Who should be the Blue Jays Opening Day starter for the 2022 season?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 26: Starting pitcher Alek Manoah #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays and catcher Danny Jansen #9 head to the dugout before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on September 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 26: Starting pitcher Alek Manoah #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays and catcher Danny Jansen #9 head to the dugout before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on September 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
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Blue Jays
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 09: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 09, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Kevin Gausman

The Blue Jays’ newest prized acquisition, Kevin Gausman takes his talents back to the AL East since being a first-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles back in 2012. A member of the Orioles for almost six seasons, Gausman would be traded to the Atlanta Braves before bouncing around to the San Francisco Giants in 2020, where he practically resurrected his career.

Owning a 4.22 ERA with the Orioles, Gausman spent two seasons with the Giants and became one of their top arms, pitching to a 3.00 through 45 appearances with 306 strikeouts and a 1.057 WHIP. In the Bay Area, Gausman posted a 2.4 BB/9 and a 10.9 K/9 and was one of the Blue Jays offseason targets last winter before he signed the Giants qualifying offer.

The move paid off for the Colorado product as the Jays initial offer of a three-year deal worth roughly $40 million turned into a five-year $110 million commitment that now creates one of the strongest rotations in the American League East. At the Rogers Centre, Gausman owns a 3.83 ERA through 12 outings (nine starts) with a 1.389 WHIP through 54.0 innings.

Gausman has two Opening Day starts, 2017 with Baltimore and 2021 with San Francisco:

2021: 6.2 IP; 2 hits; 1 ER; 2 BB; 6 K; 0 HR @ Seattle Mariners

2017: 5.1 IP; 5 hits; 2 ER; 4 BB; 4 SO; 0 HR vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays putting Gausman out for Opening Day makes a lot of sense since he is the biggest signing of the offseason (so far) and is coming off a strong two years with the Giants. Having him come out and start against Baltimore, where he spent six seasons, would also be a treat to watch as the fans start to get used to the new and improved pitcher over the next five seasons.

On the flip side, while having Gausman start the year against Baltimore would be fun to watch, having him also start the Home Opener against Tampa Bay on the following Monday (fourth starter in this scenario) would create a very raucous Rogers Centre atmosphere, that is, if the club begins the year in Toronto (all signs are pointing to it but you never know with COVID).

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While the move would not make the most sense in terms of putting your top pitchers at the head of the rotation, saving Gausman for a tougher Rays squad instead of throwing him out against Baltimore could make sense considering every win is important over the course of a full season.

A strong contender for Opening Day.