|Ryan out as Jays closer?|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on May 13, 2009
All signs point to BJ Ryan losing his closer's gig to Scott Downs.
B.J. Ryan has lost his job as the Blue Jays closer.
Ryan, who is rehabbing at class-A Dunedin after being placed on the disabled list April 23 with a strained trapezius, has been replaced by left-hander Scott Downs as the Jays closer. Downs will remain in the closer's role when Ryan returns, general manager J.P. Ricciardi said prior to last night's game. Ricciardi added that Ryan is expected to return by the end of the homestandon Monday.
"No, I don't think so," Ricciardi said when asked if Ryan will return as the closer. "I think B.J. understands that at this point. One thing about B.J. is that he wants to win and I think right now with Downs doing such a good job (3-for-3 in save situations) and the club being comfortable in that role, I don't think it's a role right now that's open. Ultimately I think B.J. will get back to being a closer at some point but I think right now Downs has the role and it's tough to argue with the club playing so well. B.J.'s a team guy and he understands that."
What role Ryan inherits is up in the air.
"I don't know," Ricciardi said. "We'll have to see how it plays out."
Ryan, who threw a 1-2-3 inning Monday with Dunedin, will make another appearance tonight and at that time be re-evaluated, Ricciardi said. Ryan, who has struggled with his velocity and his command this year, is 1-0 with an 11.12 ERA in six appearances. He was 2-for-4 in save situations.
In Dunedin, the Jays are working on slowing down his delivery. "He's getting a little bit ahead of himself, we're trying to re-work his delivery a little bit," Ricciardi added.
Ryan, 33, was signed to a five-year, $47-million US contract in November of 2005. In 2006 he had 38 saves but the following season he injured his elbow in April, required Tommy John surgery and was gone for the remainder of the season.
This may sound like a conspiracy theorist talking, but I'm not sold on Ryan losing his job. After all, JP Ricciardi has had problems telling the media the truth in the past, so why are we assuming he's telling the truth now? Perhaps this is a ploy to motivate Ryan into thinking he needs to work harder for his job or to quell the media's pressure on Ryan to regain his closer's role.
A couple of other points: The Jays paid Ryan big bucks -- his contract was the biggest given to a closer at the time -- and there's no reason they shouldn't make the most of their investment. After some early-season struggles due to velocity loss, Toronto put Ryan back in the closer's role and he had a decent season.
I've dropped Ryan in fantasy, but that's because I needed some healthy players. Maybe you should sit on him returning to the ninth.