Blue Jays: Ross Atkins outlines plans for 2021 pitching staff

Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins put a bow on the 2020 season while shedding some light on their plans for 2021.

Ross Atkins outlined which Blue Jays pitchers would be stretched out as starters heading into next season. The General Manager tabbed Anthony Kay, Julian Merryweather, Thomas Hatch, and Elvis Luciano as players who resume starting in 2021.

Atkins indicated that Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid-Foley, Patrick Murphy, Yennsy Diaz, and Hector Perez would all remain as relievers moving forward. The Borucki decision is somewhat surprising although the southpaw did impress in 21 appearances out the bullpen in 2020.

All the above-mentioned hurlers tossed out of the bullpen in 2020, however, Merryweather made three starts in an opener type role. The 28-year old Merryweather showed flashes of brilliance while overpowering opposition hitters at times throughout his eight games. He finished the campaign with a 4.15 earned run average while fanning 15 in 13 total innings of work.

The Blue Jays acquired Thomas Hatch from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for David Phelps at the 2019 trade deadline. Hatch not only impressed in his first taste of the majors but put himself on the radar for a spot in the starting rotation next season.

The 26-year old made 17 appearances accumulating a 2.73 earned run average while striking out 23 in 26.1 innings.

Anthony Kay is hopeful of a spot in the rotation in 2021, the southpaw struggled out of the bullpen going 2-0 with an inflated 5.14 earned run average in 13 games out of the bullpen. The hurler was part of the package that came back from the Mets in the Marcus Stroman trade.

The brain trust will have some decisions to make in regards to pitchers Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson before the 2021 season begins. Roark signed a 2-year/ $24 million dollar contract last offseason and is still owed $12 million for next season. The 33-year old struggled in his 11 starts as a Blue Jays pitching to the tune of a 6.80 earned run average.

Anderson did not pitch any better than Roark, however, the team holds a team option for $9.5 million with a 500 K buyout. In 10 games, Anderson sported a 7.22 earned run average and seems like a strong buyout candidate this offseason.