For some it may seem like yesterday, for others it may seem like far too long ago. In 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays finally reached the post season after 22 years of watching others play into October. It has now been five years and Toronto has seen a vast change over. Here is a look at where the starting rotation from that playoff year are today.
R.A. Dickey was entering his third season with the Blue Jays after being acquired from the New York Mets for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud among others. Dickey was the horse of the staff that season as he threw over 215 innings and posted an 11-11 record. While many fans weren’t the most confident when he took to the mound, he pitched great in his ALDS performance, surrendering just one run while pitching into the fifth inning. His ALCS performance against the Kansas City Royals was the opposite as he was pulled in the second inning after surrendering five runs on two home runs.
Dickey pitched for the Blue Jays when they made the playoffs in 2016, however he did not appear in any post season games. He would sign a one year deal for $7.5 million in 2017 with a club option with the Atlanta Braves, however they declined to pick up the option in 2018 and he wound up retiring.
Mark Buehrle was Mr. 200 innings for his entire career until he fell just four outs shy of reaching that mark in 2015. The Jays acquired Buehrle in a massive trade between Miami and Toronto before the 2013 season and he was very solid contributor in his three seasons. He finished the 2015 campaign with his highest win total in eight seasons as he went 15-8; however with the acquisition of David Price along with a team only needing four starters in the post season, Buehrle was left off the post season roster.
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Buehrle quietly walked away from baseball that offseason with no big press conference and no big farewell. Buerhle took with him 214 career wins, a perfect game, no hitter, and a World Series ring. Today, Buehrle plays first base on his beer league softball team and spends time being a dad.
Marco Estrada was acquired prior to the 2015 season for Adam Lind and will go down as one of the best post season pitchers in Blue Jays history. Estrada had a career season going 13-8 with a 3.13 ERA which led to him receiving Cy Young votes. The playoffs are where he really performed as he started three games, pitched nearly 20 innings, and picked up two wins.
Estrada would become a mainstay in the Blue Jays starting rotation for another three years after 2015 and had another amazing performance in the 2016 playoffs. In the ALDS, Estrada picked up the win and was just two outs shy of a complete game where he surrendered just one run on four hits. In the ALCS, he picked up two losses, which was more of a factor of lack of run support as he had a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings.
Back injuries in 2018 started to derail his career and the Blue Jays elected not to re-sign the free agent Estrada. He signed on with the Oakland Athletics for the 2019 season, but was able to pitch just 23 innings before being shut down and released on August 20. Estrada retired shortly after the release.
Drew Hutchison had one of the best-worst seasons in 2015. Hutchison started 28 games, had a 5.57 ERA and a nearly 1.50 WHIP, yet his pitching record was 13-5. Although he picked up a lot of wins, his overall performance left skipper John Gibbons nervous about relying on him, and Hutchison was left off the playoff roster. In 2016 he started the season with Toronto, but was traded on August 1st for a package which included current catcher Reese McGuire.
Hutchison would pitch in handful of game for Pittsburgh in 2016, but spend all of 2017 in their minor league system before being granted free agency that off-season. Between 2018 and 2019, Hutchison would continually be signed and released by teams as he joined six different organizations, but could never stick. In 2019 Hutchinson failed to make it back to the major leagues and he is currently without a contract anywhere.
David Price was the prize acquisition at the 2015 trade deadline. The Blue Jays traded three pitching prospects. Price immediately became a fan favourite as he was engaging with the public over his love for Rogers Center popcorn. It made it even easier to love him as he posted a 9-1 record with a 2.30 ERA over his 11 starts down the stretch. Once the playoffs came though Price struggled as he posted a 6.17 ERA over four appearances.
In the off-season the Blue Jays were hopeful they could re-sign Price to return to Toronto but it wasn’t to be. Price signed a massive seven year deal worth $217 million with a couple opt out clauses with the Boston Red Sox. Price has pitched through four of those years so far and had been a good starter for the most part, but injuries are starting hamper his career. He picked up a World Series ring with the Red Sox in 2018, but he’s now a member of the Dodgers after being a part of last week’s blockbuster.
Who was your favourite pitcher from that rotation and why?