Ricky Romero vs J.A. Happ

Sep 27, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero (24) looks on from the dugout against the New York Yankees at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Yankees 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows that Ricky Romero is supposed to be the Toronto Blue Jays 5th starter at least to start the season. Everyone also knows there’s a slight possibility that J.A. Happ could potentially steal the Blue Jays 5th starter spot out of spring training or during the regular season. It’s something Blue Jays fans talk about yet don’t talk about.

It doesn’t seem possible that there could ever be an “elephant in a room” that gets talked about a lot but here we are.

Ricky Romero was awful last year although he did manage a good start every now and then. He hasn’t been much better in spring training even though it’s almost impossible to judge a player from spring training. If you’ve been watching the Blue Jays before the 2012 season then you know Ricky is more than capable of being a 5th starter.

J.A. Happ seemed to be great during his time with the Blue Jays last season. I say seemed because it’s hard to say if he really looked great or if it just looked that way because the rest of the rotation was bad practically every game. Either way Happ can handle the role of 5th starter. He’s also looked much better than Ricky this spring training, again for whatever that’s worth.

The reason Happ’s not the Blue Jays 5th starter is that to most people, most importantly Blue Jays management Happ’s spring training performance and his 2 months with the Blue Jays don’t overshadow Ricky Romero’s career before 2012. If you’re a believer in the “what have you done for me lately” argument then it’s understandable that Happ would be your choice.

Then again there’s no debate that Ricky at his best is better than Happ at his best so the Blue Jays starting the season with Ricky is easily a risk worth taking.

If Ricky does show he shouldn’t be the 5th starter there’s always the possibility he could work through his problems properly in the minor leagues. If Ricky did get his act together in the minor leagues and became ready for a call up it would be like the Blue Jays acquiring a mid-rotation starter during the season.

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  • RyanMueller

    It is an interesting scenario you have presented here. I would look at the last 2 or 3 spring training starts for these guys before making a decision. I would sit them both down and let them know the deal, “you have 3 starts to impress”. Whoever has a better showing will come north with the team and the other guy will come a little less north with the other team. They both have options right? I know Happ does.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      I believe Romero would have to be placed on “optional waivers” in order to pass through to the minor leagues. Most teams do not claim players on optional waivers, but it would still be a risk.

      • RyanMueller

        If he had to be passed through waivers than I would not send him down, in fear of having a claim placed on him. If it was irrevocable waivers than I would send him down and pull him off if any team puts in a claim. Rickey still has value, he is just too talented not to straighten things out. But I am sure Cardinal fans said the same thing about Ankiel years ago.