Over the course of a season, an MLB General Manager makes thousands of small decisions to keep his ball club on the right track. With the arrival of Marcus Stroman in Toronto after his speedy rehab from a torn ACL, Alex Anthopoulos is faced with his most awkward decision yet. Alter the rotation that has stayed intact since the July, or leave your star young starter on the outside looking in to avoid rocking the boat in the stretch run... Those are the options facing the Blue Jays man in charge. While the traditionalist may say that team chemistry is paramount, many more will point out that it is in fact good pitching that wins games. It's nearly impossible to guess what the Blue Jays GM will ever do so making predictions seems futile, but everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion about what should happen.
What should happen is that Marcus Stroman should get shoved back into the rotation almost as soon as he returns to the team. The 2012 draftee who had a 2.84 FIP in his first and only big league season in 2014 is just too good to leave sitting on the sidelines waiting for a starter to hand his job over to him. Mainly because they already have. While many will point to the wins since the trade deadline and conclude that the starters have been dominant the whole time, it's not true. Mark Buehrle is fading, Drew Hutchison is inconsistent as ever, and R.A. Dickey is always prone to a bad outing.
The way forward, in my eyes, includes a six-man rotation until it's clear which starter won't be the one competing for a starter's spot in the playoffs. There's a good bet that it won't be Marcus Stroman who's left out, so it makes little sense to hold off his return any longer in favour of team chemistry. The best way to go about implementing the new rotation looks to be skipping Drew Hutchison's start on September 15 in Atlanta and letting the Duke grad Stroman start his first major league contest in a year on that day. The NL East squad can hardly win a game these days and it will be an easier first test for the small righty than a nationally televised afternoon game on Saturday in Yankee Stadium. The skipped start will keep everyone else on their regular rest and will allow Drew Hutchison to keep on his routine by throwing a bullpen session on regular rest as well.
Assuming all goes well in Atlanta with Stroman, the next start would come on Tuesday the 22nd at home against the Yankees. This start would simply push back everyone one day, further resting the tired arms of the Blue Jays current rotation. With the placement of an off-day on Thursday the 24th, veterans Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey will each get extra days rest for the third time in a row which will help their aging arms despite their predictable protests against the time off.
At this point the Blue Jays will have seen Stroman pitch twice, once on the road and once at home, and it will be time to make a decision regarding the future with the playoffs only two weeks away. If Stroman performs well, then it seems likely that Hutchison will be sent to the bullpen as a valuable long man, while one other starter will also have to be cut out of the rotation.
While it's not an easy position for the Blue Jays front office to be in, it's certainly a good problem to have. Just think, any other year in the past two decades the team would just shut Stroman down until spring training of the next season. As long as they handle the process with the players well, which has been no sure thing in the past, then the starters should understand the situation they find themselves in and rise to the occasion without much complaining.
|Sept. 10 @ NYY
|Sept. 11 @ NYY
|Sept. 12 @ NYY
|Sept. 13 @ NYY
|Sept. 15 @ ATL
|Sept. 16 @ ATL
|Sept. 17 @ ATL
|Sept. 18 vs. BOS
|Sept. 19 vs. BOS
|Sept. 20 vs. BOS
|Sept. 21 vs. NYY
|Sept. 22 vs. NYY
|Sept. 23 vs. NYY
|Sept. 25 vs. TB
|Sept. 26 vs. TB
|Sept. 27 vs. TB
What's your opinion in regards to Marcus Stroman coming back to the team? Let us know in the comments below.
UPDATE (Minor Leaguer)
John Gibbons announced that Marcus Stroman will be starting for the Blue Jays this Saturday against the Yankees.
Meanwhile, Mark Buehrle has left the team to get a cortisone shot. Not good.
John Gibbons says Mark Buehrle returned to Toronto today for a cortisone shot in his left shoulder. On track to pitch Tuesday in Atlanta— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) September 8, 2015