While it’s always a risk to trade away starting pitching depth, but with emerging depth the Blue Jays should maybe consider dealing Chase Anderson.
It’s pretty amazing to see the transformation between last year’s Blue Jays roster and the one that Charlie Montoyo is working with these days. The biggest difference, without question, is the quality and the depth of the starting rotation.
Last year Montoyo was forced to use a “rotation” that at times literally only included two actual starting pitchers. The Blue Jays utilized the “opener” strategy far more than they should be in an ideal situation, but there weren’t many other choices. At one point Montoyo gave a candid answer about why Edwin Jackson was still starting after struggling so badly, admitting that he had no other options available at the time.
Fast forward to today and I would argue that the Blue Jays have as many as 11 viable starting pitchers. We’re not just talking about pitchers that are capable of throwing a MLB inning or two either. In my mind, there are as many as 8-9 guys that I wish the Blue Jays had a consistent spot for. And because of all of that, I’m going to suggest something awfully drastic considering we’re only three games into the season. I think the Blue Jays should consider trading Chase Anderson.
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I realize that in order for that to be a reality, Anderson will need to return and prove that he’s healthy and capable of taking the ball every fifth day. However, as things stand right now, I don’t know that he’s in the Blue Jays’ top five starting options, which leads me to think that it could be worth exploring a possible trade.
We saw Thomas Hatch and Anthony Kay both pitch well against the Rays on Sunday, and they could have been acting as placeholders for the third spot in the rotation at the moment. I say that because Nate Pearson is expected to make his MLB debut sometime next week, and it would make the most sense that he would step in to that spot. If that’s the case, here’s how the rotation looks to line up:
Assuming those five arms can all stay healthy, there may not be a spot for Anderson when he’s healthy enough to join the team anyway. In addition, the Blue Jays could turn to a plethora of different starters if they’re needed.
*Probably not going to pitch in the big leagues this year, but likely could if necessary*
Again, remember that we’re only looking at 60-game season, so it should be easier to get through the season with a healthy rotation. Of course, Covid-19 could change that in a real hurry and the Blue Jays have to be mindful of that, but they have a lot of depth right now, especially when you compare it to the 2019 version of this team.
Going back to Anderson, it might be prudent to consider trading him now due to his contract as well. He was due to make 8.5 million this year over the course of a full season, and his contract calls for an option of 9.5 million in 2021 if the Blue Jays retain him. The thing is, if he’s not one of their best starting options right now, does anyone think he will be in 2021? And if not, does it make sense to pay him 9.5 million?
For all of those reasons, if I’m sitting in Ross Atkins’ chair right now then I’d certainly be considering my options. It’s nothing against Anderson per say, but I’m not sure the Blue Jays would have traded for him if they knew they were going to get Ryu and Roark, while also re-signing Shoemaker. It was wise to secure the depth, especially with the available payroll they had, but now that they look to be in an enviable position it could be worth having a look at the trade market.
There will always be teams looking for starting pitching, and oddly enough, the Blue Jays may have the depth to deal from. Anderson will need to prove that he’s healthy first, but after that happens then it will be a situation worth monitoring.