We’ve already talked about how we see the rotation rolling out a few times here at Jays Journal, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least cover it here.
One of the big questions for this new regime will be whether or not Montoyo and company plan on using the “Opener” concept this season. For those unfamiliar with the idea, it’s become more popular in recent years for managers to start a reliever and have them go through the lineup once, and then have a bullpen day for the rest of the game. It’s been effective for some teams like Montoyo’s former employer in Tampa Bay, and it’s possible that the Blue Jays could use it from time to time in 2019.
That said, my assumption is Montoyo will wait until the injury bug bites before going that route, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point. With that being said, here’s my guess for how things begin in the rotation on Opening Day:
2- Ryan Borucki
3- Matt Shoemaker
4- Clayton Richard
One thing I’m sure most of you noticed right away was that I didn’t include Aaron Sanchez. It’s not that I don’t think he’ll be a big part of the rotation this year, it’s that I have very little faith he’ll be ready in time for his first start. The reason I say that is because the last thing we heard is that he’s recovering well from offseason surgery on his finger, and hopes to be ready in time for Opening Day. Even with the positive report, it’s the wording from Sanchez himself from a mid-January article from Sportsnet that makes me predict a delayed start.
"“(My) throwing program is a little slower than normal only because I want to make sure I’m using my fingertips and the ball is coming off my finger the right way.”"
The rest of the report paints a positive picture and reasons for optimism for Sanchez’s future, so hopefully he can finally regain the form that made him one of the best starters in the American League a couple seasons ago. If all goes well he should be ready to join the team very soon into the new campaign, if not for his first turn in the rotation.
My guess is if there’s a need for a fifth rotation arm that Reid-Foley would get the first shot. It’s also possible the Blue Jays could elect to use Richard in the bullpen as well if they want to start Reid-Foley in the big leagues as well, or if they sign another starter before Opening Day.