Blue Jays Rogers Centre- Credit: DaveMe Images

The (Current, but Likely to Change) State of Blue Jays’ Rotation

The Toronto Blue Jays have extended Berrios, but there is still work to do to fill out the starting rotation


Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase


 


The Toronto Blue Jays will enter the 2022 season with their eyes firmly set on a division title and a playoff spot. In order to accomplish this goal, the old adage about never having enough pitching comes to mind. Toronto made some exciting headlines by extending Jose Berrios, but as of yet, they haven’t finalized anything to improve on their rotation from the end of the 2021 season. In fact, as of right now, Robbie Ray is not returning, so they’re actually at a deficit. But, that is not surely to last.

 

As of the time of writing, Fangraphs lists the rotation as follows: Berrios,  Hyun Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah, Ross Stripling and Nate Pearson with Zach Logue and Bowden Francis next up respectively. Guys like Anthony Kay, Trent Thornton and Thomas Hatch round out the list, but at this point have to be considered depth starters. Sure, every team needs 11-12 starters in a season, so these guys shouldn’t be looked at as lacking value, but the fact remains that they are down the depth charts for a reason.

 

In fact, Stripling being the 4th starter (the order doesn’t much matter over the course of the season) has to give reason to look for more pitching. The 31 yr old pitched to a 4.80 ERA and a FIP of 5.21, which doesn’t instill a lot of confidence. There were moments in 2021 where Stripling looked like he could be a dependable starter, but there were others that makes you shake your head at the idea. For his part, Nate Pearson is a question mark. Be all accounts, his hernia surgery went well and he should be ready to challenge for a rotation spot. That’s great news because, if healthy, Big Nate very much can be a huge part of the rotation. But, at this point, it is not like Toronto can write his name in stone for a spot. So, for right now, the playoff dream would be better realized with some offseason shopping.

 

Obviously, a return of the recently minted Cy Young winner, Ray would go a long way, here. According to Shi Davidi, Ray and the Jays are keeping in constant tough, so the desire and effort is definitely there. The decision will come down to what the Ray family feels is best for them. The chance to control your future doesn’t come around too often in baseball, so no one can blame Ray for giving his all to this process. With that in mind, it is not crazy to think that he signs elsewhere. This is a fact that Toronto would be preparing for.

 

According to Jon Morosi (who seems to absolutely love offseason rumour season), the Blue Jays have been in contact with several free agents, including Kevin Gausman, who is coming off a season where he started 33 games (going 14-6) and put up an ERA of 2.81, which is supported by a FIP of 3.00, and 4.8 fWAR in what was easily his best year. Like Ray, he seems to have increased his value at just the right time and will be in demand this offseason. He certainly would look good in a Blue Jays uniform.

 

Morosi says that Toronto has also spoken to other free agent starters as well as with the Miami Marlins about their plethora of starters. It is safe to say that the Blue Jays recognize their need for the kind of pitching that will propel them into the playoffs. Allow yourself for a moment to dream on a rotation of Ray, Berrios, Ryu, Manoah, Sandy Alcantara. It sounds crazy, but it is not impossible for the club to accomplish this.

 

Regardless of which of the many avenues the Blue Jays go down, the current rotation is certainly incomplete. This may be stating the obvious for some, but looking at the current group of 5, there are teams out there that would love to bring the quality of their starters up to the level of Toronto’s. It is not a terrible rotation, not at all. In fact, it is good. But, more work needs to be done to take it from good to great and take this team from 4th to 1st.

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Shaun Doyle

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.