Shaun Marcum Emerges as the Toronto Blue Jays' New Ace

Ian HunterCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2009

BOSTON - JULY 13: Pitcher Shaun Marcum #28 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during the game against the Boston Red Sox on July 13, 2007 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Six months ago, no one ever thought there would be a time in the near future where anyone but Roy Halladay would be starting on Opening Day.

Unfortunately, the Blue Jays will find themselves in that predicament on April 6 of next year when they decide who their Opening Day starter will be, and essentially who will be the new ace of the starting rotation.

So who will it be? As far as I'm concerned, the proverbial torch has been passed on to Shaun Marcum to steer this pitching staff in the right direction.

It's a tall order for someone who is just over a year removed from Tommy John surgery and hasn't pitched in the big leagues since Sept. 16, 2008. If anyone on the pitching staff can do it, though, it's Marcum.

Luckily, Alex Anthopoulos has assured everyone that Marcum will be healthy and ready to go for the coming season. The million-dollar question, though, is can Shaun fill Halladay's shoes?

He isn't the flashy power-pitching No. 1 starter that one would expect, yet Shaun Marcum has displayed traits of a young Roy Halladay and given a lot of hope to a young starting rotation that has been desecrated by injuries for the better part of two seasons. Marcum isn't going to overpower hitters like Dustin McGowan, but he will keep them guessing with his pinpoint location and command of the plate.

At this point, I would even go ahead and pencil him in as the Opening Day starter. While he might not be the sexy choice like Ricky Romero, why not start off Marcum's road to redemption with a bang—in front of 40,000-plus fans at the Rogers Centre?

If the Blue Jays are going to set a new tone and start a new era, they may as well do it with Shaun Marcum as the anchor to the starting rotation.