With the July 31st Trade Deadline come and gone, the Toronto Blue Jays rotation will look a little different for the remainder of 2017
The Toronto Blue Jays have provided a very clear picture of how they will approach the rest of the 2017 season. Heading into the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, GM, Ross Atkins said that he would be looking to the future; at years of control, etc in order to improve the team. He wasn’t blowing smoke. Looking ahead has made one thing clear about the 2017 season: the Toronto Blue Jays are not going to making the postseason.
Things can still happen in August, but looking at the starting rotation, it is very clear how the remaining months of this season will go with regards to any thoughts of postseason baseball.
Francisco Liriano has been traded to the Houston Astros, opening up a spot in the rotation. Aaron Sanchez is still on the DL with that @#$!&# blister issue. So, right now, the Blue Jays have two spots in their rotation to fill. That is not even addressing any potential trades, or injuries, that could happen in August.
The two spots will likely be filled with options that Blue Jays fans will not be thrilled with. Firstly, you can forget about Joe Biagini. After 11 starts, he has been moved back to the bullpen. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where he is thrust back into a starting role. He’s at 86 innings for the season, which is more than his 2016 count. He has starter experience in the minor leagues, so it isn’t unfathomable, but it looks like the club would prefer to keep his innings down for the remainder of the season and possibly look at him for next year’s rotation.
[Note: It should be added that Gibby has said that Cesar Valdez has earned another start, so we have to include him in this discussion, which may add to the underwhelming-ness of it all.]
That means that we will likely see Mike Bolsinger take the mound on a regular basis. The 29 year old from Chicago has seen action in 10 games this year, making 5 starts. In his 44 innings of work, he has presented a mixed bag of results. He has a 4 strike out inning to his credit, which is not a surprise since he will collect his share of whiffs. He has 39 in his 44 innings. It is the other aspects of that mixed bag that frustrate a good number of people. He is issuing free passes to the tune of 5.3 per 9 innings and more than a hit per inning for a WHIP of 1.659.
|4 Yr||4 Yr||4 Yr||4 Yr||8||19||4.77||47||41||230.1||247||122||33||95||210||1.485||9.7||1.3||3.7||8.2|
At the beginning of the season, there were many times when the Blue Jays could have called up Bolsinger, but they chose to go with options like Mat Latos. He spent the year waiting for his chance, being DFA’d and moving back and forth to Buffalo. Well, now it looks like there are no other options and they will have to provide Bolsinger with an extended opportunity.
Another option for the rotation is Brett Oberholtzer.
JP Howell rejoins Blue Jays tonight; Brett Oberholtzer also on his way up from triple-A Buffalo
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) July 31, 2017
Now, if you thought that Bolsinger was unimpressive, get ready for Oberholtzer. His last extended stint in the majors came in 2014 with Houston where he threw 143.2 inning to a 4.39 ERA. This year, for the AAA Buffalo Bisons, he has a 3-7 mark with a 4.48 ERA in 94.1 IP. The 114 hits in 94 innings is not encouraging, neither are the 33 BB to 59 K. His 1.558 WHIP in AAA will have people screaming for Sanchez to return if it continues. And, it is difficult to imagine that a guy having this kind of year in AAA coming up to the big leagues and suddenly turning things around. But, for now, the 28 yr old lefty may be a place holder for
if when Sanchez returns.
|4 Yr||4 Yr||4 Yr||4 Yr||14||23||4.36||82||44||15||324.0||365||157||41||87||220||1.395||10.1||1.1||2.4||6.1|
Again, a lot can happen between now and the end of the season. But, since there are no young stars that appear ready to make the jump to the big leagues, the remainder of 2017 will simply be what it will be. The rotation will be filled out by players who many feel should not be making regular starts for this big league team. But, reality of a train wreck of a season being what it is means that the Blue Jays have no choice.
One could over emphasize the narrative of trading away a starting pitcher signifying the end of the 2017 season, if one chose to. Instead, it’ll suffice to say that the July 31st Trade Deadline simply solidified what management has been saying: they’re looking at competing in 2018. So, while the 2017 season is not over, the chase for a playoff spot just might be. The way the starting rotation looks to play out, it is difficult to imagine anything else.
*Featured Image Credit: Joel Dinda UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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