Ricky Romero will make a rather big spring training start today for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Detroit Tigers. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
We haven’t done one of these in awhile so let’s get right into it – here are the latest news and rumours about the Toronto Blue Jays.
According to play-by-play announcer Buck Martinez, top prospect Aaron Sanchez should be in the starting rotation when the Blue Jays’ season begins (h/t Sportsnet). In typical Buck fashion, he drops quotes like “he has the look in his eye” and “this guy’s got it” without much thought to the fact Sanchez has yet to pitch above High-A outside of spring training and the Arizona Fall League. I’ll agree with Buck when he says he has the best stuff in camp and I’m as high on Sanchez as anyone. However, as most astute fans already know, he didn’t have the best year in 2013 and still needs to improve his command. When rosters expand a late season call-up isn’t entirely out of the question if Sanchez has a dominating campaign in 2014.
Andrew Stoeten at DJF asks why are people talking about Ricky Romero as a potential starter for the Toronto Blue Jays? It’s a feel good story that’s easy to get on board with but the fact it’s even being discussed speaks volumes to the sad state of this Jays’ rotation. His last appearance wasn’t televised but Jay Blue gave us what I would describe as a lukewarm report of the outing. He still struggles to throw strikes at times and although the improvement (and usage) of his curveball is encouraging when Romero struggled in Triple-A last year it was mostly deeper into starts, when he was facing the lineup for the second or third time. I’m not entirely counting out but he still has a lot to show at Triple-A again this year if he wants a real shot at pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays. He starts today at 1:05 PM against the Detroit Tigers.
Stoeten links to this piece above but Mike Wilner of Sportsnet opines that it’s Todd Redmond who has the inside edge on the final spot in the starting rotation. Next in line would be J.A. Happ and Esmil Rogers, who will both likely break camp with the team. On the outside looking in he sees Marcus Stroman and Romero.
Ian Hunter at the Blue Jay Hunter talks about “taking the best team north” and how, to be completely blunt, it’s a fallacy. GM Alex Anthopoulos seems to pride himself on being able to expand the 25-man roster by stocking players with options in his farm system, which isn’t necessarily a terrible idea, but there’s comes a point it can only factor in so much as part of the decision making process. The Blue Jays don’t have the luxury of easing into this season and if that means exposing a fringe player to the waiver wire, so be it.
Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com also says “it appears Toronto is putting an emphasis on keeping players who are out of options” and added in a tweet he thinks Chad Jenkins should have stayed with the team as a long reliever.
Chisholm also writes that according to skipper John Gibbons, health is the only thing that will hold Happ back from starting the season in the Blue Jays’ rotation. Gibbons goes on to say “I think he’s going to have a heck of a year for us.” Good old Gibber.
In a third piece Gregor updates us on the health of closer Casey Janssen, who has been nursing a sore shoulder throughout spring training. He’s nearing a return to the mound and is scheduled to throw live batting practice today.
Tom Dakers of Bluebird Banter looks at the Jays’ back-up plan for Ryan Goins at second base and as you might expect, there’s not much of one. What’s the asking price for Stephen Drew come down to now, Mr. Anthopoulos? I have a feeling Drew ends up signing somewhere during the first week of the season so that he is not eligible to receive a qualifying offer, which can only be offered to players who have played an entire season with the same team. Will the Blue Jays step up and improve the mess at second base? Only time will tell.
Jesse Spector of the Sporting News is asked a fantastic question from @AndyMc929: “Do you think it’s possible/plausible/probable that AA & the oligarchs at Rogers have already decided to blow this Jays team up?” Spector says it’s plausible – what do you think?