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The Sun Shines Through the Curtain Lace: Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Dangling Conversation, Part III

Parts I is here, Part II is here.  

Hugo:    With pitchers and catchers reporting to training camp in just over a month, the Jays have a bit of a battle for both the starting rotation and the bullpen.  What are you looking to see as that develops, and who do you like for the staff in 2011?  

Jesse: Well, the worry as we enter spring training is always health.  It certainly isn’t unheard of to see little injuries cost pitchers time to get ready in the Spring and delay the start of the season.  With that caveat out of the way, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Brett Cecil should be in the rotation and I think that Kyle Drabek is a virtual lock unless he gets repeatedly shelled.  The fifth spot should be interesting.  If I had to venture a guess, I’d think that Marc Rzepczynski has a strong spring and gets the fifth job.  Brad Mills looks good this spring and starts the season as a longman and Jesse Litsch still looks a bit rusty and begins in Vegas.  If there’s an injury, I’d think Mills could serve as a swingman or, depending on when the injury occurs, the Jays may call someone up.  I’d think Zach Stewart will be in Vegas, even though the Jays have had a history of promoting from New Hampshire.

JohnnyG: In the rotation I see Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Drabek and Rzepczynski. However, as Jesse mentioned it will be interesting and that is the one spot that may be up for grabs. If Litsch or Mills comes out firing it could really move things around. I would agree that Stewart is heading to Vegas (or possibly New Hampshire). Who knows though, last year I was convinced Cecil and Rzep started the year in the rotation as there was NO WAY that Tallet was going to start (let alone be the 2nd starter).

Hugo:  Would it be cool if we never mentioned Tallet starting again?

JohnnyG: No deal, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

Tom: I don’t think we’ll forget Tallet.
I think we’ll start out with the five starters Jesse and Johnny mentioned, with Litsch and Stewart to fill in if there is an injury.
The pen looks like some combination of Frasor, Camp, Janssen, Dotel and Villanueva from the right. Carlson, Purcey and someone (Mills or Fuentes?) from the left. Roenicke and Cordero could make it with a good spring.

masterkembo:   How do you guys feel that Richmond fits in this year?  Is he healthy?  Competing for a long relief spot, or back to the minors?

JohnnyG:  I do not have shiny happy feelings about Richmond, not sure if he is healthy at this point, but at absolute best I see him in the pen in a long to middle relief role.

Hugo:   I actually liked Richmond in the bullpen as a righty specialist for this season.  I think he’s got a respectable fastball that would have even more zip if he was only pitching an inning or so at a time, and a quality slider that I think would work well in a righty specialist role.  His career numbers against righties (4.21 K/BB, 1 WHIP) are quite strong.  Unfortunately, the club picked up Dotel and he’s sort of a similar pitcher at this point in his career (as is Rauch, for that matter) so I’m not sure there’s a spot for Richmond.

Post your own thoughts about how the Jays' pitching staff will shake out in 2011 in the comments.