After weeks of wondering what to do with Alek Manoah, he essentially helped make the decision for the Blue Jays. Following his humiliation on Monday night versus Houston, he has been optioned to the rookie-level Florida Complex League.
The main problem with this is finding a decent replacement for Manoah. The reality is the Blue Jays have a lack of quality starting pitching depth to call on.
As such, it might be time to starting looking outside the organization, even with eight weeks still to go until the Aug. 1 trade deadline. The question is, who should the Blue Jays target, who would be considered an inexpensive and obtainable short-term option, while also being a good addition to the rotation?
An under-the-radar option
One underrated possibility is Michael Lorenzen, who is having a fine year in Detroit. Along with a 3.21 ERA, he is on course to set single-season career-bests in WHIP (0.994), as well as hits and walks per nine innings (6.9 and 2.0 respectively).
Even considering Lorenzen at one point this season would have been perceived as asinine. He got lit up in two of his first three starts of the year during a miserable April, resulting in a 7.07 ERA and 1.643 WHIP.
Since then however, the 31-year-old has been excellent in all but one of his subsequent seven outings. During this period he has produced a 1.83 ERA and 0.763 WHIP.
Interestingly, Lorenzen just returned to being a starting pitcher last season, while in Los Angeles with the Angels. Prior to this, he had only been a regular in the rotation during his rookie year in 2015, before mostly seeing time out of the bullpen during his tenure in Cincinnati.
The 2012 All-American has up to seven pitches he can use, but his tremendous fastball is his best weapon, even though you can argue he doesn't produce enough strikeouts. As a bonus, he can even play as an outfielder if necessary.
Part of Lorenzen's success can be attributed to his intelligence and attention to detail. A good example of this comes from a couple of years ago, when he was still with the Reds.
As per Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, the righty hates wearing long sleeves under his jersey. However, he still wears them, even on particularly hot days.
The reason for this is because Lorenzen realised he was tipping his pitches. Opposing clubs could literally see how he was changing his grip in his glove, due to how his pronounced forearm veins were moving.
Serenity results in confidence
In terms of his success after the inconsistent start to the year, Lorenzen seems to be in a zone. Speaking to McCosky and other members of the media, he recently said:
"It feels really good to show up and feel in control. It feels really simple. I’m trusting my catchers. I’ve hardly shaken off a pitch. They’ve done a great job handling the game plan inside the game and I’m just trying to execute pitches."
Any thoughts about the Tigers wanting to keep Lorenzen will theoretically be fading. After a promising start to the 2023 campaign, the losses are beginning to rack up.
In any event, you also imagine the Tigers would like to get something for the 2013 first round draft pick, with him set to be an unrestricted free agent when this season concludes. The Blue Jays should seriously consider making the inquiry about a pitcher who can immediately help their rotation.