Toronto Blue Jays Unveil Starting Rotation: Issues on the Horizon?
Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons unveiled his starting rotation (as tentative as it can be on February 5) at the annual State of the Franchise meeting. Gibbons joined president Paul Beeston and GM Alex Anthopoulos at the annual event and, in his laid-back demeanour, described how his rotation will work.
The Jays' rotation has been a hotly debated topic around baseball circles and especially among Blue Jay fans.
Personally, I don't like the rotation's look as it stands. Gibbons might be making some fatal errors regarding camaraderie and starting off on the wrong foot.
Here are the reasons why.
Opening Day Starter: R.A Dickey
No surprise here. The reigning NL Cy Young winner deserves to be the Opening Day starter for the Blue Jays after the season he had last year.
Gibbons stated, "He's coming off a Cy Young award winning year and won 20 games. He's really earned that."
Dickey had a 2.73 ERA with 20 wins and nearly struck out a batter per inning over his league-leading 233.2 innings pitched.
Thoughts: No issue here. Dickey deserves the nod. Potentially in the future, it could be a good idea to swap him with a fire-baller. More on that to come.
No. 2 Starter: Brandon Morrow
Brandon Morrow was chosen as the No. 2 starter in Gibbons' initial starting rotation. This was an interesting choice, as he is showing confidence in Morrow, who only pitched 124 innings last year, ahead of more established starters.
Morrow finished the season with a 2.96 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, which were both career highs as a starter (previous best WHIP as a starter was 1.29).
Morrow pitched very well last season, albeit in an abbreviated stint, and Gibbons mentioned that his good 2012 earned him the second spot in the rotation.
Thoughts: I am unsure how I feel about this. Morrow is a great team player and a solid up-and-coming pitcher. After a shortened 2012 season, I am hesitant to put him in this spot, largely because of what I know is going to cause a ripple effect for the rest of the rotation.
No. 3 Starter: Mark Buehrle
The wily vet grabs the third spot over former Marlins teammate Josh Johnson. Although the Marlins struggled mightily last season, Buehrle still pitched quite well (in the monstrous Marlins park) to the tune of a 3.74 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.
The best thing about Buehrle is that you know exactly what you are getting. Buehrle has started over 30 games in every season since 2001 (yes, I am aware that I just jinxed him, so you can all attack me when he goes down with an injury).
Thoughts: I am worried about what this says to Josh Johnson more than anything. I understand Buehrle is perfectly positioned in this slot as the light-throwing lefty between two hard-throwing righties in Johnson and Morrow. Perhaps I always knew Buehrle would take the third spot in the rotation, but being placed ahead of Johnson might cause some issues
No. 4 Starter: Josh Johnson
Maybe I am just his biggest fan, but Josh Johnson does not deserve to be the fourth starter on any team.
Yes, Johnson had his worst season as a pro in 2012, but he had a 3.81 ERA! Never before had he lost more than seven games in a season, and he had an ERA over 3.23 just once in a regular season before last year.
Johnson was the Opening Day starter for the Marlins for the past three seasons, and now he is slated to be the fourth starter behind Buehrle? This is also a guy the Jays are trying to re-sign?
That doesn't necessarily instill a lot of confidence, and I would take it as a slight.
Thoughts: This guy has been dominant whenever he steps on the mound, and it is insulting that he has dropped down to the fourth spot. No pitcher with a career 3.15 ERA and, taking away 2012, a 48-23 career record should be the fourth starter.
I really hope Johnson does not take this as a slap in the face and cause some sort of turmoil either in the organization or during his contract negotiations.
No. 5 Starter: Ricky Romero
Everyone expected Romero to be the fifth starter here. He had such a terrible 2012 campaign, and this should serve as an excellent wake-up call, especially with J.A. Happ waiting in the wings.
I am not going to rehash how bad Ricky was in 2012 (he was bad), but being named the fifth starter should take some pressure off Romero and help him rebuild his confidence.
I expect a big bounce-back year for someone who is known as a fierce competitor. He will want to show the team that he is not an afterthought on this fantastic rotation.
Thoughts: As mentioned, it was to be expected. No way you could have slotted him ahead of the rest with the year he had. This could do wonders for him.
When else have a team's ace and Opening Day starter been flipped to fifth the following season?
Thanks for the read and please throw down some comments.
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