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Blue Jays Using Pitching Depth To Their Advantage

Every year, pitchers get injured. Every year, some pitchers have disappointing seasons. Every year, some pitchers come out of nowhere. What's the way to make the best of that situation? Have a lot of options.

The more bodies you have, the better chance you have of a successful pitching staff.
The more bodies you have, the better chance you have of a successful pitching staff.
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Not every team can be the Washington Nationals or the Los Angeles Dodgers. Teams with four or five bona fide aces don't come around very often. In fact, with the Blue Jays, the closest thing you have to an ace is R.A. Dickey and although he is a solid starter, he isn't an "ace". At least, not since arriving in Toronto.

But that's alright. Because along with Mark Buehrle, Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison, they have a pretty solid group of four starters. And that doesn't even consider the battle for the fifth spot. And that's where the extra depth comes in.

The Baltimore Orioles won the American League East division last season. Not many baseball fans could tell you who their number one starter was. That's because they had five above-average starters (I'm counting Kevin Gausman, not Ubaldo Jimenez). They also were remarkably healthy. Of their 162 games, one was started by someone other than their top six starters. That's one road to success.

The other is having enough arms that you hope some stick. This goes for the much-talked-about bullpen as well. The Jays have the four names I mentioned above and have added Marco Estrada who can start or relieve as needed.

Same goes for Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, Todd Redmond and Kyle Drabek. Sure, you might not want a lot of them to be starting a lot but one or two may surprise you in the Spring and you have extra options for the bullpen as well.

The Jays also added a bunch of additional pitchers this winter. Liam Hendriks, Juan Pablo Oramas, Bo Schultz, Jeff Francis and Andrew Albers are all names you may never hear again or forget about by May. However, taking a look at guys in Spring Training is one of the few low-risk aspects when it comes to pitchers.

You take a look at enough guys, and odds are you will find a major leaguer or two. You may even find a really good big leaguer.

So yes, there are holes in the lineup, and where there are not holes, there are question marks. And they exist within the pitching staff as well. But, by bringing in guys on low-risk deals, you back yourself up for when someone like Estrada doesn't work out, or someone else gets hurt.

The only way to make sure you have a can't miss pitching prospect is to make sure you have a bunch of can't miss pitching prospects. The same thing applies to building pitching staffs. The only way to make sure you have a good one, is to make sure you have as many candidates as possible. Unless of course, you're the Washington Nationals or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But even then, winning is no sure thing.