With Dustin McGowan recently being relegated back to bullpen duty, the Toronto Blue Jays have been in search for the team’s new fifth starter. On Tuesday morning, that picture may have gotten a bit clearer.
Making an appearance on the Brady and Walker show on Fan 590, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos discussed a host of topics, including what direction the team was leaning in its internal search for a fifth starter.
"“We’re looking right now at guys like Todd Redmond or Liam Henriks, who is down in Triple-A and performing well. Between him and Todd those are probably the two leading candidates and we’ll see obviously what happens in the next few days and how our bullpen lines up before we decide on one.”"
Hendriks, a 25-year-old native of Perth, Australia, has been excellent since being claimed off waivers earlier this winter. In 9 appearances (7 starts) with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, the right-hander has posted a 5-0 record with a 1.48 ERA and a 12.0 K/BB ratio. That is the type of performance that raises eye-brows, and precisely why Anthopoulos was in Buffalo earlier this week to watch Hendriks throw.
He (Henriks) was good. Throws strikes, changes speeds and I think people tend to forget he’s still young. – Alex Anthopoulos (h/t Buffalo News)
However, while the Triple-A results have been marvelous, Hendriks has a shaky history at the Major League level. In 30 career appearances (28 starts), Hendriks possesses a 2-13 record with a sky-high 6.06 ERA and a 2.17 K/BB ratio. All of those appearances came as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
Also mentioned by Anthopoulos was Todd Redmond, who is no stranger to starts in a Blue Jays uniform. The 29-year-old swing-man saw 14 starts in 17 appearances for the Blue Jays last season, posting a 4-2 record with a 4.41 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 ratio as a starter last season.
However, Redmond failed to win a spot in the Jays rotation out of Spring Training, putting him in the position of long-relief to start the year and he’s excelled at it thus far. In 12 appearances and 24 innings, Redmond has posted a 3.38 ERA and a 3.07 FIP.
One player that is not likely to get the start will be Marcus Stroman, who the Blue Jays optioned back to Buffalo on Monday. He will be eligible to return until Thursday May 29th, when the prerequisite 10 days are completed. The team called up Rob Rasmussen on Tuesday to fill Stroman’s spot in the bullpen, via Mike Wilner.