Tag:Ricky Romero
Posted on: October 25, 2010 6:11 pm

Farrell has what Jays need: Pitching knowledge

The Toronto Blue Jays interviewed something like six dozen candidates to replace Cito Gaston as manager ... and they wind up hiring a man who has managed nothing other than pitching staffs during his coaching career?

Moving to hire John Farrell as skipper is either going to be young general manager Alex Anthopoulos' most brilliant move yet ... or a crashing disaster.

In the AL East, with a Blue Jays team that fared better than expected post-Roy Halladay in 2010, there will not be any in-betweens.

As Boston's pitching coach the past four seasons, Farrell was the typical genius when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007 and, well, not-so-genius in 2010, when most every pitcher other than Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz under-performed.

Still, he's got a strong background in player development in Cleveland, he helped develop young arms like Lester and Buchholz in Boston and that's exactly what the Blue Jays want. Even in the post-Halladay days, they've got a strong nucleus of young pitchers, guys like Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek.

Anthopoulos is overseeing Toronto's latest rebuilding project, and based on the Blue Jays' 85-77 finish in 2010, fourth in the AL East, it's moving along more quickly than anticipated.

But here's the key: Toronto, over the next two or three seasons, will move as far as those aforementioned pitchers will take it.

If they stay healthy and continue to progress, the Blue Jays may finally get over the hump and climb back into the upper reaches of the AL East.

If too many of those pitchers flat-line, then all 2010 was for Toronto was one more mirage.

I like that Anthopoulos is thinking outside the box, so to speak. No, Farrell does not have any managerial experience. Yes, he knows pitching. And given where the Jays are, and that the game is returning to an emphasis on pitching, this has a chance to be one of Toronto's wisest moves yet.

Time was, former big league pitchers were looked upon skeptically as future managers. But look at what Bud Black is doing in San Diego. That perception is beginning to change.

Obviously, it is imperative that Toronto hires a bench coach who has been a manager, a wise old coot who knows strategy and rules. That's the type of guy who can help Farrell, with his knowledge of pitching, make a major difference as the Blue Jays look to soar.

Posted on: March 1, 2010 2:57 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2010 5:15 pm

When will young Jays' pitchers take flight?

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Roy Halladay is gone and Toronto is auditioning starting pitchers.

And while you have to travel long distances to find anybody willing to pick the Blue Jays anywhere other than dead last in the AL East (I know, I've been traveling long distances here in Florida and have yet to find that person) ... well, maybe it's not quite as bad as it looks.

At least, with Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow aboard, a healthy Shaun Marcum and kids Brett Cecil and Brian Tallet, maybe it won't be Kansas City bad around here.

"Even though they're young, I feel some of them are ready," says catcher John Buck, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Jays over the winter after six seasons with the Royals.

"In Kansas City, I feel they were forcing guys up a year or two before they were ready. They were rushing them, and it was tough to catch them.

"These guys are telling me why they like to do this and why they like to do that. They have a plan, and that's huge."

Nobody in camp has thrown 200 innings in a major-league season -- Romero's 178 last season is the high. Marcum has never made more than 25 big-league starts in a season. Morrow is still trying to catch up to the hype. Cecil needs to throw more strikes.

Dustin McGowan, Mark Rzepszynski, David Purcey, Scott Richmond ... the list of candidates is a long one. Jesse Litsch is injured and due back sometime just after the All-Star Game.

"Romero is somebody who stands out," Buck says. "You hear a lot about him. The way he works, the way he gets after his day. Some of the small stuff he does to get ready ... that probably relates to Halladay when he was here. The drive."

The Jays will miss Halladay tremendously. But if he left a few things behind -- such as his model work ethic for these guys to follow -- then maybe, for now, that's as good as Toronto can hope for.

Sunblock Day? And on the seventh -- eighth? -- day, the sun came out. Beautiful on Monday, sunny and 70 and yes, a sunblock day.

Likes: I still get a big kick -- too big, perhaps -- out of the fact that the Blue Jays' vice-president of communications is named Jay, Jay Stenhouse. Jay of the Jays. Perfect. ... Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in Roy's for dinner Sunday evening in Tampa. Don't know what Reg was eating, but the seared and blackened Ahi was superb. ... The 2010 Baseball Prospectus will be in bookstores soon and, as usual, it's a must-read -- for executives, scouts, baseball writers and fans. You will not find more thorough scouting reports, and smarter analysis. ... Good to see Troy Glaus healthy in Atlanta's camp. He says he's feeling terrific and says the move to first base should be no big deal. ... When it's a bright, sunny day -- as Monday was (finally) -- there is no more spectacular sight in Florida than cruising over the Tampa Bay on the Sunshine Skyway, pretty blue and green water surrounding you for miles. ... Paul Schaffer's book We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives is a fun read. Some very entertaining behind-the-scenes stories from the Saturday Night Live, Blues Brothers and David Letterman days. Who knew the legendary Bob Dylan was a huge fan of Larry "Bud" Melman from the old Letterman show? You'll read this and other nuggets in this page-turner. ... Sandy Koufax actually taking the stage with Dodgers manager Joe Torre for a benefit for Torre's foundation Saturday night in Los Angeles, the two allowing themselves to be grilled by LA Times columnist T.J. Simers.

Dislikes: Anybody who knows me knows I love Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band. And within that, I think Clarence Clemons can do no wrong. However ... oh my Lord, Clemens' "book" Big Man: Real Life and Tall Tales is unreadable. Just brutal. Here's the problem: He picked the wrong guy to write it. The New York Times reviewer nailed it when he wrote that ghost writer Don Reo "hijacked" the book. Reo keeps butting in with show biz stories of his own that he thinks are terrific and, apparently, Clemons does, too. But what they are is lame. Lame and unfunny. Nobody bought the book to read name-dropping and stories from Reo, a television writer who worked on such shows as M*A*S*H and Blossom. It is maddening. I picked up the book not expecting much over the winter, and it fell miraculously far below even my very low expectations.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"My allergies were bad so we moved to the desert to a city called Palm Springs
"We trick-or-treated at Liberace’s house
"Each finger had a diamond ring
"We met Elvis Presley in the middle of the summer
"He hugged my sister for far too long
"Well, it felt kinda weird, but I woulda pimped her out
"Just to hear him sing a song
"We talked Hollywood, and baseball in the car
"The voice of Jack Buck; It would travel really far"

-- Steve Poltz, Brief History of My Life


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