In an interview with John Lott of the National Post, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons alluded to the fact that left-hander J.A. Happ will be on the Major League roster when camp breaks at the end of the week.
The 30-year-old Happ has been one of Toronto’s best arms in camp, posting a 1.89 ERA and 6.6 K/9 ratio over 19 innings this spring, with Baseball-Reference.com rating his competition level as 8.7.
“If I was a betting man, there’s a good chance he’ll be on the team,” Gibbons said.
Still, Happ has been on the outside looking in all spring, with Ricky Romero, despite his struggles, being locked into the fifth starter role. While the news of Happ making the roster, rather than heading to Triple-A Buffalo, may be welcome news, the lefty would still prefer a starting role rather than being relegated to the bullpen to start the season, which is likely the case.
Despite having no clear role for Happ in 2013, the Blue Jays have fought the urge to move him. Following an offseason where the team acquired Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and R.A. Dickey to shore up the rotation, Toronto sees Happ as an insurance piece, one which they desperately needed in 2012.
By stashing him in a long-relief role, or in the rotation in Buffalo, the Blue Jays give themselves an extra starter to protect against the possibility of injury or as a possible replacement should Romero continue to regress.
Happ has been very vocal about his desire to not only make the team, but to start. His performance in camp has only helped fuel that desire. However, the Blue Jays have a lot invested into Ricky Romero and the front office seems to be determined to see a return on that investment. How much rope they allot for that investment in a complete mystery at this stage of the game.
Given the performances of both players this spring, how much rope would you give Romero before turning to Happ?