Blue Jays demote Brett Cecil to minors after rough spring

5 Comments

Brett Cecil led the Blue Jays with 15 wins in 2010 and has started 65 games in the majors, but now the 25-year-old left-hander is headed back to the minors following a rough spring training.

Toronto let Cecil pick between going to Triple-A or Double-A and he opted for the lower level because Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas is an extremely hitter-friendly environment.

Cecil also didn’t put up much of a fight, telling John Lott of the National Post:

I really gave them no choice. I really didn’t help myself out any. I’ve had a month to figure it out. Any pitcher should be able to figure it out then. Some take a little bit longer, like I have. I’m not disappointed at anything at this point.

Cecil came into camp in The Best Shape Of His Life, shedding 40 pounds during the offseason, but struggled with his mechanics while allowing 14 runs in 17 innings. He was also a mess down the stretch last season, going 0-7 with a 5.16 ERA in August and September.

Even with that ugly stretch included Cecil has a 4.64 ERA in 390 career innings, is still young, and isn’t even arbitration eligible yet, so he’ll be back in the majors soon enough. In the meantime the Blue Jays will go with Henderson Alvarez, Kyle Drabek, and Joel Carreno in the rotation behind Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
5 Comments

A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.