1. How important is the need for a fifth starter?
Ever since Alek Manoah was optioned to the Florida Complex League back on June 6th, the Jays have gone with a four-man rotation of Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, José Berríos, and Yusei Kikuchi to go along with a bullpen day whenever the fifth spot in the rotation came up, taking into account off days that could be used to skip that part in the rotation from time to time. As a short-term solution, this appeared to be feasible as the Jays currently have some arms in the bullpen that could go some length in Trevor Richards, Nate Pearson, Trent Thornton, and Mitch White.
However, as witnessed after a recent bullpen game against the Texas Rangers on June 17th, the Jays unfortunately followed it up with two horrendous outings from their starters in the next two games, forcing them to overtax their bullpen, resulting in Nate Pearson having his worst two outings so far this year and having recent callup and positional player Ernie Clement eventually even forced to pitch an inning to help ease the situation. This presents a huge issue that should not be overlooked, since if the Jays’ starters fail to produce quality starts and require frequent usage of the bullpen, along with a bullpen day every fifth start, their bullpen will eventually be overworked and that certainly won’t bode well as the year progresses on.
As a result, the Jays must make the decision on how much longer can they sustain this before they should add back a fifth starter to their rotation. When they do, do they bring one up from the minors (e.g. Bowden Francis), or should they pursue the trade route and secure a solid fifth man, with hopes that Manoah may be back later on in the season? To remain in serious contention, the Jays shouldn’t play around with this roster option too long before it’s beyond recovery.