The Toronto Blue Jays will enjoy a rather exciting offense in a few years, the rotation could be a different story
The Toronto Blue Jays are terrible this year. They’re dead last in MLB in batting average, second last in OBP, 26th in OPS and stolen bases. On the other side of the game, the starting rotation is 27th in ERA and K/9, last in WHIP and BB/9 and 28th in H/9. Yeah, they bad.
The only thing that makes it OK (it IS OK) is that there are some very intriguing bats that will be around for a very long time. Obviously, when Vladimir Guerrero Jr.comes into his own, he’s going to be worth the wait, but there are others who will make up a very exciting lineup. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.has shown the kind of bat he can bring. After his demotion, he’s come back with a vengeance. He’s put up 1.8 fWAR, hitting 17 homers and slash line of .292/.339/.597.
Adding Cavan Biggio looks to be a nice addition with his on base ability. Sure, his .221 average doesn’t exactly cause you to drool, but getting on base in front of Vlad Jr and Gurriel, showing some speed and a bit of pop is certainly welcome. If Danny Jansen can return his bat to what it was in 2017 and 2018 in Buffalo, it adds another excellent bat to this mix. Then, of course, Bo Bichette will be up soon and adding his offensive prowess to this group.
Now, we assume that it takes players a year or two to really come into their own at the big league level, the 2021 season could be very special, if not the following season. By then, they could be joined by guys like Anthony Alford (remember him?), Kevin Smith, Logan Warmoth, Kacy Clemens (Rowdy Tellez can hold a spot until then), Forrest Wall, Chavez Young and Samad Taylor will be added to the mix. There is a very intriguing mix of power and speed in this group.
Granted, some of these guys could be traded to bring in pitching, which brings me to the other side of this discussion and why the Blue Jays will be HALF decent. Looking at the next few years, it is not exactly clear how the starting rotation will be much better than what it is right now, which is a sad truth.
Marcus Stroman is likely about to have his time in Toronto come to an end. And, while it would be nice to see him traded in July and signed again in the winter, as Jays From the Couch-er, Karen Soutar wrote, it doesn’t seem like something we should hold our breath for. That puts Toronto down their best starter. Ryan Borucki is about to return, which is something we all should celebrate. However, we really can’t expect him to be the “Ace”, as much as we love him. One would think that Aaron Sanchez could take that and run with it, but one would be kidding oneself. Sanchez has created a mess for himself as far as exactly what his future holds. He probably should be moved to the bullpen, which takes out another arm in the rotation.
Trent Thornton has been up and down this year, but could get more consideration next year. The same can be said for Jacob Waguespack. Looking beyond them, you find the likes of Thomas Pannone, Julian Merryweather and Sean Reid-Foley. Most fans will tell you they’ve seen enough of Reid-Foley to make a decision about his spot in the rotation moving forward. Those fans would probably also say that this group doesn’t sound like it offers much support for Borucki.
By 2021, though, there could be some additions in the form of Nate Pearson and T.J. Zeuch. Pearson is the closest to a “sure thing” (as if there is such a thing) that the Blue Jays have. There are a couple interesting names in AA like Jon Harris (Rule 5 eligible) and Patrick Murphy.
So, let’s project a rotation, shall we? Borucki, Pearson, Zeuch, Merryweather and one of Thornton or Waguespack seem to be the most likely, if we can project a rotation over two years in advance. Does this sound like a rotation that the future offense needs? No need to answer, I can see you shaking your head.
The only saving grace is that the Blue Jays will have money to spend by then. With major contracts coming off the books, they could look to free agency to add starting pitching. Of course, the downside of that is that we know this front office would prefer not to spend on the open market. That isn’t to say they won’t, but they’d rather go about obtaining talent in other ways. So, again we return to the idea of trading positional talent for more established starters. It is not unheard of, especially for people who used to work in Cleveland.
Regardless of how the Blue Jays go about improving their rotation, the fact is that they really need to. The future offense is so good, management would have no choice, lest they waste arguably the best home grown lineup Toronto has ever had.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.