Based on the Blue Jays moves to improve their pitching staff so far, I can’t help but wonder if they’re employing a two arms for the price of one strategy.
Hear me out on this, and I’m more than aware that they could still add another starter before Spring Training gets underway. However, as the pitching staff is currently constructed, I’d be willing to bet that we’ll see some creativity from Charlie Montoyo and Pete Walker this year.
There’s little doubt about who the ace of the group is, and as long as Hyun Jin Ryu is healthy he’ll take the ball every fifth day, and he’ll likely throw without much restriction beyond pushing the odd start back a day to get some extra rest. After Ryu, there are a lot of question marks, starting with the extremely talented Nate Pearson. The problem for ‘Big Nate’ is that he really didn’t get to stretch out his arm as a professional last year, so it’s highly unlikely the Blue Jays will give him 30 starts in 2021. That’s one of the reasons depth will be important this season, and the Jays seem to be aware of that.
As for the rest of the rotation, I can’t help but wonder if we’re going to see a lot more use of a “bulk guy” scenario, or even two starters piggy-backing each other. Both strategies would help “starters” avoid seeing a batting order for a third time, a concept the Blue Jays seem to be fond of. I don’t know this for sure, but it almost feels like they’re betting on some flawed arms that could be used in a different way.
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What I mean is, what if the Blue Jays used an idea like this?
There’s an argument for keeping Ray down to facing an order just two times as well, so maybe Shun Yamaguchi could get into the act too. Depending on how they want to utilize their pitching depth throughout the organization, the Blue Jays could also use starters like Anthony Kay, Thomas Hatch, and Julian Merryweather in this way as well.
The reason I say the Blue Jays might be using a “two for one” strategy, is just the way they’ve allocated their resources. For 8.2 million they now have Matz and Chatwood in the fold, when in theory that money might have been enough to bring back Taijuan Walker (at least on an AAV). The same goes for retaining Ray at eight million and trading for Ross Stripling last year, who will make three million in 2021. None of them represents the #2 starter the Blue Jays seemingly need, but used in a different way, there might be something to the idea.
Am I believer in this strategy? Not really, if I’m being honest. I’m also not certain that this is what the Blue Jays are planning on doing, it just seems that way to me as I look over the depth chart right now. That said, I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’ll give the front office the benefit of the doubt, especially after they’ve made impact additions in other areas.
Even if the Blue Jays do sign another starter ahead of the 2021 campaign, I expect that we’ll see some creative use of the pitching staff again this year.