Friday, March 25, 2011
Mighty Morphin' Starting Rotation
By Ian Hunter
Out of all the possible combinations of the Blue Jays starting five to begin the year, who could have imagined it would end up being Ricky Romero, Kyle Drabek, Brett Cecil, Jesse Litsch and Jo-Jo Reyes?
It just goes to show you how unforeseen circumstances like Brandon Morrow's injury can change things. Out of all the candidates, Morrow's trip to the DL opened the door the most for Kyle Drabek and Jo-Jo Reyes.
I figured the Blue Jays would at least give Reyes a shot at cracking the roster since he's out of options, but I never anticipated it would be as a starting pitcher. It was assumed that he would break camp as a reliever since Jo-Jo never really had much success in the big leagues as a starter.
Jo-Jo Reyes might just be the next Dana Eveland, or even the next Ted Lilly. Maybe as the Tao of Stieb suggests, it really could be the Summer of Jo-Jo. And if that falls through, there's always the Summer of George!
At first, the revamped starting rotation confused me a little bit, but then I realized it's merely to split up the left-handers. The way it's currently set up is lefty-righty-lefty-rigthy-lefty. There also might be a dosey-do at the end.
Fret not friends, because the order of which they start doesn't really reflect the ranking of pitchers. Brian Tallet was penciled in as the number two starter last year after all, so that just goes to show you how much weight that argument carries.
If Brandon Morrow only misses one start as Bruce Walton indicated, then he should be ready to make the trip to Los Angeles for the series opener against the Angels on April 8th. If Morrow slots back in at the number two spot, that either moves Drabek to the end of the line or back to the minors.
That seems like the best route to take at this point; Kyle Drabek is essentially holding Brandon Morrow's spot warm until he returns. In the meantime, if any other starters go down then Drabek will be there to fill the gap.
However, there's no sense in keeping him in the rotation if there are five other guys that are healthy and doing their jobs. Unless Jo-Jo Reyes or Jesse Litsch pitch themselves off the team, the Blue Jays should try to limit Drabek's service time as much as possible.
Over the course of the season, I have no doubts that the starting rotation will continue to morph and will take many different shapes. Just so long as the end game is an effective pitching staff, that's all that really matters.