Blue Jays keeping open mind about closer situation

Cecil, Sanchez sharing the role is one option on the table as club feels out possibilities

Blue Jays keeping open mind about closer situation

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are still at least a couple of weeks away from making a decision on their closer situation, but there's a scenario where both Brett Cecil and Aaron Sanchez could share the role.

Toronto has remained rather non-committal on the issue, which would seem to indicate the position is still in a state of flux. During various parts of his media availability Wednesday, manager John Gibbons dismissed the notion of a bullpen-by-committee approach but also talked about the benefits of not having one defined guy in the role.

The bottom line is that the Blue Jays seem to be keeping an open mind, and the issue likely has become a hot topic of conversation within the organization. It's going to take some time to figure all of this out.

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"They could both do it on any given night," Gibbons said. "If one's tired and needs a night off or something, the other one could do it. Then you kind of look at how the lineup is set up late in the game. We could use either one we think."

There could be a lot of benefits to the Blue Jays not picking one specific pitcher for the ninth inning. It would give Gibbons a lot of flexibility when matching up against opposing teams depending on what situation his roster faces on any given night.

Cecil has made a living out of missing bats with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings last season and a 10.4 mark the year before. One of his biggest strengths is being able to strand inherited runners, and the ability to go to him vs. a tough left-handed hitter is another strong asset to have.

The value in Sanchez could be his ability to throw more than one inning at a time. He frequently was used for two innings during the second half of last season, and using him in a similar role to the one Dellin Betances had in New York last season would make a lot of sense.

"That's the beauty of Sanchez right now," Gibbons said. "He might go a couple innings for you. But if you do that, he's one of your go-to guys, you can't do that every night. That would be a big part of it.

"And Cec, you really like to limit Cec to one inning. It's just kind of who he is right now."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.