2. Starting pitching depth
When the Jays signed Chris Bassitt to replace Stripling during the offseason, it gave the club a strong starting five of Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, Bassitt, José Berríos, and Yusei Kikuchi, with each having the potential to be a middle-to-front-end of the rotation starter. The Jays believed that their set rotation alone could carry them to success for the 2023 season, without taking into consideration factors such as potential injuries and underperformances by their starters, as they had not pondered about adding adequate starting pitching depth as insurance.
They did have a minor trade transaction with the Pittsburgh Pirates, obtaining Zach Thompson for Chavez Young, but that was about it. Both Thompson and Mitch White were expected to be the ones filling in the holes in the rotation if any unexpected situation arose. But when Manoah was optioned to minors back in early June due to his struggles, the Jays outrighted Thompson to Buffalo instead, and White was only reinstated to the roster later in June as a long man for their bullpen, leaving the Jays with a four-man rotation even as we speak.
There currently isn’t any candidate that the Jays could trust from their minor league system that they could insert directly into the rotation with confidence to replace Manoah, and this fault can be put on the shoulders of GM Atkins for not adequately providing the team with the necessary pitching depth needed to sustain a solid starting rotation if any adversity was met. As a result, the Jays have been forced to utilize a bullpen day every time the fifth rotation spot came up, which could have big repercussions as the season wears on.