The amount of injuries to both the starting rotation and bullpen of the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays has been well documented. After completing a 10 player trade with the Houston Astros late last week, the Blue Jays sustained another devastating injury, when setup man Jason Frasor was put on the 15 day disabled list with right forearm tightness. With Ricky Romero struggling, and Brandon Morrow expected back soon, I got to thinking what a dream rotation for 2013 could look like. Here are my thoughts.
Hypothetically speaking, amidst all the injuries, the Blue Jays give the fans some hope for next season, as they miss the wild card playoff game by only one game. As a result, Jays owners Rogers Communications, inform Alex Anthopoulos that they want 2013 to be the season that the Blue Jays make it back to the playoffs.
In order to reach that goal, ownership provides AA with increased payroll so he can acquire a free agent or take on a big contract in a trade. The starting rotation this off-season will need an overhaul, as everyone understands, that Carlos Villanueva and Aaron Laffey are more valuable in the bullpen then as the fourth and fifth starters. We also know that Ricky Romero is better as a two or three rather then the ace of a playoff bound rotation. This is what I would do.
(Side note: This is my dream rotation and does not reflect the opinions of Back In Blue’s other bloggers and staff)
If it were up to me, the Blue Jays rotation for 2013 would be Cole Hamels, Zach Greinke, Brandon Morrow, Matt Garza, and Henderson Alvarez. At first glance you’re probably thinking that Toronto couldn’t possibly afford all three of Hamels, Greinke and Garza, but as I noted earlier in this dream scenario Rogers is willing to open the check book for Anthopoulos.
In Hamels and Greinke, you have perhaps the best 1 and 1a duo in the American League. In Morrow you have a solid number two who can eventually turn into an ace, and in Garza you have the innings eater you so desperately need. With Henderson Alvarez rounding out the rotation, as a young prospect looking to take on a greater role down the line, comparable to Vance Worley in Philadelphia.
Looking at the starting four of Cole Hamels, Zach Greinke, Brandon Morrow and Matt Garza, the Blue Jays have four starters entering the primes of their career. Imagine for a second, that Hamels and Greinke each agree to five-year deals that would give the Jays four pitchers that could grow together for the next half decade.
For all intents and purposes, the starting rotation would finally go from being the team’s Achilles heel, to its greatest strength. Something we haven’t seen north of the border, since the 1993 World Series Championship winning season. The dark horse of the rotation would be the aforementioned Henderson Alvarez, as similar to Pat Hengten in 1993 he has a chance to show everyone that regardless of his youth, he can be put in important situations during a playoff run.
They say pitchers take a long time to develop in the minors, before they are ready to jump to the MLB. With this in mind, fans that may criticize this post about the dream rotation blocking the top prospects need not worry. Essentially, the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Aaron Sanchez, to name a few, would be able to master their crafts before a decision would need to be made. Furthermore, if those pitchers were available to jump to the big leagues, we could use them out of the bullpen similar to how the Rays have used some of their top pitching prospects in the past. This in turn would give the Blue Jays the pitching depth they’ve so desperately needed for the better part of the past 20 years.