Blue Jays: All-time Jays rotation made up of pitchers that were never teammates

Aug 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Former Toronto Blue Jays pitchers Roy Halladay and Dave Stieb
Aug 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Former Toronto Blue Jays pitchers Roy Halladay and Dave Stieb / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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Current Competitive Window

With the Blue Jays now in another competitive window, could a current starter merit consideration for the all-time rotation list? Of course, that comes down to one of Hyun Jin Ryu, Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah.

While Ryu certainly posted some ace like numbers in the pandemic shortened 2020 season, going 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA (6th best single-season mark in Jays’ history, although in short season) and 3.01 FIP over 12 starts and 67.0 innings, the emergence of young ace Alek Manoah in 2021-22 surely trumps Ryu’s 49 starts overall for the Jays in his three seasons?

Manoah already has earned a spot on this ‘all-time rotation of pitchers who were never teammates’ by virtue of the monster start to his young career. With an All-Star nod and a third place Cy Young finish this year after a 2.24 ERA, good for second all-time on the Jays’ single-season ranking for starting pitchers after Roger Clemens’ 2.05 in his his 1997 Cy Young year, the soon-to-be 25-year-old deserves the benefit of the doubt despite only 51 career MLB starts to date. His 5.9 bWAR last year led the pitching staff and ranked him fifth overall in MLB, and his ERA+ of 174 was the second highest mark ever for any Jays starter not named Clemens, and was also the 5th highest mark in MLB in 2022.

His competitiveness, character and makeup were on full display for anyone who watched the 2022 All-Star game, and pending a big contract extension, he could be the Blue Jays’ Opening Day starter for the next decade, just like Stieb was in the 1980s and Halladay was in the 2000s.

So far we have an all-time Jays rotation of pitchers who were never teammates in Jimmy Key, Roy Halladay, David Price and Alek Manoah. Not bad! But wait, we need a fifth starter! Ryu and Gausman are out because they are current teammates of Manoah. Stroman and Dickey are out because they were on the same 2015 playoff rotation as Price. So who’s left? 1979 All-Star Dave Lemanczyk?

By a twist of fate, one name we’ve mentioned above didn’t overlap with any of our four starters. Any guesses? And while he’s certainly not better than any of Dave Stieb, Roger Clemens, Pat Hentgen, Juan Guzmán, Jim Clancy, Jack Morris, David Cone, David Wells or perhaps even Marcus Stroman, he makes this list by virtue of never having been a teammate of any of our all-time rotation.

So who is our fifth starter? If you guessed J.A. Happ, you are correct. He was actually traded to the Mariners for Victoria, B.C. native Michael Saunders at the December 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings and wasn’t resigned by the Jays as a free agent until November 27, 2015, importantly for this survey, after David Price had been granted free agency on November 2, 2015. So, indeed, they never overlapped as Blue Jay teammates.

Happ also adds another southpaw to the mix for balance, which doesn’t hurt from a roster building perspective; he certainly fits the bill as a fifth starter to provide depth, posting a 59-41 record, 3.88 ERA and 3.95 FIP over 745.1 innings as a Blue Jay, which resulted in 10.2 bWAR.

So there you have it, with our deepest apologies to Dave Stieb... the all-time Toronto Blue Jays rotation of pitchers who were never teammates:

1. Roy Halladay

2. Jimmy Key

3. David Price

4. Alek Manoah

5. J.A. Happ

What do you think Blue Jays fans? Fancy our World Series chances with that starting rotation, with each of those pitchers in their Jays’ prime? Who is missing from the list or is more deserving to be included? Who shouldn’t be on it? Let’s hear your thoughts as we wait for pitchers and catchers to report in Dunedin next month. Let’s go Blue Jays!

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