Brett Cecil, who is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, is “open” to an extension with the Jays, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (who, by the way, chatted with Zach Links and MLBTR readers on Periscope earlier today). Cecil is not aware of any extension talks between the two sides. “There’s not necessarily going to be demands on what it’s got to be,” he says. “If they want to talk then we can talk. If not then we don’t.” As Nicholson-Smith notes, Cecil appears to be in line for a significant payday, whether that’s with the Blue Jays or with another team. He posted a 2.48 ERA, with an outstanding 11.6 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 last season, and this past winter saw good non-closing relievers like Darren O’Day and Ryan Madson land contracts well north of $20MM. And Cecil compares favorably to fellow lefty Tony Sipp, who got $18MM from the Astros. Here’s more from Toronto.
- It’s possible Aaron Sanchez could start the season in the minors, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm writes. If Gavin Floyd or Jesse Chavez wins the last spot in the rotation, but the Jays feel Sanchez and the team would best served by having him continue to develop as a starter rather than as a reliever. That path could make sense, given Sanchez’s age (he’s still just 23), former top prospect status, and his control problems while serving as a starter in both the Majors and minors. Last year, he allowed 37 walks in 66 innings as a starter. He has also walked over four batters per nine innings in both Triple-A and Double-A, and he was mostly used as a starter in his stints there.
- Earlier today, we learned about longtime first baseman Dan Johnson trying his hand as a pitcher with the Rays. But Johnson isn’t the only position player to attract recent interest as a pitcher. New Angels infielder Cliff Pennington attracted a bit of interest as a pitcher this offseason after making a relief appearance with the Jays in the playoffs last year, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “In talking to some teams about straight utility, there was maybe some talk about maybe pitching a few innings to save a bullpen guy here or there throughout the course of a year,” says Pennington. “Nothing more than six, seven innings in a year. It never was anything that was talked about with the Angels.” Such a role would, obviously, be unusual, and only a handful of players in recent memory — Brooks Kieschnick and Micah Owings being two — have really split time between pitching and another role. Pennington threw 90 MPH in the ALCS last year, though he only retired one of the three batters he faced.