Rotation taking shape?


2010Rotation.jpgCould this be Toronto’s Opening Day rotation?

There’s a good chance, now that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has finalized a trade to bring right-hander Brandon Morrow north of the border. The way things stack up right now, you could be looking at a rotation of Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum, Marc Rzepczynski, Brett Cecil and Morrow.

Not too bad, if you ask me. Not going to win the East, but that’s a starting five with plenty of upside. If Marcum’s healthy, he’s in. After winning 13 games last year, Romero is a virtual lock as well. Cito loves Rzepczynski and Cecil would seem to have the best shot of landing the fifth spot at the moment.

Obviously, things could change.

Other pitchers in the mix are David Purcey, Scott Richmond, Brad Mills and Robert Ray. Don’t forget about recently-acquired Kyle Drabek, who could be a darkhorse candidate, though the addition of Morrow helps the Jays send Drabek to the farm for more development. The same would seem to apply to guys like Zach Stewart and Reidier Gonzalez. Casey Janssen and Brian Tallet seem destined to wind up back in the bullpen.

If the season started today, what’s your starting five?


During the conference call today, Anthopoulos explained how he and his staff do a detailed evaluations of expected innings from all of their starters, something that is especially important in light of the fact that Toronto does not have Halladay to count on this season. I asked the Jays GM if he includes Jesse Litsch or Dustin McGowan in his evaluation for the upcoming season. Here’s what Anthopoulos said:

“We’ve talked about Litsch being back in July and McGowan, we’re still not certain what his role is going to be and what his health is going to be. So, we don’t really factor them in when we look at the offseason, because you just don’t know when it comes to the health of starters. Will they have a setback? Will they come back sooner? Will they come back later? So we’re not making plans of expecting them back at certain dates. We’re trying to go into the season and go into the spring with the guys that we know are ready to open the year with us and can come in and compete. The same way with some of our young guys, we think some of them might be ready to go hopefully in the middle of the season, or late in the season, but we’re not going to count on them, because we don’t want to rush anyone’s development because we’re short starters.”



  1. gsjays

    What a difference one trade makes. After rating the Jays minor league system as the 28th system in baseball recently, in today’s rating of the top 20 prospects, our new arrival Kyle Drabek is rated number 16.

    How about that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. stansburp

    Finally a GM with a plan, the Jays are on there way back to respectability, Thanks AA, keep up the good work. Now if only we could onload both Overbay, and Well. 🙂

  3. gsjays

    With Romero, Morrow, Drabek, Rzep, Cecil, Marcum, possibly McGowan, with Stewart, Jenkins,Purcey, Mills, Gonzalez, Litsch and Alvarez, we are going to be starter rich very shortly.
    Give the rotation a year or so and it’s going to be as strong as any in baseball, young and low cost with trading chips to acquire the final pieces we need.

    For anyone interested Alex was interviewed on the fan590 today and the interview is now posted. He compared Morrow to a young AJ Burnett.

  4. kwokj

    If the season started today…

    – Romero would have a job from spring training, but he has to prove he can adapt during his sophomore season.

    – Marcum just has to prove his health. Otherwise, I say he’s the defacto ace based on his bulldog demeanor and experience

    – Morrow is in the top 3 for sure. Not sure what to expect but at least he gives us a guy with some experience and some stuff

    – Rzepczynski has the upper hand on the 4th spot. Although he too needs to prove his ability to adapt

    – I think the 5th spot is Cecil’s to lose. If he can’t earn it, I can easily see it being given to Purcey or Richmond as long as they are somewhat consistent.

    Bullpen: Frasor, Downs, Tallet for sure.
    – I like Richmond in the swing role/long guy. However, Camp can also fill the long role. A combo of Tallet + Camp perhaps?

    – Accardo is now in the mix for late innings. I haven’t seen Zinicola, but apparently he’s got good stuff. Janssen’s solid in there as well.

    I think you have to take Frasor, Downs, Tallet, Janssen, Zinicola, Camp, plus Accardo/Carlson/Richmond…depending on whether you think we need another stuff guy or lefty or long guy.

  5. msjaysfan

    O.K., bear with me everyone, I’m a little new to this idea and I know not many folks are keen on a 6-man rotation, but let?s just think about it for arguments sake here. Looking at how young the staff truly is and having to work up their inning count since the departure of Doc and again because they are so young, wouldn’t it be a good idea, as a “team,” to throw the stats out the window to build a more mature staff. I know you wouldn’t have any 20 game winners, but as a “team” trying to build a staff to take them to the postseason the following year, wouldn’t this be a good stepping stone on a temporary basis, even for just the first half of the year? We have the arms, now we just need the experience. I keep saying, “as a team,” because someone commented on another blog about how selfless Doc was to skip starts to pitch key games. He didn’t care about the stats he could have rung up. I believe the Jays fans would agree, forget about creating 1 new pitcher with Doc-like stats when we could take the time this year to develop 6 potential pitchers with Doc-like stats and a stronger pen with the odd man out the following year and upon the return of McGowan and Litsch. I may be way off. Any comments?
    P.S. I think the new GM is doing a fantastic job, especially since he is going after controllable players.

  6. mylegacy

    Morrow – unless he has a huge turn around in Spring – has NO business any where near the rotation YET. He should start in AA with no pressure to develop his stuff – Lost Wages is in the Pacific League and there is too much offense there for him to get straightened out.

    I expect both Stewart and Drabek to be ready for the bigs before Morrow. In addition, I think he only has a 50/50 chance of making it as a starter. Seen Purcey’s control lately?

  7. inception

    On a slightly different tangent, I think that there are two very important things must be accomplished next year: (1) Romero must avoid the sophomore slump and position himself as a top of the rotation guy and (2) David Purcey, who in my opinion, has perhaps more POTENTIAL than any of the Jays’ current/potential starters, must establish himself. There is no question in my mind that Purcey has better stuff than say, David Wells in his prime, but he must find his control. We cannot afford to have first-round draft picks disappear from the organization, like Purcey. The other big issue, of course, is health. All of these young guys have to demonstrate that they can pitch at least 140 innings, which may be asking a lot.
    Potentially, I like the idea of a six-man rotation, but I doubt that we will see one. Also, one of the the things that SCARES THE LIFE OUT OF ME is Cito’s handling of a pitching staff. I have often felt that many of the injuries to our starters and bullpen are the result of very poor decisions by the field manager with regards to when, how long, and the consistency/frequency with with which pitchers are used.

  8. welikeroywelikeroy

    The rotation displayed herefore, lol, presents a good mix of lefties and righties to keep other team’s lineups off balance. I do like that part about it.

    The thing that scares me is that it is filled with 3 inexperienced 2nd year players, and two guys that come with injury worries/baggage. I’d hardly call it stable right now. It would be a ‘major’ suprise to me if it worked out that way though. I have my doubts with Morrow throwing his arm out, so I agree that Spring Training will probably be the ‘make or break’ for him in the rotation.

    What concerns me with Drabek is has previously been tagged as having ‘make-up’ issues. Meaning he can get rattled easily on the mound. Sure, the young man had a fine season Double A last year, but pitching in Yankee Stadium against ARod/Teiexia/Jeter and Fenway against Youkilus/Pedroia/Ortiz is a much different story altogether. Those places can play with a young man’s psyche. Especially if they tend to lose their composure in the minors. AAA next year for Drabek, and a June call-up at best. If I were running the team.

    Other than that, I hope Wallace can really wrake because we’ve needed that at firstbase for quite sometime now.

  9. yerouttaheah

    We may not see a 6 man rotation, but I think we won’t see the same 5 guys finish the year as started it. Marcum and Morrow (and maybe some others) for sure will have an innings limit this year, so pitchers like Litsch, Mills, and Ray will certainly get their chances. I, too, would love to see David Purcey turn it around. IMHO, he has one of the best arms in the system. If he can get his head in the right place, there is a no-no in that arm sometime.

  10. goodluckdoc

    “There are roughly 75 days until pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin. Anthopoulos is on the clock. If Halladay is not dealt, the Jays will receive two compensatory draft picks. The picks could be a sandwich pick and a third-rounder — depending on how the rest of the free-agent picks were allotted.”

    how would it be a third rounder, i would have assumed that halladay is a surefire first rounder and first round sandwich pick (regardless of whomever else the team signs)

  11. raysrenegade

    I actually chatted with Jesse Litsch the last time Toronto was in to play the Rays and he was excited then for 2010 because of the depth of the rotation and relievers coming off the DL.
    Add a piece like Drabek and there will be some awesome competition when they report to Dunedin this Spring.
    But then again, I always felt that Toronto “gets” pitching. They scout it great, and their homegrown farm talent is without question some of the best of the MLB systems.
    Now it is time for the group to strap it on and go out and get some “W’s” this year.

    Rays Renegade


    Harrypotter, Doc could have only netted a 3rd round pick instead of a first if the signing team took two higher ranked type A free agents, and bumped the first round pick to third. Same as how Burnett [type A] got us a second round + sandwich instead of a first rounder as NYY signed Texiera. Same for Scutaro, [we receive 2nd rounder + sandwich] as BOS signed Lackey.

  13. dt005

    Marcum – If healthy should put up some good numbers
    Romero – Has to build of good year and be more consistant
    Morrow – ?? havn’t saw enough of him, hopefully he is good to go
    Rzepczynski – has dominated every level he has played at. It wouldn’t surprise me if he dominated the MLB. He has great groundball and strikeout rates. If he can throw more strikes look out he is a good one.
    Richmond – A good guy to be your 5th starter. He will just be a place holder untill some of the young guys are ready.
    Cecil – I think he needs to start the year in AAA unless he has a really good showing in spring. Needs to prove he can dominate the tougher competition the way he did in AA and lower.


    I like the 6-man rotation idea. It allows them to bring a guy like Richmond as the 6th man (or revolving AAAer’s auditioning for long term roles), while keeping Morrow/Cecil/Romero/Marcum/Litsch innings down.

    Of course, it means one less bullpen arm, which isn’t that big a deal, but right now, assuming they want to keep Accardo, they have a bunch of people they have signed to be in the pen.

  15. jerwal

    Here are my top 5 to receive a spot in the rotation to start the season.

    1- Marcum- as long as he’s healthy he will be in there.
    2- Romero- I think he’s going to build on his rookie season and become even more reliable.
    3- Morrow- I’ve sen this guy throw a bunch of times and his stuff is electric. He’s going to be good. He has to make a few adjustments but i see big things coming from him.
    4- Rzepczynsk- he kind of reminds me of a left handed Marcum.
    5- Cecil- he was good last year and I think he will build on that.
    However, I think AA might end up striking deal with a veteran pitcher to eat up some innings. I can see a guy like Garland or Padilla possibly signing a 1 year deal, allowing Cecil, Ray and others to work on their games for 1 more year. I would like to see these guys stick and succeed when they get the call up.

    Should be an interesting spring!!

  16. gsjays

    Last year, between the minors and MLB, Romero pitched 192.10 innings, Cecil-142.1 innings, Rzep-149.1, Purcey-187.10, Zachary Stewart-105 innings, Drabek-158, Brandon Morrow-124.2 and Marcum-15.2 innings.

    So I don’t think there will be an innings issue for Romero, Rzep, Cecil, Purcey or Drabek in 2010. There could be one with Morrow, Stewart and for sure Marcum. However, by the time we get to 2011, we should be good to go.

    Although it is tempting to consider a 6 man rotation, I think we also have to realize that we haven’t had a season I can remember when all our starters were healthy, hopefully this year is different, so the situation will likely provide its own answer. One way or the other, we’ll likely need a Gonzalez, Richmond, Litcsh or Alvarez to pick up some innings in the 2nd half. Richmond could be a good starter, providing someone teaches him how to get left handers out.

    I disagree on signing some old has been guy to eat up innings. I want our young guys to do that, gain experience and learn in the process. If we handle these young starters well, we could be looking at a starting rotation similar to what Atlanta had in the early 90’s that held together so long, so the sooner they get experience the better.

  17. yerouttaheah

    I agree with you gsjays on signing a free agent starter. Let the young guys go out and learn from their mistakes. As far as innings go, most of these guys are knee deep in options, so the Jays will have to renew their commuter pass to Lost Wages for at least another year. A 6 man rotation isn’t a good idea, but an 8 man bullpen may make sense at times, depending on the schedule, with 4 long relievers and 4 late inning guys.

  18. yerouttaheah

    Considering that when Scott Richmond got to the bigs he only threw a fastball and curve, he has done pretty well. He has developed a change-up on the fly, and if he could add a pitch that tails down and away from lefties, he would be shoe-in for anybody’s rotation.

  19. gsjays

    Yerouttaheah-I agree with the 8 man bull pen from time to time, problem is, it would probably mean either Ruiz or McCoy doesn’t make the team and I’d like to see both these guys play.
    I’d actually like Richmond to start in AAA, give him some much needed development time, working on that pitch for lefties. He certainly is strong on right handers and even if we don’t want to keep him long term could be a real nice trade chip. Give him 3 months in AAA to perfect his arsenal then call him up after the ALL-Star break and showcase him for the balance of the year and we could end up getting 1-2 nice prospects for him or possibly a short stop.

  20. gsjays

    Congratulations to Jason Bay for the contract he got, but he’s a major disappointment in my view. He had the opportunity to sign with Boston and have a shot at winning it all, but took the money route for a difference of $5-6 million and an option for a 5th year. No way, imo, the Mets contend this year or for a while, for that matter.
    We’ve had numerous posters on various blogs suggesting, even begging the Jays to sign this guy. Thank God we didn’t.

  21. gsjays

    From a Phillies prospect report on our new catching prospect Travis D?Arnaud.

    He was rated the 8th best prospect in California, a more traditional baseball hotbed, and the 49th best prospect in the entire country. BA had this to say about him

    2008 Scouting Report: In several ways, d?Arnaud resembles his older brother Chase, a two-year starter at third base for Pepperdine, and Travis has also committed to play for the Waves. Chances are he won?t get to school, though, because he?s a more athletic version of his brother with premium catch-and-throw skills behind the plate and a more advanced bat. While he?s still a streak hitter, d?Arnaud has showed an improved ability to stay inside the ball and drive it to all fields. It?s a quick, line-drive swing for the most part, but he has shown some loft power, with seven home runs, and he ranked among state leaders in RBIs.
    Defensively, he grades as above-average as both a receiver and thrower, with a plus arm, soft hands and quick feet. While he?s athletic enough to play an infield spot, he?s too good behind the plate?consistently getting his throws to second base in 1.9 seconds?to move. (1.9 seconds-how good is that, wow is all I can say)

    Travis hit .255/.319/.419 in 2009 with 38 doubles, 13 hr’s, 8 stolen bases and 71 rbi’s in 126 games-as a 20 year old in Class A.
    But 1.9 seconds to 2nd base ( compared to, I think, 1 minute for Zauny-lol), along with Arencibia throwing guys out from his knees. The days or running against Blue Jays pitchers is over when both these guys are playing here.

  22. goodluckdoc

    Thanks guys for the clarification earlier.
    and love reading all the scouting reports GS, i try searching em up, i usually dont get good ones or i dont know enough to understand them.

    on a different note though, how about the bosox?
    with jason bay gone, david ortiz getting old, mike lowell, JD Drew and kevin youkillis having injury woes, this lineup for bosox might just be its weakest yet, especially if John Lackey doesn’t perform or he gets injured as well from last year, tampa bay should easily be able to overtake boston and if our young hitters devleop early, you never know we might be competing for the 3rd spot with boston?
    that is if the players i mentioned earlier struggle/get injured. Ortiz had a horrible start last year and i would think it will happen again. The only solid guy in my opinion they have left is Dustin Pedroia and lets hope for their sake that scutaro wasn’t just a one year wonder (although i dont think he was)

    what do you guys think, do you see the bosox struggling out of the gate?

  23. gsjays

    Harry-Although, I agree with what you say about Ortiz and others, I wouldn’t count Boston out just quite yet. They have lots of resources to trade and I still expect them to trade for a big bat, albeit it now or the trade deadline. In addition, they have strong starting pitching, assuming Dice-K comes back and others are healthy, which will keep them in the hunt one way or the other until they find the bat they need.

  24. inception

    It all depends on what you mean by “struggling”. I think that the Sox will be hard-pressed to keep up with the Yankees. However, how good to you have to be to win the wild card? I believe that given the relative weakness in the other divisions, the Sox will prevail to win the wild-card even if they are not as dominant as they used to be. Also, keep in mind that, unlike Toronto, the Sox minor-league system is not barren. There are a number of good players in the pipeline. So, if Toronto or any other team in the east wants to beat the Sox, they will have to do it by having superior talent flowing through their own farm systems. Also, if the Sox do flounder, they have the money to buy there way into respectability in a hurry.

  25. Travis

    Wouldn’t it be something if the Jays ended up grabbing Aroldis Chapman. That could make things interesting in that rotation.

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