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Blue Jays: Taking A Shot At A Projected 2021 Starting Rotation

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 14: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees pitches during the fifth inning of their MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 14, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 14: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees pitches during the fifth inning of their MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 14, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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After subpar seasons from the majority of pitchers in the rotation, the Blue Jays are in need of adding some arms to help them compete in 2021. With a solid free-agent class in 2021, the Jays will likely be aggressive and acquire some more starting pitching.

The Blue Jays went out and surprised many people this past season when they clinched their first post-season appearance since 2016. With many of the young hitters under contract, it is evident that the Jays need to upgrade the starting rotation in hopes of contending next season.

I thought it might be fun to take a stab at predicting how things will look when the dust settles on this off-season. Here is how I believe the starting rotation is going to look in 2021:

5. Robbie Ray 

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Coming off a fairly inconsistent season, Robbie Ray just re-signed with the Blue Jays on a short one-year $8 million dollar contract. This likely ensures him a spot in the bottom of the rotation for this upcoming season. At only 29 years of age, the left-hander has put together some solid seasons including his best in 2017 where he was an All-Star and finished 7th in NL Cy Young voting. If Ray can get back to his ways and get some consistency back, it would be a major plus for this rotation.

4. Nate Pearson

After making his debut at the start of the shortened 2020 season, Nate Pearson experienced his ups and downs as a major league starter. With flashes of brilliance, Pearson showed that he is more than capable of being a big-league starter as long as he can stay healthy. Unfortunately, an injury cut his season short. I think we have seen enough of Nate to know that he has the potential to be a top of the rotation guy with his electric fastball. For now, we will put him at the four spot.

3. Corey Kluber

After signing with the Texas Rangers to begin the 2020 season, there were high expectations for Corey Kluber to go out and perform at a high level. However, an injury concluded his 2020 season and now Kluber goes into this free agency with numerous questions surrounding his name. Let’s not forget that only three years ago, Kluber took home his second Cy Young award. At 34 years of age, Kluber has had a rough couple of seasons in regards to injuries, however, his numbers when healthy cannot be overlooked. If he can stay healthy, he could be a great player that the Jays can likely sign at a reasonable price.

2. James Paxton

What a story it would be if the Blue Jays can sign one of the best Canadian pitchers in MLB. After a very solid first season with the Yankees in 2019, James Paxton suffered from the injury bug in 2020. Paxton’s numbers have been consistent throughout his career provided he’s been healthy, and at 32 years of age he appears to have some more gas in the tank. One thing that the Blue Jays lacked this past season was having a pitcher that can consistently go deep into games and give the team a chance to win. Paxton has consistently done that throughout his career as his career win percentage is a spectacular 63.3%.

1. Hyun Jin Ryu

Coming off a phenomenal season where he finished third in AL Cy Young voting, Hyun Jin Ryu has solidified himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball. Ryu was one of the lone bright spots in the Jays rotation this past season, as he led the team in almost every statistical category. Ryu now has back to back seasons where he finished top three in Cy Young voting and the most impressive part is that he switched from the NL to the AL this past year. Ryu does not appear to be slowing down any time soon, which is why he is once again going to be the ace of this rotation.

Next. Arguing for a Bautista-like extension for Hernandez. dark

Overall, there would certainly be some question marks surrounding this rotation heading into the 2021 season, but the Blue Jays would have to add Kluber and Paxton before it’s an actual consideration. But, if these guys can stay healthy and perform at the level that they are capable of performing, then the Jays would have a good chance to contend in 2021.

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