The Toronto Blue Jays have made many different small type deals over the past eight months. Most of these deals involve bolstering the bullpen, and with the trade for Esmil Rogers, it seems as if the process has been completed.
This now paves the way for the signing or trade for a front-line starter. I have been predicting for over half a year that this summer the Blue Jays will finally address their biggest weakness: starting pitching.
Does everyone remember when Paul Beeston stated last season that extra funds were available if need be? Well, now will be the time to take that plunge.
The bullpen should now be solidified with Casey Janssen as the closer and righties Sergio Santos (barring any setbacks in his return from shoulder issues), Steve Delabar, Brad Lincoln and the newest Blue Jay Rogers. Lefties include Darren Oliver and Aaron Loop with the possible addition of Evan Crawford.
That is an excellent group who are all under great salaries.
So why the need to make such a splash?
Starting Pitching Injury Woes
With the elbow and knee procedures for Ricky Romero and the long-term injuries for youngsters Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, the Blue Jays’ depth at starting pitching is now quite bleak. Couple that with the possible (and most likely) departure of Carlos Villanueva and the Blue Jays are now in a tough situation.
To Make The Playoffs A Legit Ace is Needed
I stated in an earlier article that the Game 1 starter for every playoff team would blow Ricky Romero out of the water. If you look at any successful playoff or regular season team, the importance of an ace is invaluable.
As a result, the Jays really need to make a move and acquire an ace to lead the Jays pitching staff.
I don’t think it is necessary to remark how important Verlander was for the Tigers lead up to the World Series. If the Jays want to compete and maximize the potential that they have, then they need to spend and acquire a top starting pitcher to turn the unit into one of great strength.
Anthopoulos Now On The Hot Seat For the First Time
Personally, I believe that many Blue Jays unrealistically lambasted Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays organization for a down season. If you lose your best player, best young player, All-Star caliber pitcher, starting catcher and two of your best young pitchers for most of the season, then I don’t expect you to compete.
The Blue Jays were right in contention for the last Wild Card spot before the rash of injuries sapped their squad in early August. It is unfair to attack Anthopoulos or the Blue Jays for a season that was just plain unlucky.
That being said, support for Anthopoulos has now begun to waver for the first time during his tenure. Although most still believe in his vision, there are many naysayers that believe he can’t get the team over the hump.
Perhaps this will somewhat force his hand to spend money and acquire said starter.
So Who Should the Jays Attempt to Acquire?
A subsequent article will be posted to denote all of the possible targets, but according to TSN.ca, the Jays are rumoured to be going after Zack Greinke, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster and Anibal Sanchez. I have always been a Dan Haren fan myself, but I only find Greinke to be a front-line starter among this group.
There are also many other pitchers who are set to become available next season that could be had by a trade. The first one that comes to mind is Tim Lincecum—aka the guy we could have traded for Rios.
All in all, the Blue Jays need to spend and acquire a front-line starter to turn a position of weakness into strength. If they had Brandon Morrow as the third starter, the rotation could really propel them into the playoffs rather than hold them back.
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