Feb 26, 2014; Clearwater, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ (48) talks with catcher Dioner Navarro (30) and third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) after loading the bases in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in a spring training exhibition game at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
According to comments made by Toronto Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos yesterday, much I’m sure to the delight of fans everywhere, there could in fact be two remaining spots that are up for grabs in the Blue Jays’ rotation. Arden Zwelling shares comments from Anthopoulos at Sportsnet, who confirmed yesterday LHP J.A. Happ is dealing with back issues.
"“There could be two [rotation spots available,]” Anthopoulos said. “We’re going to take the best team north. Especially right now with J.A. and his back and his performance—we have to get him on track and get him healthy.”"
There have been questions about the inclusion of Happ in the starting rotation since Anthopoulos announced he was locked in at the Buffalo Bisons luncheon in January. When AA echoed this sentiment at the Blue Jays State of the Franchise, I couldn’t help but think it felt eerily similar to Ricky Romero‘s endorsement at the same time last year.
Sometimes readers seem to think that we “hype-up” Happ or are happy that he is included in the starting rotation. Sure, we might have went a little overboard breaking down his mechanical changes but that’s more because we love that stuff, not that we really think it’s going to make much of a difference. I even made the case to trade Happ away for basically nothing in order to free up an extra $5 million for the suddenly budget conscious Blue Jays so they can go out and sign a better pitcher.
With the way Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman have pitched in spring training, it’s not surprising to see Happ suddenly on the hot seat. There’s also a plethora of other pitchers who are lined up for a shot at his job.
We shouldn’t take away too much from Happ recent brutal start, especially if he wasn’t 100%, but it doesn’t change the fact that, other than when he’s pitching at his best, the Jays need more than he’s able to provide out of their rotation to succeed in 2014. However it’s always nice when Anthopoulos admits that he sees the light.