So far this offseason the Jays have made a couple of big signings. Kevin Gausman was signed to replace American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. They also signed Yimi Garcia to help shore up the bullpen.
There is still work to be done with this roster. I believe the Jays could use a fifth starter to round out what should be a really good rotation. I believe the Jays would benefit from adding a high-quality reliever to help finish games. The Jays might also benefit from adding another bat to play in their infield.
As constructed, the top four of the Blue Jays rotation seems set. Gausman and Jose Berrios will be a very good one-two punch at the top of their rotation. Alek Manoah is coming off of a very strong rookie year and looks to be a fixture in the Jays rotation for years to come.
Hyun-Jin Ryu struggled in the second half but is still a reliable arm to throw into any rotation. If he’s your fourth starter then the rotation is in good shape.
1) Kevin Gausman
2) Jose Berrios
3) Alek Manoah
4) Hyun-Jin Ryu
5) Ross Stripling
The fifth starter is where things get interesting. Right now I have Ross Stripling listed, but I really don’t think he’s good enough to have a locked role in the rotation. I think he’s fine as a long reliever in a mop-up role, or occasionally give a spot start but other than that I’m just not a huge Stripling guy.
If the season started tomorrow, what would the Blue Jays 26-man roster look like?
Stripling went 5-7 with a 4.80 ERA in 24 appearances (19 starts) for the Jays last season. He allowed 2.0 HR/9 and had a 5.21 FIP which suggests his ERA was better than it maybe should have been.
The Blue Jays do have some competition, but not much. The obvious name is Nate Pearson, but can he stay healthy? And if he is healthy, will he be effective? Both of those answers have been no so far. I believe Pearson is more likely to be used in the bullpen or in AAA.
Another guy I believe can compete for the fifth starter job is Thomas Hatch. He’s made just three major league starts which makes it hard for me to believe that he will win this job on Opening Day, but he’s a name to keep your eye on.
I think Stripling is the guy for that spot if the season were to start immediately with the potential of using an opener in that spot as well.