Blue Jays: Five paths to getting a top of the rotation starting pitcher

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws against the Colorado Rockies during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws against the Colorado Rockies during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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SURPRISE, AZ – NOVEMBER 03: Starting pitcher AFL West All-Star, Nate Pearson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a warm-up pitch during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Stand pat and be patient

I left this option for last, mostly because it’s not really a path to adding a top of the rotation arm. At least not one that they don’t already have.

That said, the Blue Jays should have at least one starter arriving at the highest level some time in 2020 that’s better than anyone they have. Nate Pearson has the potential to be a true ace for the Blue Jays, but with that said, they’re going to bring his development along at a slow and appropriate pace. After breaking his arm on a come-backer in the first starter of his first full professional season in 2018, he only has 123.1 pro innings under his belt.

It seems like an inevitability that the big right-hander lands in the big leagues sometime in 2020, with my guess being that it happens shortly after the All-Star break. It’ll give the coaching and training staff a chance to control his workload early in the year, and also gives him a chance to prove that he’s ready to pass Triple-A. He did look pretty well past it in a short sample size last year though, going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts.

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In a perfect world the Blue Jays would be able to add someone to lead their rotation in 2020, and that same pitcher could pair with Pearson at the top of the group when this team is truly ready to contend. Atkins needs to be doing whatever is necessary to find that high-end arm before Opening Day, but if they can’t get it done, that could create an important opportunity.

As things stand, it’s likely that Trent Thornton, Ryan Borucki, and Anthony Kay will be battling for the fifth spot in the rotation, assuming the Blue Jays bring in one more starter. I might be bias (I definitely am), but I believe in the potential of all three of those pitchers to be solid MLB starters. At least one of them is going to have to start their season in Buffalo as things stand now, and more likely two of them will begin the campaign in Triple-A. Ideally they would serve as depth to a stronger group, but if they’re pressed into action in 2020 then it shouldn’t be the end of the world either. Who knows, it might even work out for the best in the long run.

That said, I’m not trying to talk myself or anyone else in to settling for the work that’s already been done. The Blue Jays could really use one more starting pitcher to round out their group for next season, and it needs to be someone who is better than anyone they already have. That’ll be important in 2020, but even more so in 2021 and beyond as this team starts shifting into more of a contender’s mindset.

Next. What comes next after the Winter Meetings?. dark

If the front office wants their fan base, and more importantly, their young core to start thinking like a winner, adding another starter should be extremely important. Fortunately, there are several ways they can get it done, if they want they choose.

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