Blue Jays Spring Freak Outs a Yearly Occurrence
It really isn’t going to be that bad boys and girls. Truly. The earth still spins on its axis, Canada is still frikken cold and the Blue Jays will soldier on without Marcus Stroman. Now don’t get me wrong. Stroman was a huuuuge part of the coming success of the 2015 edition of YOUR Toronto Blue Jays but we need to gain a little bit of perspective here.
Stroman was as good as advertised last season. 3.29 ERA as a starter, 2.2 walks per 9 etc etc etc. We have all seen and absorbed the stats through the pores of our baseball luvin’ skin. Stroman was taking the steps towards becoming the ace of what could potentially be a division winning starting five. R.A. Dickey will Wakefield his was way to a 13 win season. Mark Buehrle will bulldog his way to about 14-15 wins and Drew Hutchison should do just fine now that he has found his slider. That’s three average to better than average arms being trotted out every fifth day. As fellow scribe Eric Elliot pointed out the Blue Jays need to stay the course.
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Daniel Norris, as it stands now, seems to have the inside track on the fourth starters job. Marco Estrada looked horrid versus the Rays on Thursday and may have pitched his way into the bullpen and out of the competition for the fifth starter gig. So who is best suited for the number 5? The fifth starter is usually a journeyman or a rookie getting his feet wet. He is important but not crucial to the survival of the teams fortunes. It’s the spot in the rotation that will most likely need the bullpen to pitch 3 or 4 innings to finish the game off…well unless you are the Washington Nationals..
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports is already lining up the Diamondbacks as a potential trade partner. I generally do not have a problem with his thinking. The D’Backs just lost their back up catcher and the first stringer is a wee bit of a mystery unto himself (who the heck is Tuffy Gosewisch anyway??). With extra starting arms in the bank the D’Backs look like a perfect trading partner. If it brings back a Trevor Cahill then go for it. If it brings back a Rubby De La Rosa…well…is he that much better than what the Blue Jays already have in camp?
Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna are being bandied about as potentials to throw into the rotation. I say why not? But there is a caveat…if Johan Santana is truly progressing he would be the obvious choice here. Thing is he probably will not be ready for Opening Day. So until then, why not throw one of these kids in there the first month of the season and see how they react? If at the end of April they are getting shelled then you put in Santana as the fifth starter and continue to search for more. If they aren’t then you have a great asset in AAA Buffalo. It creates more depth.
Aaron Sanchez? He should not be considered just yet. Stretch him out more in the minors and if Santana or the kid falters you bring him up in May or June…especially if he pitchers lights out in Buffalo. Sanchez has more value a a starter than he ever has for the Blue Jays. With Stroman going down in necessitates a re-evaluation of the projected pathways to the majors of the kids. The Jays have lots of great arms coming through…taking a one month flyer on one of these kids who is killing it in the spring seems to be a no-brainer. If he succeeds you keep him up. If he doesn’t you have Santana and enough good arms that you don’t need to trade for a starter. Maybe you use Dioner Navarro as leverage to get a closer-type….or a second baseman…or anything…
So rest assured Blue Jays fanatics. The loss of Stroman hurts but may not be as bad as it seems. All it takes is one of the arms to step up and show the team he is ready to be the next Marcus Stroman. It’s an interesting time to be a fan of this team. We are starting to see the fruits of drafting labour progressing and poking their heads up. Don’t knee-jerk a trade. The Orioles killed it last year without an ace. The Athletics always seem to get by with pitchers you never heard of or gave much regard to year after year. Why can’t the Jays be that team this year? Anyone?
This happens to all teams. It’s almost like a spring fling every year. Player X goes down and now Twitter breaks and guys start freaking out and players shrug it off and the General Manager has to appease the masses and tell them what they already know. Things are going to be allllllright. Now settle down you crazy kids and let things progress and have some faith…just a little.