Per a Buster Olney tweet todayÂ The Blue Jays are taking a very aggressive approach in looking for a closer; wouldn’t be a shock if they landed one of best guys.
Hmm one of the best guys? Â Well it just so happens that Kansas City has one of the best guys on their current roster, well at least prior to last season he was one of the best guys. Â Also it happens that the Blue Jays have a starting pitcher or two that may be interesting to the Royals. Â One in particular is pretty intriguing to me despite not putting up eye popping stats two of the last three seasons.
Cecil enjoyed a terrific 2010 campaign winning 15 games for the Blue Jays making 28 starts and giving them 172.2 innings of 2.6 fWAR pitching including a 4.22 ERA which helped him live up to his billing as the 38th overall pick in the 2007 draft. Â Cecil looked like a solid #3-4 for the Blue Jays heading into 2011 but a rough start lead to a quick demotion back to AAA where he found himself until July callup. Â One of the reasons for Cecil’s struggles was that his HR per flyball number ballooned back to his 2009 range as over 14% of his flyballs allowed ended up in the cheap seats leading to a 4.73 ERA in his 20 starts and 123.2 innings. Â While he never corrected the HR numbers he had a decent stretch from July to September 9th when he put together a 3.50 ERA despite giving up 13 bombs in those 90 innings until he cut his finger in a tragic blender/smoothy accident after which he got beaten to a pulp by the Angels and Rays in his final two starts of the season.
Cecil has 1.128 years of service time according to Cots.
Why the Jays could be interested in this deal?
Obviously besides the fact that the Jays would get Joakim Soria who has been one of the games top closers they don’t give up one of their better players or prospects. Â Cecil while still young at 25 isn’t as coveted as Kyle Drabek or any of the other young Blue Jays prospects in their system. Â His troubles keeping the ball in the park won’t be an easy fix if Rogers continues to play like the Coors Field of Canada.
Why the Royals should be interested in this deal?
I know what you are going to say. Â No way I don’t want this guy he had one decent season and has been the same pitcher in two of his three seasons giving up the longball and not missing many bats. Â That’s exactly why the Royals should be interested. Â Cecil has been the same pitcher all three seasons living in the 6.3 K/9 range while averaging 3.09 BB/9 and leaving runners on at a 72% clip while falling victim to poor home run luck in ’09 and ’11. Â The major league average home run per flyball percentage is in the neighborhood of 10.6% according to Fangraphs a number that Cecil has been over by 3 and 4% in his two down seasons but remember that Rogers Centre ranked as the 6th, 4th and 17th easiest park to hit a home run in those seasons while the park formerly known as the K ranked 29th, 19th and 27th in that time. Â And that is before you get the benefit of pitching against the Twins, Indians, Tigers and White Sox as opposed to the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Orioles. Â Warning: Â There is one red flag with Brett Cecil going forward as his velocity dipped a couple mph which could be an injury concern.
This isn’t a especially flashy move nor is it one I think GMDM would actually make because its probably bad PR to Facebook Royals fans but KC would be adding a decent left handed starter with plenty of control for a position that isn’t that valuable. Â Soria is getting more expensive each and every year while Kansas City has an arm in Greg Holland that could step into the closing role while adding a young starter that can eat innings, allowing KC to let Chen walk in Free Agency and potentially freeing up enough money with Chen/Soria deals off the books to land a better SP via FA. Â Not to mention if the friendlier division and park lead to Cecil success GMDM would have more opportunity to flip a top prospect like Montgomery, Odorizzi or Lamb for a potential midseason #1 if KC finds themselves in a race. Â Like I said before though I doubt this move is one that KC is looking at currently.