May 6, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Marcus Stroman (54) throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Blue Jays defeated the Phillies, 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

J.A. Happ's latest struggles create rotation controversy for Blue Jays

It may have been just his second start of the season, but J.A. Happ did not do any favors for himself in terms of making future starts for the Toronto Blue Jays. In fact, he likely made it a much easier choice for manager John Gibbons by eliminating himself as a candidate.

Happ lasted all of 2.1 innings, surrendering 7 hits (2 home runs) and 4 runs while throwing 60 hard hit pitches. That was a performance that earned him a short leash from Gibbons, and a quick shower.  It also wasn’t a performance that Gibbons was looking forward to talking about after the game, as conveyed by Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star.


Dinner plans aside, the combination of the performance and the utter silence of Gibbons doesn’t do much to quell the masses, but rather the opposite, stirring the pot as it were. And we all know how much the masses love a good quarterback closer starter controversy. Now we have a bonafide one stirring in Toronto and five whole days until we get an resolution.

So let’s get the fun started by examining the candidates, shall we.

The first person the speculation train is going to jump on will be Marcus Stroman, and rightfully so, as Stroman is part of the future of the organization and he’s already forced his way onto the Major League roster. After 2-2 with a 1.69 ERA and a 12.2 K/9 ratio at Triple-A Buffalo, Stroman has been relegated to bullpen duty with the Jays, where he’s surrendered two hits and a run in his first 2.1 innings of work.

However, Stroman’s long-term role with the team is in the rotation, and if Happ’s spot in the rotation is up for grabs, this could be the perfect time to slide him in. Sure, it’ll hurt Happ’s feelings to head back to the bullpen, but Stroman is the guy we want happy, right?

But it might now be that cut and dry. There may be another dark horse candidate that may be ready to jump in as well.

On Saturday, Todd Redmond came in and threw a very solid 4.2 innings of relief, surrendering just 5 hits, but just 1 unearned run. That’s been consistent with what Redmond has been putting up all season, with the right-hander putting up a solid 2.66 ERA  and a 6.46 K/9 ratio over 23.2 innings of work, mostly as the mop-up man. Redmond also showed last season that he was capable of taking the ball as a starter and providing some decent performances, posting a 4.32 ERA and a 8.9 K/9 in 2013.

Sure, Redmond lacks the long-term appeal of Stroman, and he’s not likely to be a consistent arm either, but he’s more than deserving of the opportunity based on the opportunity as well. If the Blue Jays choose to move away from Happ, they could turn to Redmond and allow Stroman to continue to get used to Major League hitters in the bullpen.

Who should replace J.A. Happ in the rotation?

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Tags: J.A. Happ Marcus Stroman Todd Redmond Toronto Blue Jays

  • Jason Kerr

    I say give the ball to Redmond … He’s worked hard at this level ahd has showed that he deserves the chance to work into the starters role. If he falters put him back in the ‘pen and give Stroman the next chance.

    • Bobby Z

      Absolutely, Stroman needs time to adjust to MLB hitters as well.. The jays have a horrible knack for letting their new arms get lit up by moving them into the rotation to fast. Redmond has proven himself before let him try to do so again.

  • Shaun Doyle

    I agree with Jason Kerr. Redmond should get the chance first. He’s a bit more “seasoned”. If #StroShow really is destined for greatness in TO, a few more weeks or so in the bullpen is not going to hurt that. But rushing him into a starters role has too much negative potential. If Redmond is terrible by the end of May, fine, put the rookie in. I don’t care about his status as a Super 2 player or whatever. I care about rushing a young player into a spot where the potential failure can have lingering effects. #StroShow has lots of confidence, but he has never really had it shaken, like “big league” shaken. Don’t risk the future for the present. We’re not desperate…yet.

    I like how Kyle mentions Happ’s feelings being hurt. I’m not so sure he has any left after his tenure with the Jays. I’d love to hear him unleash an honest tirade.

    • Jason Kerr

      It seems that entire Blue Jays starting rotation besides Buerhle and a distant long shot (Dickey) just don’t trust the defense, they’re scared to throw strikes and it’s hurting the team. I was probably one of the biggest proponents of having Happ in the line up for the Jays beginning this season off … Now AA needs to make good on his promise of putting together the best 25 guys he can … Good bye Rogers and good bye Happ.

  • RyanMueller

    I also think that Redmond should be given the first shot at the rotation spot and then Rogers and then maybe Stroman. I really like what the Jays did in the 90′s when they would bring starts up and let them pitch the entire year in the bullpen ala Pat Hentgen, Woody Williams and Todd Stottlemyre. As Shaun said what it a couple more weeks. I think having Stroman at the major league level is good for him to get the experience but having him in the pen will allow the coaches to see him in small sample sizes and make adjustments with each passing appearance.Instead on having the league adjust to him, he gets rocked and it is 5 days before he gets another chance. This also alleviates the spot light being on him and all the pressure that would go with his status. Being in the pen would allow him to fly under the radar for the year while making a spot start here and there.