Blue Jays: Who will be the team’s fifth starting pitcher?

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 21: Manager Charlie Montoyo #25 of the Toronto Blue Jays signals the bullpen to make a pitching change against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. the Blue Jays won the game 5-4. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 21: Manager Charlie Montoyo #25 of the Toronto Blue Jays signals the bullpen to make a pitching change against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. the Blue Jays won the game 5-4. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 25: Jacob Waguespack #62 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning during a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on September 25, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 25: Jacob Waguespack #62 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning during a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on September 25, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Jacob Waguespack, T.J. Zeuch

I included these two because they performed well enough last season to warrant consideration, even if I think they’ll be on the outside looking in.

As far as I’m concerned, the Blue Jays have already received their value back on Jacob Waguespack when you consider he was acquired from the Phillies for two months of Aaron Loup. He earned 1.0 bWAR last year while making 13 starts (16 appearances), and posted a 4.38 ERA and a 1.333 WHIP over 78 innings. To call him a pleasant surprise would be putting it lightly.

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Do I think he can do it again? Not particularly, although I’m a big fan of the him being a part of the starting pitching depth chart, especially if he’s this far down. He’s shown that he can give the Blue Jays some solid innings, and he wasn’t intimidated when pitching against some of the best teams in baseball last year, having his highlight-performance against the Dodgers in August. That said, I feel like he’s destined to start the year in Buffalo, regardless of how well he shows during Spring Training.

I’m afraid the same likely goes for T.J. Zeuch, who was also fairly solid during a late-season audition in 2019. He made three starts and two more relief appearances, pitching to a 4.76 ERA and a 1.456 WHIP over 22.2 innings. Although he proved himself capable, I’m guessing he’s roughly 10th on the depth chart going into 2020. That likely means he’ll start the year in Buffalo as well, but if history is any indication, the Blue Jays will need him at some point next season.

As we’ve already discussed, it’s a lot nicer place to be for the Blue Jays to have 10 legitimate starting options, and the off-season isn’t even over yet. According to TSN’s Scott Mitchell, there’s even a chance that trading for David Price could even remain on the table, although that seems unlikely now that Ryu is coming to Toronto.

Next. Signing Travis Shaw should push Drury out. dark

Either way though, Charlie Montoyo will have a lot of reliable options to turn to next season, and with an talented and exciting young offence, the Blue Jays could surprise some people in 2020. Some folks will tell you that a baseball team will only go as far as the pitching staff will carry them, and thankfully the Blue Jays finally have a MLB-worthy group.

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