Blue Jays: How legitimate are Floyd’s rotation chances?


Blue Jays starter Gavin Floyd is beginning to impress in spring training camp as he takes part in a crowded competition for a back-end rotation spot

Gavin Floyd will be watching the return of Marco Estrada from a back injury very closely.

Amid the competition for the Toronto Blue Jays fifth rotation job, Estrada’s slow beginning to spring camp could develop into a situation of increased opportunity for names like Floyd, Jesse Chavez, Drew Hutchison, Roberto Hernandez and several others.

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“The back’s feeling good, feeling strong,” Estrada told Richard Griffin of The Star. “I’ve just got to build it up a little bit more and get the shoulder going.”

Estrada did throw from a mound for the first time last Friday, and even before the minor injury, the Blue Jays had already decided to ease him in slowly after a career-high workload that stretched in to the club’s 2015 playoff run.

Enter Gavin Floyd. Well, maybe.

The idea that Floyd would be first in line to grab that final rotation spot, or even beat out Aaron Sanchez in a direct competition for the number five job, still isn’t something I’m putting my dollar on. Floyd has done his part to help his case, though, striking out four over 5.0 innings of spring work with a 3.60 ERA.

“Spring training is a month of adjustments,” Floyd told Scott MacArthur of TSN. “Some games you’ll be off, some games you’ll be on and just try to be consistent as much as possible when you’re trying to get back in the groove of things.”

Still, with the bulked-up Aaron Sanchez touching 98 MPH and fine-tuning his curveball, he looks to be frontrunner. This is not to mention Jesse Chavez, who may be a more direct form of competition to Floyd. With Floyd’s velocity and the potential that he can bump that up in shorter bursts, he cold be a more attractive bullpen option than a pure inning-eater in Chavez.

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Hutchison will have every opportunity, as well. Yes, Floyd’s major league deal and Hutchison’s options complicate this, but I don’t expect the new regime to let player 26 leapfrog player 25 like we’ve seen in past pitching decisions.

Floyd is certainly valuable to this pitching staff, but even in the (still unlikely) scenario that Estrada requires a delayed start to his season, Floyd would still need an injury or poor performance ahead of him to be given any leading role in a conversation for a rotation job.