Last night's reported recall of Munenori Kawasaki fuelled speculation that either Brett Cecil or Adam Lind would be placed on the 15-day disabled list; however when the Blue Jays beat saw the lineup card they realized that the one going was not the left-handed reliever or the bearded first baseman, but the bearded right-handed reliever Steve Delabar.
Delabar, who turns 31 in a month (as will Adam Lind), was an American League All-Star in 2013 but has has been much less effective this season. His strikeout rate is way down, his walk and home run rates are up, and his FIP is a pretty ugly 5.25 (xFIP is not much better, at 5.19).
At the time of writing, there was no detail of why Delabar is not on the lineup card. The speculation among the beat is that he has been placed on the disabled list. However, I would not be surprised if the Blue Jays had decided to option him to triple-A to work out whatever kinks he needs to before returning to the fold. Delabar still has two options years remaining.
The Blue Jays confirmed that Steve Delabar has been optioned to triple-A Buffalo. It's hard to see a player who was so successful just one season ago sent down like this, but maybe this move is for the best. His poor performance has meant that he has been appearing in fewer and fewer high-leverage situations. Quantitatively, his pLI (average leverage index) is down from 1.33 in 2013 to 1.12 this season and his gmLI (average leverage index when entering a game) is also down from 1.40 to 1.22.
The average speed of his fastball has dropped 1 mph since last year might be a sign of an injury, but Delabar believes that it is more mechanics. In an interview with the National Post's John Lott, Delabar seems to know what is wrong with his delivery (apparently he "[drifts] toward third base as he lifts his left knee to start his delivery" and then loses command and velocity when he tries to compensate). He isn't very useful as a mop-up guy for the Blue Jays so getting him to work on mechanics in the relatively low-stress environment of Buffalo may be better than doing so in the major leagues for a first-place team that hasn't made the playoffs in 20 years.
Last year, the "#RaiseTheBar" hashtag was used in a social media campaign to get Delabar into the All-Star Game. This year, #RaiseTheBar has a whole other meaning. We look forward to his return--and we hope he brings back the filthy stuff he had last year.
The quotes from Alex Anthopoulos and Steve Delabar have started filtering in:
AA on moves: wanted to avoid DL with Lind/Cecil close to ready; needed infielder who was on 40-man to strengthen bench; and …— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) June 17, 2014
… Delabar needs consistent work and has lost his role as a high-stakes reliever for now. #BlueJays— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) June 17, 2014
Delabar on option: "It's the business. I'm not crushed or shocked or beat up. I understand the move ... I'll be back eventually." #bluejays— Brendan Kennedy (@BKennedyStar) June 17, 2014