It can be funny how quickly the best laid plans unravel before us. An off-season of trades has been undone by injuries, both freak and expected, and ineffectiveness, bringing the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting pitching staff from a 6-deep position of strength to a game of mix and match designed to plug holes and tread water.
Already to this stage, the Blue Jays have been forced to use ten different starting pitchers, which if you’re keeping score at home, is three less than Toronto used in 2012. That means the likes of Ramon Ortiz, Chad Jenkins, Aaron Laffey, and Sean Nolin have all drawn starts on the season, to varying degrees of effectiveness.
That clown car of starters has struggled to do much good for the Blue Jays in 2013, as the team enters play on Tuesday with an Earned Run Average of 5.50 from their starting pitching. That ranks 28th in Major League Baseball, with only the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros getting less from their rotation than Toronto.
However, before you start looking for stability in the rotation, it must be noted that there is at least one more starter to climb out of said clown car. On Wednesday, we can add number 11 to that cache of talent, when reliever Esmil Rogers will be stretched out for a few innings against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
The 27-year-old Rogers, acquired in the Mike Aviles trade with the Indians this past winter, does have Major League experience as a starter, albeit a very poor track record as such.
In 22 starts, all with the Colorado Rockies, Rogers has posted a 6-8 record, with a 6.24 ERA, a 1.772 WHIP, and a 6.7 K/9 ratio over 114 innings pitched. Conversely, he holds a 6-6 record with a 5.48 ERA, a 1.547 WHIP, and a 8.7 K/9 ratio as a reliever.
Now, most of that could be attributed to the Coors effect, but it still becomes hard to hold much faith in his ability to have any sort of substantial success, even in a spot start situation. Then again, Gibbons may be looking at Rogers’ last two appearances as a portent. In those two games, both of which were three inning appearances, Rogers has been decent, surrendering no runs on 5 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strike-outs combined.
Toronto may simply be using this as a way to see what is the best way to deploy Rogers, or it could be as simple as creating a stop gap to Josh Johnson without having to surrender any more Minor League options by calling up another pitcher.
If we’ve learned anything this season, it is that nothing is a simple as it seems. Simply put, this decision stinks of desperation from a team that does not yet know if it should make a move or get off the pot.
And that’s a decision that Alex Anthopoulos will have to make shortly, regardless of if he wants to or not.
Tags: Toronto Blue Jays