Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays Winter Checklist: What else do they need?

TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: President Mark Shapiro looks on as Ross Atkins speaks to the media as Atkins is introduced as the new general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during a press conference on December 4, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: President Mark Shapiro looks on as Ross Atkins speaks to the media as Atkins is introduced as the new general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during a press conference on December 4, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Oct 14, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Kevin Gausman (34) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in game five of the 2021 NLDS at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

Not done with the rotation

The Blue Jays are in a very strong position with their starting rotation now that Gausman is reportedly under contract. That’s especially the case after Berrios’ extension earlier this offseason, and those two will pair at the top of the rotation as a formidable duo for the next five years.

On top of those two the Jays still have Hyun Jin Ryu for two more seasons, and while he’s no longer viewed as the ace of the staff by any means, he could be a high-end third or fourth starter. The Jays have to be encouraged about the future of Alek Manoah as well, who dominated at times during his rookie season and should be a rotation fixture for the foreseeable future.

Having four spots locked down is extremely significant, and it gives Ross Atkins and company a fair bit of flexibility when it comes to how they round things out. There is no longer a whole lot of urgency around the rotation, both for the 2022 season and into the future, so they can be a lot more patient and see what the free agent or trade markets give them.

My guess is that the Blue Jays will prioritize other areas of the roster now that Gausman is signed, but I still expect them to bring in another veteran to compete for the fifth rotation spot. In an ideal world that role would go to Nate Pearson, but it’s hard to rely on him to be a consistent fixture in the rotation. Ross Stripling remains under contract for another year, and there is still organizational depth like Thomas Hatch, Anthony Kay, and more.

It’s still very possible that the Blue Jays could look at the trade market to round out their rotation, but my guess is they’ll find a one-year deal for a veteran starter. Someone like Dylan Bundy would be ideal (I’d love to see what Pete Walker could do with him), but it may be a pitcher that agrees for even less than Bundy is bound to make.

It all depends on how the Blue Jays spend the rest of their offseason budget, but my guess is they’ll be content to roll the dice with a low-cost veteran. That worked out well when they acquired Steven Matz from the Mets last winter, and we may not see the eventual candidate acquired until January or February. The Blue Jays are certainly in a strong place heading into December though, and the rotation should be a strength again in 2022.

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