I'm not sure we can write this rotation into stone yet since Alex Anthopolous seems willing to deal what he has to in order to go get the pieces he wants, but I'll post what the Jays may field as a rotation to begin 2010.
1 - Ricky Romero (25): stats for 2009, 29 GS, 178 IP, 141 Ks, 4.30 ERA, 1.522 Whip (14 IP in minors)
2 - Shaun Marcum (28): stats for 2009, did not pitch due to injury (15 IP in minors as rehab)
3 - Brett Cecil (22): stats for 2009, 17 GS, 93.1 IP, 69 Ks, 5.30 ERA, 1.650 Whip (49 IP in minors)
4 - Brandon Morrow (25): stats for 2009, 10 GS, 69.2 IP, 63 Ks, 4.39 ERA, 1.579 Whip (55 IP in minors)
5 - Marc Rzepczynski (24): stats for 2009, 11 GS, 61.1 IP, 60 Ks, 3.67 ERA, 1.321 Whip (88 IP in minors)
Possible 2010 additions during the season: Zach Stewart, Kyle Drabek, Scott Richmond, Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan, Reidier Gonzalez, and Luis Perez.
Out of the rotation listed above, only Romero has the potential to go over 200 innings this season, therefore the Jays have quite a task ahead of them in dealing with inning counting. While they do have depth and returning starters part of the way during the season, they'll have to be careful to not overuse some of their young pitchers. The total innings pitched in 2009 for those listed above are: 192 IP for Romero, 15 IP for Marcum, 142 IP for Cecil, 124 IP for Morrow, and 149 IP for Rzepczynski.
The likeliest scenario is that Marcum will head to the pen once Jesse Litsch returns in July in order to make sure he doesn't re-injure himself. Zach Stewart, Reidier Gonzalez, and Kyle Drabek could get calls in September once Morrow, Cecil, and Rzepczynski are shut down and rosters are expanded. Still, even with all of this the Jays now have a ton of promise in their rotation and I do hope they leave it as is without adding what is called an "innings eater". In the case of the Jays, this kind of addition would be an "opportunity killer"in my opinion.
I really do like what Alex is doing with the assets he is adding, and maybe it's just me, but does anyone else think he was the voice in the old GM's ear saying the Jays should grab these guys? From what I can recall, the Jays had been linked to these players over and over again in 2009, but nothing was ever worked out for them. It could be that Alex was the one who was pushing for them while the old GM liked what he had and wanted to win now while sacrificing the future. If this is in fact the case, then could other old rumours become reality? The Jays had been linked to Brandon Phillips, Chad Billingsley, and Fernando Martinez in the past. Could these be the next targets for Alex? I'd love for them to get all three, and it could be that Alex is able to take advantage of the fact that all three are desperate to do something to prove to their fans that they want to win. If even one of these players could be brought to Toronto, the Jays overhaul would be a work of wonders. In particular, could Vernon Wells and other pieces be sent to the Mets in return for Fernando Martinez? I'm not sure, but if Alex's short history has taught us anything, it's that anything is possible.
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