The Blue Jays keep running out different replacement starting pitchers and the results continue to be one sub-par performance after another that just don’t cut-it at this level.
When it comes to the group of pitchers who have filled-in for Toronto’s injured starters this season, the results have been seriously lacking. The following ERA’s represent what each replacement pitcher has done as a starter in 2017…Joe Biagini (5.60), Mike Bolsinger (5.61), Mat Latos (6.60), Casey Lawrence (7.94), Cesar Valdez (9.39), and Nick Tepesch (10.38).
To make matters worse, two of Toronto’s better starting pitchers, Marco Estrada and the recently departed Francisco Liriano haven’t been a whole lot better than the aforementioned replacement starters. Not only does Toronto need to try and improve the starting five pitchers they run out there to begin next season, it’s crucial they also add some quality depth arms in case something is to happen to one of their top five starters.
The Blue Jays have a number of weaknesses that need addressing this off-season. This list includes adding some team speed, developing a balanced offense that’s not so dependent on the long ball, and adding pitching depth, especially when it comes to their starters. Attempting to fix the offense may be the trickiest task given how many power hitting slow players the Blue Jays have returning. The easiest way for Toronto to increase their chances of success next season may simply be to try and beef-up their starting rotation in attempt to re-create the winning ways the team had in 2016 when they relied so heavily on their dominant rotation.
The Blue Jays say they’re going to try and be competitive next season, while at the same time not sacrifice any future success by trading their top young talent. That’s all fine and dandy to say they want to compete in 2018, but if they do nothing to address the serious lack of quality big-league starting pitchers in this organization, they stand little chance of making much noise in 2018.
Fixing Toronto’s lack of depth when it comes to starting pitchers seems easier said than done. So how can this team realistically go about improving their rotation while still holding onto their top prospects? The first option is to go out and sign one or two arms this off-season. A few possible candidates include Alex Cobb, C.C. Sabathia, and of course Marco Estrada. The second way to go about this is to attempt something similar to what Toronto did back in 2015 with their bullpen when they took a chance on two 20-year old pitchers in Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro. Based on how things shape up towards the end of spring training next March, if any of Toronto’s pitching prospects appear ready to start, perhaps the Blue Jays may want to explore the possibility of inserting them into the rotation.