The pieces that are already in place
Jose Berrios – 12-9 | 3.52 ERA | 1.06 WHIP | 192 IP | 204 K
Ross Atkins paid a huge price at the trade deadline to acquire Jose Berrios who had one year of team control left. Berrios is a work horse who is a front of the rotation type pitcher. He has thrown at least 192 innings each season since 2018, excluding the 2020 COVID shortened year. While he does not have a contract right now, the Blue Jays are the only team that are eligible to sign him unless he is traded. MLB Trade Rumors gave him an estimated arbitration value of $10.9 million on a one year deal. I am sure Atkins and Mark Shapiro are doing what they can to lock him up longer term. With the current roster makeup, I would pick Berrios as the Opening Day starter.
Hyun Jin Ryu – 14-10 | 4.37 ERA | 1.23 WHIP | 169 IP | 143 K
Hyun Jin Ryu will be entering the third year of a four year deal that pays him $20 million per season. Ryu had a big decline in his numbers this season, which may have been caused by some injuries he was fighting through. Had the Blue Jays made the playoffs, there could have been a chance he would have been left off of the postseason roster.
Ryu’s track record and pitching style leads me to believe he will bounce back in 2022. When the Blue Jays signed him, I believe they did so thinking by this time of his contract he wouldn’t be the ace any longer and that looks to be the case. Ryu took the mound in the season finale in a must-win game for the Blue Jays and he pitched quite effectively allowing just two runs through five innings to collect the win. With no significant additions, Ryu will likely be the number two guy next year, but could be surpassed by a younger pitcher.
Alek Manoah – 9-2 | 3.22 ERA | 1.05 WHIP | 111.2 IP | 127 K
Since the day the Blue Jays drafted Alek Manoah you could see he was going to be a big league ball player. Manoah oozes confidence and has an obvious desire to get better all the time. Manoah started the season in Triple-A Buffalo, however after three starts, which included three wins and allowing just one run over 18 innings while striking out 27, he was called up to the big leagues.
Manoah does not look like anything intimidates him as he made his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium in New York. All he did was throw six shutout innings on seven strike outs and two hits. Manoah had 20 starts in his rookie season, which he only allowed more than two runs in five of them. You typically would prefer a younger guy like Manoah to be further down in the rotation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the top two guys by the end of next season.