Alex Anthopoulos has changed his tune a little bit about how the rotation spots are going to be decided this spring. Sportsnet has a piece up outlining some comments the Blue Jays General Manager made about J.A. Happ's future as well as how the battle for the back-end of the rotation is shaping up. Most importantly, it seems Happ's back problems and horrid pitching have switched his status from 'lock' to 'favourite' for the fourth spot in the starting rotation. As noted in the article, Anthopoulos said:
"I don’t want to make excuses for him, but I wouldn’t say he’s been 100 percent," Anthopoulos said. "If his back wasn’t bothering him the way it is, I think the command would be a lot better. But that’s my opinion."
Maybe the team should have never said he was a shoe-in for the Opening Day roster if all it took was two performances to dislodge him from that spot. This opens up the starting rotation competition even more giving legitimate shots to Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman to make it past the options crunch and still crack the big league squad. About Hutchison, Anthopoulos said:
"He’s definitely opened some eyes," Anthopoulos said. "He’s a strong candidate to make the rotation."
Apparently it only takes a few innings these days to go from 'surely starting in Buffalo' to 'strong candidate to make the rotation'. Continuing the trend of pitchers skyrocketing up the Blue Jays depth chart, Marcus Stroman apparently has forced himself into the conversation as well, with today's scheduled appearance (that's probably going to be rained out) carrying a lot of weight:
"[Thursday] is a big day for him—I’m being honest," Anthopoulos said. "Every outing for him is important."
So essentially, an unclear starting rotation situation entering Spring Training has actually become even more unclear in the first week of games. It seems each week will bring about a different knee-jerk reaction from the Blue Jays brass until there are no games left and the team has to make a decision.
In less surprising news, Ryan Goins is still considered the favourite to start at second base on Opening Day even with Chris Getz impressing so far this spring.