We've looked at a few other positions, I think one of the biggest battles in spring training will be to see who makes our bullpen. I would imagine the plan is to have 7 pitchers in the bullpen. So mix and match from the following to let us know who you would put in the pen:
Jason Frasor: One of the sure things, likely to be closer. Had his best season last year, with a 2.50 ERA and 11 saves. Cito likes him. I hope he can hold up.
Scott Downs: Another sure thing, if he can stay healthy. Despite all the injures last year he still got into 48 games. 3.09 ERA, 9 saves. ERA is up from the 2.17 in 2007 and 1.78 in 2008. Again Cito likes him, too much really, when he's healthy he's out there any time we have a lead of the game is close. I hope Cito learns to use the whole pen this year but I wouldn't hold my breath. Throws strikes and gets ground balls.
Jesse Carlson: Another lefty, Been a favorite of mine since he came into a game with the bases loaded and no one out and didn't allow a run against Texas when he first came up in 2008. Didn't have as good a year last year, I felt he was over use, he pitched in 73 games and relies some on a deceptive delivery. Has options so might end up going up and down some but Cito likes him a lot. The 4.66 ERA last year didn't look as good as the 2.25 ERA in his rookie year.
Shawn Camp: Filled the role of right handed long man last year and did very well at it with a 3.50 ERA, his best in 6 major league seasons. Pitched 79.2 innings in 59 games so didn't suffer from lack of use, likely will be the same this year. I didn't know what the Jays saw in him when they picked him up after he had a 7.20 ERA in 2007 with the Rays but he's been quite good. Has more troubles with lefties than righties.
Casey Janssen: I'm not sure what the plan is for Casey, he was terrific as a reliever in 2007 with a 2.35 ERA, after missing 2008 with an injury it seemed like everything he threw last year went straight. When he's on he get ground balls by the bunches. He needs a good spring.
Josh Roenicke: Part of what we got for Scott Rolen. He didn't exactly set the world on fire is his brief time with us, a 7.13 ERA in 17.2 innings, with 19 k and 12 walks. He throws hard, but doesn't have the best of control at times. He's a potential closer if he can find the plate.
Jeremy Accardo: Last year's yo-yo. I believe he's out of options now so he shouldn't have to worry about that this year. He was our closer in 2007 with a 2.14 ERA so we know he can do the job but last year he walked 17 in 24.3 innings. I understand very few things in how Cito chooses players he likes and dislikes but walking guys is something I know will not get you a warm play in his heart. I am sure he feels he has a lot to prove this year.
Dirk Hayhurst: A favorite around here, I'm sure he is on the bubble as far as making the team. Has options left, so he could be this year's yo-yo. Would be fine as a long man. He's not going to strike out a bunch so he needs the defense to help him out.
Zechry Zinicola: Our rule 5 pickup. He has to stay on the team for us to keep him. I guess the question is 'will we want to keep him'. His minor league numbers are here. Dana Brown, special assistant to Alex Anthopoulos, came over from the Washington Nationals and knows him and obviously there is something there he likes. He can strike guys out, but I'm not sure he's ready to be a major leaguer. And with a young pitching staff I'm not sure we can hide a pitcher in our pen.
Merkin Valdez: We just picked him up from the Giants. He throws hard, walked too many last year. Guys that throw hard always will get chances in the bullpen. He's got an option year left, so he should be moving.
Other guys with a shot at the pen include Brian Tallet and Scott Richmond if they don't make the rotation. Richmond has options left. Anyone else that loses out in the battle for the starting rotation has a shot at the pen too. Spring training invitees Kyle Drabek, Lance Broadway, Willie Collazo, Zack Jackson, Chad Jenkins and Ronnie Lewis also could be in the mix.
I'm not sure how Cito and Alex are going to pick 7 from this group.