Blue Jays strip “not sharp” Brett Cecil of closer duties

19 Comments

Brett Cecil has made just one appearance since being named Toronto’s closer, but that was enough to convince the Blue Jays that he’s not the right man for the job.

Cecil has been stripped of ninth-inning duties after a blown save Thursday against the Yankees in which he retired just one of the four batters he faced while throwing in the high-80s. Cecil had an abbreviated spring training thanks to shoulder issues and manager John Gibbons told reporters that the left-hander “is not sharp.”

Cecil was one of the AL’s best relievers in 2013 and 2014, throwing a combined 114 innings with a 2.76 ERA and 146/50 K/BB ratio, but if he’s not fully healthy there’s no reason to keep trotting him out there in a high-leverage role. Gibbons declined to name a full-time closer replacement, but 20-year-old Miguel Castro may get the first crack at the job despite making the jump from Single-A to the majors.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
8 Comments

The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.