Perhaps as a function to cope with the most recent streak of bad Blue Jays baseball, I've been searching for opportunities of optimism. With my pride in shambles after the offensive struggles against Seattle, and most recently, Oakland, I'm comforted knowing Jose Bautista is soon to be activated and resume his mission of annihilating opposing pitching. Equally comforting is the anticipated comeback of Brandon Morrow, the Blue Jays emerging ace, in some 4-weeks time. With Morrow back in the fold, It is hopeful that Brett Cecil or Aaron Laffey will be pushed out of the rotation and stabilize a struggling starting corps (though I cannot say with any confidence that John Farrell will not instead make a 5-8 man rotation).
Tumultuous as the last week has been, I do see light at the end of the tunnel. But if John Donne could teach us anything, it's that no man is an island, and it will take far more than the return of Morrow to make the current Blue Jays pitching staff competent enough to give a juggernaut offense enough zeros to string more than 4 wins together through 104 games. Thus, I tasked myself with exploring all the internal pitching options for 2013 major league ready hurlers, and safe to say it helped temporarily cure a small portion of the depressing feelings I had after watching Bartolo Colon (and his obvious unwillingness to miss a meal) make mince meat of Blue Jay hitters. Anyways, enough cheap shots at the dietary deficiencies of a former Cy Young winner, here goes nothing.Before proceeding, I would like to add a qualifier or twelve. I realize that this is extremely peremptory given how rosters change over the course of 8 months. I am welcome to criticism, constructive or not. This is purely speculation, with the pitchers I like more given preference. Moving on.
With Dustin McGowan, Luis Perez, Kyle Drabek, and Jesse Litsch all out for extended periods of time (with injuries that all waver in length of recovery and severity), I will reluctantly refrain from projecting their usefulness in 2013, as tempting as it is. Furthermore, the pending free agency of Brandon Lyon, Jason Frasor and Carlos Villaneuva may leave the Blue Jays with three less reliable, but unspectacular veteran pitchers to toe the rubber. Fortunately, the incumbent closer Sergio Santos, and impressive 21-year old starter Drew Hutchison both figure to be contributors for 2013. That leaves me with a projected 2013 pitching staff headlined by the following names:
1. Brandon Morrow
2. Ricky Romero
4. Brad Lincoln (should he be stretched out to a starter, as I would hope/envision)
5. Drew Hutchison
Not to be outdone, the firemen out of the 8-man (seems to be the way Farrell likes it, sadly) bullpen consist of:
6/LRP J.A. Happ
MRP Steve Delabar
MRP Aaron Loup/Brett Cecil (whichever you prefer)
SU/MRP Marcus Stroman (Ya you read that right)
SU Darren Oliver (his potential retirement irks me, and these projections)
SU/CP Casey Janssen
CP/SU Sergio Santos
(I will give deference to the heir apparent, though Janssen presents an interesting quandary given his strikingly stellar performance as the closer)
I am desperately hoping for mr.Anthopolous to acquire an upper echelon starting pitcher to squeeze Lincoln out of the rotation, and replace the middle relief variety pack of Dyson/Carpenter etc, though I digress. This would be a perfectly appropriate segue to point out that there are certainly going to be a number of moves that will affect these subjective projections, as well as managerial decisions that will leave certain pitchers (Cecil/Laffey) in positions that I do not agree with. All in all though, not too shabby.
In fact, with the addition of a front-line starting pitcher, or perhaps an in-house darkhorse like John Stilson, this Blue Jay pitching staff (health withstanding) has the power arms and inning eaters that the majority of Major League Baseball would covet. Almost makes me smile.