According to a team release, the Blue Jays have sent Josh Johnson to the 15-Day DL with a right triceps inflammation retroactively to April 29. The corresponding moves are Brad Lincoln being recalled from AAA Buffalo, as well as the indication that Ricky Romero will start for the Blue Jays on Friday night against the Seattle Mariners.
The move is out of desperation for a team that is on the brink of being buried in the AL East. Ricky Romero has been working on a new delivery since late in Spring Training in March, when he was optioned to Class-A Dunedin. Over that time until now he’s only made one start, giving up 6 hits with 0 walks and 4 strikeouts over 7 innings. The numbers are impressive for someone who could not locate the strike zone last year, but the Blue Jays are at a point in the season where they need to win games, and fast. Bringing up a guy who’s been shaky for more than a year after only one start against 20 year old minor leaguers might not be enough preparation against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners.
The other half of this story is that Ricky Romero will be replacing Josh Johnson in the rotation while he’s on the DL. He was expected to be back to start on Friday, and has been places on the DL retroactively on Monday April 29, despite the fact that his last start was on April 21. The speculation here is that they want to give Ricky Romero two starts instead of one to see what they have with their returning lefty.
Which begs the question; what happens if Ricky Romero returns to form? The Blue Jays have effectively 6 starters on the 25 man roster when Johnson comes back from injury, and J.A. Happ has been the only team starter who has shown any sort of consistency with his starts. Meanwhile, Mark Buehrle has been a disaster on the mound. Do the Blue Jays send a $11M starter to the bullpen as a long man? Do they send Happ to the bullpen, despite his good early performance? Or, worst yet, what if Ricky Romero proves that he can’t be a major league starter anymore? Does he go to the bullpen?
This all doesn’t bode well for an already-struggling team that needs to catch a break whenever they can. If there’s one thing that we as fans can learn from these early season experiences is to tamper expectations of our teams in the off-season. Expecting the World Series of a team that hasn’t made it to the post-season in almost 20 years should not be a common practice. Anything wrong can happen during the course of the season, and early on for the Blue Jays, it seems like everything has gone wrong.
Alas, Ricky Romero has returned to the Blue Jays. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that he proves he belongs up here.