Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it! I'm certainly enjoying the day off (though not the traffic between Washington DC and NYC last night) Some interesting news tidbits on the Jays front:
In a move that's surprising everyone (or at least me), the Jays intend to bring back Sparrow next season. Ricciardi sees Towers as battling for the 5th starter spot and believes he is still a cost effective option for his likely arbitration price.
J.P. says that the battle for the 5th starter spot (consolation prize: long relief role) will be between Sparrow, Mrs. Hugo-fav Jesse Litsch, Man-scent hawker Gustavo Chacin, and Banter-sponsored Tek Janssen. I guess Wolfe, who was briefly discussed at the end of last season as potential 2008 fifth-starter material, is out of the running. Personally, as I have before explained, I like Janssen in that spot. If B.J. Ryan is back and healthy, as JP has stated, that makes the argument even stronger. That said, Jesse Litsch was extremely effective last season. Even if he can't duplicate it, I do think he's earned the right to compete for the 5th starter role with a gutsy and excellent 2007. So I'd like to see Litsch and Janssen with the slight nod to begin that competition. If Janssen were to win, Chacin could be an interesting longman as it would give a little bit of a different look. He could also grab occassional starts if there was a particularly lefty-heavy lineup. Of course, there's no guarantee at all that he's healthy. The Jays are also interested in adding Matt Clement, I assume, if he were to sign for a deal similar to those given to Ohka/Thomson/Zambrano last season. Clement has been an effective pitcher in the past.
It looks like Adam Lind will be beginning 2008 in AAA. The projections suggest that Lind is ready to produce now, but the Jays appear to favor waiting to count on him for 2009. Of course, if there is an injury to Thomas, Overbay, Stairs, Reeder, Wells, or Rios, Lind could see significant time this season.
The Jays added David Purcey to their 40-man roster yesterday. Purcey had to be added in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. In order to make room, newly acquired Cody Haether was designated for assignment. Purcey showed improved control early in 2007 in AA, but his season was marred by a shoulder injury. He had a wonderful Arizona Fall League Season, though, and could be ready to contribute to the major-leage team at some point this season. I would be surprised to see him before September, though you never know. Purcey had a 1.23 ERA in 6 starts in the AFL, and posted a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 innings, against some of the best players in the minors.
According to this Tom Verducci article, the Jays are a sleeper for 2008 but need everything to break in their direction to win. Sound familiar?