No. 3: The power of depth
Since taking the reigns this offseason, general manager Ross Atkins and president Mark Shapiro have circled “DEPTH” in bright red pen. It hasn’t been the sexiest offseason strategy, but come July or August, you’ll be thanking them.
Positional depth is very encouraging entering the season, and at nearly every position, the Blue Jays can afford to take an injury without dropping off to an incapable replacement. The outfield will have options aplenty with Pompey, Lake, Ceciliani, or Domonic Brown, while first basemen Casey Kotchman and Jesus Montero could represent the classic “safe depth” and “dice roll” from the triple-A level.
The catching position is still thin, but offseason additions of Humberto Quintero and Tony Sanchez have begun to repair the upper minors while A.J. Jimenez may still slip through to Buffalo. At nearly every infield and outfield position, the Blue Jays also have Andy Burns coming off a very impressive spring training.
It’s on the mound, though, where Toronto’s best depth work has taken place.
Beyond the starting five in the rotation, Toronto has Gavin Floyd, Jesse Chavez, and 2015 opening day starter Drew Hutchison waiting. Floyd and Chavez could be starting on many teams in the league, while Hutchison’s raw upside could see him return to a middle-of-the-rotation arm at some point this year for the Jays.
From the right side, a pool of veteran arms from Buffalo like David Aardsma, Chad Jenkins, Ben Rowen, or eventually Bo Schultz (hip injury) could provide solid depth. Add Conner Greene to that list later in the season, and if John Stilson can finally remain healthy, he’s a dark horse candidate to be the impact arm that very few people saw coming.
Next: No. 2: Triple trouble on the back end for Toronto