3 Up 3 Down: Estrada, The Bullpen and The Price Was Almost Right?

Just like that, week one of the regular season is in the books for the Toronto Blue Jays. Seven games down, only 155 more to go.

In many ways, I feel like we experienced a season’s worthy of story lines in the span of one week. There were more than enough touch points and noteworthy performances … some great, some not so great.

Here’s is a brief roundup from the week that was in 3 Up 3 Down.



Estrada Looked Excellent

Much like Edwin Encarnacion, apparently less was more for Marco Estrada when it came to Spring Training practice. He was outstanding in his start against the Red Sox yesterday, giving the Blue Jays a very much-needed shutout.

Estrada continued his trend from last season in keeping the ball in the yard, collecting 12 fly ball outs and five pop ups. True to form, Marco Estrada kept the Red Sox hitters off balance with his signature changeup the entire afternoon.

I’m still not entirely sure how or when Estrada will eventually experience a little bit of regression, but in start one of the season, he was almost just as impressive as he was in Game 5 of the ALCS last year against the Royals.

The Bullpen’s Growing Pains

One week in and we’ve already seen the good and the bad from the Blue Jays bullpen. The bad in the form of guys like Arnold Leon being used in high leverage situations; the good in the form of Roberto Osuna being completely lights out through four appearances.

The injury to Franklin Morales threw a wrench into John Gibbons’ plans on Friday night and thus was forced to bring in Jesse Chavez about an earlier inning than Gibby wanted to. Drew Storen’s shakiness in that game also amplified the issues with relievers over the first week.

I really think that Gibbons is still trying to feel things out and see where these guys in the bullpen are going to slot in. At this pace, we may not see Drew Storen in that eighth inning setup role for an extended period. However, given Storen’s track record, I think Gibbons will afford him a lot of rope.

But with a lack of a second lefty in the bullpen and Brett Cecil suddenly struggling, it’s forced the Blue Jays to be a little more fluid in their use of relievers.

For the time being, Cecil may not be just the “seventh inning guy” and Storen may not be solely be responsible for the eighth. It’s still incredibly early in the season, but the bullpen roles are going to manifest themselves a number of ways as the year progresses.


The Price Was Almost Right?

Interesting stuff from Steve Simmons at the Toronto Sun who says that Alex Anthopoulos was in fact laying the groundwork to re-sign David Price last year.

Price kind of echoed those same sentiments on Friday, telling reporters “If Alex would’ve still been here, then it might’ve been a little bit different”.

I don’t doubt that Anthopoulos could’ve cleared the salary space to bring back David Price at around $30 million for 2016, but what about beyond that? Again, this would’ve been an extremely tough sell to ownership and especially a guy like Mark Shapiro, who is almost dead set against extending players this late in their career.

Let’s just for fun say that David Price did come back to Toronto; that would’ve meant Marco Estrada is gone, R. A. Dickey would be traded, and it’s also very unlikely J.A. Happ is signed to a three-year deal.

That would’ve created a giant hole in the starting rotation … one anchored by David Price, but one devoid of any real bankable starters beyond Price and Stroman.

The more I think about it, the more I realize it was the right move by the Jays to let David Price walk. They allocated their resources in a much more conservative way and mitigated a lot of risk by getting mid-tier starters rather than going after one big starter in David Price.


Image via Getty Images Sport/Tom Szczerbowski

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.