Should Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ Be Back in 2015?

By Ryan Mueller
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Alex Anthopoulos and the rest of the  Blue Jays management have angered a large number of fans in 2014 by using the following terms when talking about player transactions:

Minor League options

Prospect value

Team Options

During Spring Training guys like Esmil Rogers, Jeremy Jeffress, JA Happ, Dustin McGowan, and others got a lot of the fan and media attention. Not because of injuries or trades, but because these players either had minor league options remaining or were out of minor league options. It caused Alex to keep guys that should have been released or sent to the minor. 

After the All-Star break and leading up to the the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline the key term being thrown around was prospect value.

How much Alex valued the Jays prospects

How much other teams undervalued the Jays prospects, and 

was ‎how many prospects it would take to improve the team.

Ultimately these questions resulted in zero activity at the Deadline.

 

And now with the season winding down all we can talk about, all us fans read on every Blue Jays site is how imperative it is that Alex re-signs our most important free-agent, Melky,  and what should done with players that have team options…. Brandon Morrow and JA Happ. 

An argument can be made that the development of Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, and Kendall Graveman has given the Blue Jays plenty of options for the 2015 rotation and the bullpen. If the Jays intention is to compete in 2015, than I agree that these young guys are good enough; however, if the Jays intentions are to win the American League East and eventually the World Series,  than I don’t agree. Winning the AL East requires depth at every position, not just prospect depth but veteran depth. 

Happ has been better than anyone could have expected, plus he’s a lefty, plus he’s pitched effectively out of the bullpen in the past. He hasn’t gotten light up in one of the best divisions in baseball. The Blue Jays hold a team option for 2016 worth 6.7 million, which for a veteran 5th starter is cheap. You know what you are getting with Happ. He has been healthy, other than a line drive to the head, and you know that he will dazzle you one start and frustrate you the next.

Morrow is the ultimate wildcard. He is a guy that has teased and frustrated fans over the past few years. At times his has showed the skill to become one of the more dominant  pitchers in the game, but a series of random injuries has made Morrow a gamble. Morrow has been fortunate to have not lost large amounts of games with shoulder/elbow issues. Most of the injuries that he has suffered have been of the random kind since 2011(index finger, strained forearm, strained oblique). The Jays hold a $10 million dollar option on Morrow for 2015, which many feel the Jays should not exercise.

What type of starter would the Jays be able to secure for a year at$10MM, well lets look at the pitchers that signed a one year deal this past off-season.

Dan Haren-$10MM

Jason Hammel-$6MM

Josh Johnson-$8MM

Chris Capuano-$2.25MM

Paul Maholm-$1.5MM

Hiroki Kuroda and A.J. Burnett– $16MM

Should the young guys be relied upon to provide important innings in 2015? I expect that Hutch, Stroman and Sanchez to be big contributors for the Jays as members of the Jays….at some point in ’15. Having Morrow and Happ will provide the Jays with that veteran presence that all winning teams require if they are serious about playing baseball in October, and at a reasonable price tag.   It also allows the Jays one more year with Morrow, who could finally put it all together and become the Ace we all hope he can be.

On the other side of the coin the Jays could use the $16.7MM to sign a 2nd baseman like Asdrubal Cabrera, maybe a 3rd baseman like Pablo Sandoval,  and/or a bottom of the rotation starter like Jason Hammel or Kyle Kendrick.

What would you do?

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