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DUNEDIN, Florida – The Blue Jays kick off their 31-game exhibition schedule on Wednesday and there are decisions to be made at key positions. Antonio Garcia Jersey . Heres a breakdown of where the battles will be, the players involved and how one decision may have an effect on another. This goes without saying: Were working within the confines of the current Jays roster. STARTING ROTATION: Guaranteed: R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark BuehrleAlmost Certain: J.A. Happ As many as nine guys, some with almost no chance of landing the job, but are included here, anyway, are vying for the final available spot. They are Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Marcus Stroman, Sean Nolin, Ricky Romero, Chad Jenkins, Aaron Sanchez and Dustin McGowan. This will be intriguing because there is a business case to be made and, depending on how spring training plays out, potential performance cases to be made. On the business end, Rogers and Redmond are out of options, meaning both must break camp with the club or risk being lost on waivers. The bullpen is an option if neither gets a starting spot – more on that later when we look at the possibility of a seven-man or eight-man bullpen. Hutchison and Drabek each have big league experience. Drabek dating back to 2010 and when he cracked the opening day roster a year later and Hutchison when he was a mid-April call up two seasons ago. Both are back to full health following Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgeries in the summer of 2012. Drabek needs to drastically improve on 1.683 career WHIP over 169 1/3 innings, particularly in the walks department – hes averaged 5.8 bases on balls per nine innings over his brief career. Hutchison is a control pitcher, not overpowering, and appears to be the most polished of the non-established big leaguers in the group. Nolin, a big lefthander, and top prospects Stroman and Sanchez would have to mesmerize Torontos brass to break camp with the club, which itself will be a tall task. There are voices amongst the decision-makers who caution against putting too much value on Grapefruit League numbers because there are occasions when pitchers are facing what amount to minor league-calibre line-ups. Jenkins, like Nolin, has options remaining and can be sent to the minor leagues without waivers. Stroman and Sanchez arent on the 40-man roster at the moment and can be sent to the minors without burning one of their three option years, at least not right away. Romero appears to have been relegated to afterthought status, a deep valley for the one-time ace, just three years removed from a 15-win season and All-Star appearance. McGowan has interest in starting, but after multiple shoulder surgeries and not having consistently started in six years, its an unlikely scenario. Hell be stretched out this spring, but McGowan is likely destined for the bullpen. Barring an incredible spring performance, it seems one of Rogers, Redmond, Hutchison or Drabek will come away with the final starting spot. Stroman has an outside shot. If the decision is strictly business, itll be Rogers or Redmond starting the season in the rotation. Regardless, most of the kids on the list are bumping their heads on the minor league ceiling and are expected to be contributing to the Blue Jays sooner rather than later. BULLPEN (SEVEN-MAN or EIGHT-MAN?): Guaranteed: Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil, Sergio Santos, Aaron Loup and Dustin McGowan. General manager Alex Anthopoulos has to decide on whether to go with a seven-man or eight-man bullpen. Choose the latter and youll have one fewer bench player (three instead of four) at manager John Gibbonss disposal. The eight-man bullpen scenario occurs if neither Rogers nor Redmond secures the final rotation job. The Blue Jays were reminded last year that a club cant have too much pitching and theres a strong probability either would be lost if exposed to waivers. Jeremy Jeffress, a flame-throwing right-hander, who briefly impressed with a 0.87 ERA over 10 1/3 big league innings last season, also has a shot at making the team. He adjusted his arm slot downward late last season and is in the process of successfully treating a juvenile epilepsy diagnosis. Jeffress is out of options and clubs love hard-throwing pitchers. The Jays got Jeffress through waivers at one point last season. There is no guarantee they could do it again. Left-hander Juan Perez, 35, has returned to health after straining his elbow last summer. Hes caught in a numbers game. Meantime, Neil Wagner appears destined for Triple-A Buffalo regardless of performance. He has an option and he, too, is caught in a numbers game. SECOND BASE: Competing: Ryan Goins, Maicer Izturis, Chris Getz (non-roster invitee,) Jonathan Diaz (non-roster invitee,) Munenori Kawasaki (non-roster invitee) and Steve Tolleson (non-roster invitee.) Goins is the incumbent, having concluded last season as the Jays second baseman. Anthopoulos loves Goinss defense, saying last week he believes Goins is the best in Toronto since the days of Orlando Hudson. Goinss biggest challenger is Getz, a former Royal, who has familiarity with both Gibbons (Royals bench coach, 2008-2011) and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer from his days in Kansas City. Getz is a left-handed bat. BENCH: Here is where the Blue Jays thin out considerably, especially if they begin the season with an eight-man bullpen. Backup catcher: Erik Kratz or Josh Thole. Kratz, who strikes an imposing figure at 64", 255 lbs, is a right-handed bat whos hit 18 home runs in 378 at-bats over the last two seasons with the Phillies. Considering the likelihood the second catcher will play more this season (Dioner Navarro hasnt played more than 89 games in a season since 2009,) the Jays could value Kratzs offense over Tholes long history with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Navarro wont catch Dickey. Kratz spent a week with Dickey in Nashville in the offseason and has caught all of his bullpen and live batting practice sessions so far this spring. Right-handed Bat to Platoon with Adam Lind: Moises Sierra is out of options and Toronto needs to determine if he is the viable option. Backup Infielder: Manager John Gibbons has said on more than one occasion that he prefers to use Izturis off the bench because he can play around the infield. Its a role Izturis became accustomed to in Anaheim. So, if the Jays go with an eight-man bullpen, thats it. Anthony Gose, under the scenario presented above, would begin the season in Buffalo. Should the Jays go with a seven-man bullpen, the roving outfielder spot opens up and is likely Goses to take with the likes of Kevin Pillar and Kenny Wilson getting more seasoning in the minor leagues. REPLAY Each club will play five games this spring under the new instant replay rules. Managers will be encouraged to throw the challenge flag at some point each game during the exhibition contests. "We had that meeting last week and they said the umpires will notify us before the game and say, hey if you get a chance, try it," said manager John Gibbons. INTRA-SQUAD GAME The Blue Jays played a four-and-a-half inning intra-squad game on Tuesday at the Bobby Mattick Complex. Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman and Sean Nolin each pitched a scoreless inning. Aaron Sanchez gave up the games only run, a Maicer Izturis single. It was the fourth and final hit he allowed in his inning of work. Antonio Garcia Patriots Jersey . These teams will see plenty of each other in the next few weeks as three of the Canucks next nine games are against the Wild (after today they meet February 9th in Minnesota and again February 16th at Rogers Arena). Deatrich Wise Jr. Patriots Jersey . Watch the action live on TSN and listen on TSN 1050 Radio beginning at 7pm et/4pm pt. The Raptors maintained their spot atop the Atlantic Friday after defeating the Wizards, 96-88, for their second win in a row.TORONTO - Blue Jays manager John Gibbons sat down with before Saturdays game against the Kansas City Royals to discuss his status, the degree to which leadership matters in baseball, and whether hell make significant adjustments to next Februarys spring training schedule. Listen to the interview here or read the transcript below. Some heat around here, John, the hot seat is a little warm. Look, its been a tough year. Im giving you an opportunity to say your piece. Youre on the hot seat. Is it fair? Is it unfair? Does fairness matter? GIBBONS: Scott, fairness doesnt matter. Thats the business were in. Its the entertainment business but its serious sports. I dont get caught up in all of that to be honest with you. Yeah, it hurts, nobody likes to be ripped and things like that but on the flip side of that, Im responsible for what happens with this team on the field and it hasnt been a good year. You just grind it out. Ive said before, I show up every day and its a new day. You go out there, I love competing. You go out there and try to win that game and do the best job you can. At the end of the day, you know, all the decisions you make, do they all work? Of course not. Some of the best decisions you make backfire on you. Some of the worst ones you make, you come out smelling like a rose. Thats just the way the game is but you deal with it, you learn to deal with it, you expect it and if you cant handle it, youre in trouble. You look at this team heading into the offseason, and Alex has said youre going to be back next year so you have that security, the support of your general manager, which we knew that you had. Can this team, as currently constituted, come back in spring training and head into next April and be a winning group? GIBBONS: Scott, we like the core group of this team. Theres no question, we liked it going into this year with all the big moves made and we still like it. But we have to make some additions to upgrade some areas, thats no secret. In saying that, thats not always easy. Alex, weve talked about it, I think everybody understands its pretty obvious what we need to do and hell attempt to do that. Its not easy because you go around to most teams in the game, theyre basically in a lot of ways. One thing about Alex, hes tireless, hes not afraid to make some things happen and hell put his best foot forward. Its still a good group out there but theres no question to be a better team we need to make a few changes. When you assess this season, John, that 11-game win streak stands out obviously as the high point and there have been some down points both before that and after that. So lets talk about that 11-game win streak. Does that tell you that theres something in there that we just havent seen enough of or was that an outlier? Because a lot of teams dont win 11 in a row, not even the best. GIBBONS: No question about that. What really happened there is it all came together for that period of time. We pitched well during that stretch, you know we played good, solid defence and the bats, we were swinging the bats. It was one of those stretches when everything was clicking. You dont always get that over the season. Some stretches you pitch well and youre not hitting and the defence, the defence needs to be the constant. Youre going to have some bad games but thats one thing you can control a little bit of. That needs to be there every day. Pitching and offence can be hit or miss but for that stretch, it all came together for a length of time there. Everybody goes through those ups and downs but you know what those good teams do, they may not have the 11-game streak but theres more consistency throughout the year. The best teams in baseball go through their down stretches where theyll lose five, six, sometimes seven games in a row, something like that. Thats because maybe theyre not pitching good, their bats went silent or whatever it is. Over 162 games, thats the norm but the better teams, they do it better and they generally, their pitching day in and day out gives you a shot. When we talk about good pitching, it doesnt mean you have to go out and throw shutouts every night but its really, they keep you in the game and give you a shot and let your offence maybe take over. In fairness to our pitching also this year, we havent played good enough defence at times and theyve suffered for that. Im not just talking about errors and things like that. I mean, there are some balls we havent gotten to that you really need to at this level. Some double plays you need to turn at the big league level to bail you out of a tough inning that we havent always done. Lets face it, at the big league level, you have to take away hits, too. You neeed the routine play made but you know what, you still need to take away hits because thats what the better teams do. Derek Rivers Jersey. In hockey, theres a player on each team that wears a C and that denotes leadership. What value do you place on leadership in such an individual sport like baseball? GIBBONS: Thats a good question that will always be debated. First off, youre not going to win anything without talent, in any sport, thats just a given. But still there needs to be a couple of guys, they have to be guys with credentials, those are the guys they look to, and youve got to be able to snap somebody back in place, snap a team back in and say, Listen, were not doing this well, lets go guys, lets pick it up and things like that. If its always got to be the manager or the coach, I mean its not going to work. Sooner or later, if you talk too much, they tune you out. Its just like your own children or your teacher at school, whatever it might be, talk is cheap and if you have to do it too often, apparently somebodys not listening. It always helps to have a couple of guys on a team, they take that role whether they like it or not and its not always talking, its how they carry themselves and their actions. That can be very valuable. That point will probably always be debated because Ive been on some teams where you have a bunch of renegades, you know talented teams but it can be a mess but yet they play as a team, they show up to win and that usually overrides the day. The kids that have come up have injected, I guess, some refreshing air into the environment here. What have you seen, I guess you take your pick on who you want to talk about but what have you seen from Goins, Gose, Pillar and Sierra? GIBBONS: Ive been really, pleasantly surprised. Theyve all helped one way or the other and theyre doing a nice job. Like Ive said before, some guys never get opportunities in this game so when you get it, you know you may only get one so take advantage of it. Theyre all showing us something right now. Goins has been in the spotlight lately with some great defensive plays and some big hits. Hes really doing everything right now. You know, Gosey, (Friday) night had the big triple to set up an inning in a tight ball game to plate a big run for us and hes playing great defence and throwing his hits in along the way. Pillar, its been kind of hit or miss for him, he hasnt really settled in offensively but you look, hes been a good base runner, hes been good in the outfielder and things like that. Sierra, hes starting to heat up a little bit. When he keeps his swing under control, theres a lot in that bat. Hes a good, solid outfielder with a great arm. He can be a difference maker with that arm. Theyve all, one way or another, done some things to benefit us and you get excited about that and youre happy for them because, like I said, there are only so many opportunities you get in this business so it always helps to make that good impression and theyre all doing that. Next year cant be this year with the record. The expectations were high coming in and you havent lived up to them this season. Do you change your approach at all heading into spring training next year? Do you make some adjustments next season based on what youve seen out of the group this year to give yourself a better chance to have a better record? GIBBONS: What you always do, game-to-game, you reflect on the game and from a managers standpoint, what might have I done different that might have affected the outcome, this and that. Youre constantly doing that and of course, at the end of the year and were getting there, you always reflect and think you know what, maybe we need to do this, more of this, less of that, what have you. Going into spring training, there will be some adjustments that will be made. Well look at the personnel and well deal with that. We were ready coming out of spring training, no doubt in my mind, we just didnt play well. We just didnt handle expectations well, whether we were a little bit tight, what have you, thats just the way it went. But you need to make some adjustments and do some things to change some things because theres no question that, you know, you need a better year next year. A lot was put into this team and we were really hyped up, as we should have been, everybody liked all the moves and there were a number of them. We like the group that we have, of course there needs to be some additions, but you know were always optimistic. Like Ive said before, the fans have turned out this year. Theyve done their part of it and this place will explode with a winning team out there and we dont think were that far off and this city and this country deserve that. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '