Gregor Chisholm had an interesting little tidbit in his piece yesterday about the battle for the last two spots in the Blue Jays rotation.
Chisholm says that the thought of Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek or Marcus Stroman of possibly winning the final spots in the rotation may not actually come down to their actual performance on the field this spring. It could very well go to players without options left like Todd Redmond and Esmil Rogers and if you want to include the bullpen there is Sergio Santos, Luis Perez and Jeremy Jeffress.
R.A Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow and J.A Happ have been given the top four spots already, even though I think Happ should have to again earn his spot as he lacks a put-away pitch and isn’t very efficient when it comes to his pitch counts in games and the Jays get into the pen way too early in Happ’s starts. Which leaves by my count seven guys for the fifth spot, if you count Ricky Romero and Dustin McGowan..
I might be wrong in thinking however that the fifth spot in the rotation coming down to who is out of options just seems, well, you know, backwards to me. I would understand that idea if the Jays were in a building year, but they’re not, there in a spot where they are expected to win so it would seem to me that if winning now is your strategy then wouldn’t it be in the Jays best interest to take the best five guys for the rotation to start the season?
It doesn’t mean that at some point during the year that the guys that weren’t the five best don’t pitch for the Jays in 2014, the injury bug has been known to hit the team and usually they need every depth arm they can get.
Redmond isn’t going to light the world on fire so if he doesn’t make the rotation chances are he would make it thru waivers and pitch in Buffalo. Esmil Rogaigers most likely would still stay on the big league roster and probably could be used as the long man out of the pen. And out of Drabek, Hutch and Stroman, it would seem that Hutch would be the most logical choice to make the rotation. Drabek still needs some work in the minor leagues to work on his control and I think regardless of how Stroman does, I think the Jays probably wait till July before they bring him up as to not burn a year on his service time and gain another year of control.
So maybe in the end the fifth spot in the rotation doesn’t exactly come down to who has options, but it would be nice to think that the Jays bring the best five they have north with them. The Jays don’t need another Jo Jo Reyes in the rotation just because he’s out of options and the Jays are scared of losing him for nothing. If the Jays are so worried about losing some of these “out of options” guys the Jays could always try to trade them.