LAKELAND, FLA. - Now what?
The question involving Brett Cecil and the secretive Blue Jays rotation hit a decided speed bump Monday afternoon.
Cecil turned in his final audition and it was quite literally Daniel and the lion’s den.
On the road, Cecil got to face the Tigers ‘A’ lineup.
Forget what they say about New York, if you can get through Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young, you can make it anywhere.
What transpired, however, was simply gruesome as Cecil was little more than road kill for the powerful Tigers lineup.
The second inning was horrific. Following a ground ball out to start it off, the Tigers reeled off seven consecutive hits — including a three-run jack by Fielder plus a solo shot by Young — for seven runs.
In his previous start against a major-league squad, Cecil was pounded by the Rays, Mar. 23, for four hits and four runs — he also walked five — in just 2 2/3 innings.
Manager John Farrell tossed that one out as being one of those starts that happens in spring training with every starter.
But now this and if you happen to be Farrell or GM Alex Anthopoulos their minds must be spinning like the voice in a GPS system: ‘Recalculating.’
Following the game Farrell looked grim and was blunt in his assessment.
“Yeah, there’s concern,” Farrell said. “There will certainly be discussion and evaluation and internal talks that will take place today and tomorrow.
“You’d like to see guys kind of on the incline going into the start of the season rather than the reverse.”
Farrell said the club will announce its rotation Tuesday when the Jays wrap up their spring with a game at home against the same Tigers.
As far as excitement goes, it will rival Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone’s vault on prime time TV back in 1986. Rivera, to his dismay, discovered nothing but debris.
Farrell, I’m sure, is hoping on doing a lot better.
This day, so was Cecil. Instead it was more debris.
“Location,” Farrell said when asked to specify his concern. “A lot of pitches up over the plate, lot of pitches found the middle of the plate. That’s a very good hitting team and you’ve got to pitch to quality location consistently against a team like that with that kind of lineup and other types of lineups we’re going to face night in and night out.”
From the start of spring training games through to the end, Farrell had his rotation set up as the following: Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Cecil, Henderson Alvarez and then the trio of Kyle Drabek, Dustin McGowan and Aaron Laffey.
McGowan, out with plantar fasciitis, will open the season on the disabled list and even if all goes well with his recovery, he will not be ready to join the Jays until the beginning of May.
As for Laffey, it’s hard to believe the Jays would pick him over the other candidates as he is Brett Cecil without the good changeup.
So, where do they turn?
“Joel Carreno, who’s thrown the ball very well and is getting stretched out on the minor-league side,” Farrell said when asked about the next tier of starters on the rise. “I thought Chad Jenkins threw the ball very well while he was in camp. Depending on the time of year, we may see Drew Hutchison come into the conversation, but each one has specifics we want to address in their development, particularly in Drew’s case. Deck McGuire would be in that conversation as well.”
Prior to the game when quizzed Monday about the internal debate regarding his rotation it was suggested the discussions aren’t so much who would be selected No. 3-5 but in what order.
Farrell didn’t entirely disagree and went on to state that Alvarez would be the No. 4 guy leaving the names of the No. 3 and No. 5 starters up in the air.
If that’s the case it looks like Kyle Drabek will be a shoe-in for the third slot.
“You’re probably looking at Henderson in the four hole regardless of how some others things shake out,” Farrell said. “The way his spring training has been mapped out, we’re going to probably stay the course with him.
“The three and five could vary.”
Both Alvarez and Drabek will be throwing in Tuesday’s finale with Alvarez starting and going four and Drabek the final five. If the Jays wanted to slip Drabek into the third spot it would be no problem as he would have four days of rest prior to Sunday’s game in Cleveland.
Where Cecil fits into it all will be unveiled Tuesday.
He sure didn’t help his chances Monday.