Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Off-Season Interview with LHP Brett Cecil

Brett Cecil has had a turbulent couple of years since winning 15 games for the Blue Jays in 2010. His average fastball speed went down almost 1.5 MPH to 89.1 in 2011(from 90.5 in 2010), and he started leaving balls up in the zone to righties, leading to an increased home run rate(0.94 in 2010 to 1.60 in 2011). But, Brett lost over 30 pounds last off-season, and it looked like he was going to break camp with the Jays as the 5th starter. He didn't. Brett worked hard in AA and eventually earned a call up in Mid-June. Aside from a few starts, Brett was pretty good, but was sent back down in early August with an ERA of 5.72(highly inflated from 2 horrible games). After a month with the 51's, Brett was back in the bigs for September, pitching out of the bullpen, a scenario that many of us fans were preaching for a couple of years already. Brett is a lefty killer, and he fits perfectly in the bullpen, especially because his velocity is higher in the bullpen due to shorter stints pitching. Brett has held lefties to just a .232 AVG in his career, and in 2012, they only hit .214 off of him. Brett will be fighting for a roster spot again come Spring Training in March, but if the Jays were smart, having a lefty killer like Brett available in the bullpen should be a no brainer! I had the chance to ask Brett some questions relating to the Blue Jays managerial search, his upcoming arbitration(which apparently isn't upcoming), and his plan to regain his velocity.

What are your goals for this off-season when it comes to regaining your lost
velocity? Do you have a specific workout plan that is built to regain the

My goal is simple. And that is to get stronger. With my weight not being an issue anymore, I can focus soley on getting stronger and not dropping weight for the first couple months of working out. As far as arm strength and regaining velocity goes, I will be doing a completely different throwing program this offseason. The same one that Steve Delabar has done in the past.

With John Farrell leaving, can you reflect on your time with him?

My time was good with John. He had some great things to tell me both about the physical side and the mental side of pitching. 

Of Sandy Alomar Jr, Manny Acta, Brian Butterfield, and Sal Fasano, the 4
leading candidates for the Managerial opening,which would you prefer to be
the new manager of the 2013 Blue Jays?

Having never met the first two I can't really speak personally about them. Brian Butterfield is one of the smartest baseball people that I have ever met. He knows how to keep a very lose but very serious clubhouse. He is definitely one of my favourite baseball people, and it would be very exciting to have him as a manager.
I had Sal as a manager in AA, and the enthusiasm that he shows about
the game of baseball alone can make players better. I think in any
position he has at the big league level it would be an advantage for
us to have him.

What do you prefer to do; start, or be a lefty specialist/long man out of
the bullpen?

I want to do whatever is going to make my team and myself successful.

Has Alex, or the club expressed to you what they believe your future on the
club is?
Not as of right now, I would assume that after the decision has been made on a manager that I will know something shortly after.

You are going to be arbitration eligible this off-season for the first time.
have you had any contract discussions yet, or will those be done after the
world series for a possible extension?
I won't be Arb. eligible for another year. I made the cutoff for super two but not the mandatory 86 days, I think, that I needed in service time this year. I only had 79.

A lot has been said about the Jays clubhouse atmosphere in 2012. What were
your thoughts on it?
Only being there for the short period that I was I cant really comment on anything. Obviously there were some problems that were addressed but as far as going into depth on anything you know just about as much as I do.

Shaun Marcum told the FAN590 recently that he would love to come back to
Toronto. You pitched with him for a while, would you like to see him back
with the Blue Jays?
I wouldn't mind having him back. He's one of the best "pitchers" I have ever seen play the game. When he is healthy he is as good as anybody.
What were your thoughts on your 2012 season? How do you think you will

improve on it in 2013?
I had a very productive 2012. Really only two starts, Detroit and Anaheim, bloated my ERA. In 2013 I'm looking to improve overall, whether that’s in the rotation or out of the pen. I'm expecting to have a good year in either role.

And to end the interview, one last question. Who do you have winning the
World Series?
Well since I took so long to do the interview and the WS is over I was going with Washington. But very happy for the Giants, especially my boy Sergio Romo. No better person then him to get the last out of the game. Unbelievable pitcher, and even better person!
 I'd like to thank Brett for doing this interview with me. I know he's very busy, and appreciate that he was able to take time to do this.

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