TO, at the age of 33…

    were you upset that i overlooked chris woodward, too?

  7. TD Says:

    No way. Woodward was part of the ‘let’s stick whoever we can at short’ era that included Chris Gomez and Frank Menechino.

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