Blue Jays Starting Rotation Decimated by Injury

While I have been saying the Blue Jays would need to add a couple veteran arms if they had hoped to remain competitive in the AL East the thought was to bolster what we had and not as injury replacements.  The Blue Jays have suffered an unusual string of injuries to their starting pitchers in the past four days.

Brandon Morrow left his start early on Monday after suffering left oblique and has no timetable for a return.  Two days later young Kyle Drabek felt something pull in his right throwing elbow and heard the words no pitcher wants to hear, “You are going to see Dr. James Andrews”.  Drabek is possibly looking at a second Tommy John surgery and is likely out for the remainder of the season regardless. 

Last night Drew Hutchison lasted all of nine pitches when he too felt some discomfort in his right throwing elbow.  Hutch will have a myriad of tests to determine what type of damage he has done to the elbow and is likely to end up on the DL either way.

The starting rotation that has performed relatively well is now in shambles (basically decimated) and with that the Blue Jays will be starting to look ahead to next season in terms of player personnel moves.  After just writing a piece about how the Blue Jays should look at extending DH Edwin Encarnacion this latest string of injuries might affect those plans?

Hutchison and Drabek were obviously tough losses to overcome but they were never going to give us 175+ innings or pitch deep into the season based on their light career workloads.  However losing Brandon Morrow for any extended period is the death blow for the team given his status as our best pitcher this season.

Brett Cecil has gotten the call to start this Sunday and for the season has pitched 42.2 inning at double-A allowing 44 hits, 14 walks and 34 strikeouts to go with a 3.38 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.  His last start was on June 12, 2012 and he allowed 11 hits in 6.2 innings for triple-A Las Vegas – never a friendly environment for pitchers but not exactly a stat line that inspires confidence to retire major league batters.

With the Blue Jays struggling to score runs in bunches and a starting rotation devastated by injury the positive beginning to the 2012 MLB season is starting to look all too familiar for Jays fans as the focus almost immediately shifts to next year, again.

Poor Jason Frasor, he is going to start developing a complex if he is on the move again at the trade deadline!

UPDATE: According to Ken Rosenthal the Blue Jays are asking around for pitching help but may end up as sellers at the trade deadline.

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    I think AA has been wise to pick them up, but very few people anticipate three starters getting injured within a week. That said, it’s the new reality and the Jays need to deal with it. The 15-day DL means about three missed starts for Morrow and Hutchison. Drabek’s likely done for the year, though, which means about 21 missed starts. Alvarez will also likely be shut down toward the end of August, which is five more starts.

    Morrow’s injury seems to be the least serious, which is good because he’s been their top pitcher. Drabek’s out for an extended period, and they’ll need to be careful with Hutchison. At face value, it seems dire.

    That said I don’t think the plan was to vie for a playoff spot this season, even with the extra spot available. That means they can fill the gaps however they want to. If their plan was to acquire arms/bats for the longer term (27-29 year old players), they can still do that. It doesn’t necessarily put pressure on to make a deal quickly unless there’s concern about the workload for the replacements.

    Scrambling’s a key part of competitive golf. If you hit a bad shot, you don’t get a mulligan. You need to do what you can to keep your score as low as possible. That’s what the Jays need to do. If that means making a deal or two, then so be it. If it means ‘holding the fort’ until the trade deadline, then so be it, but make sure the replacements are competitive.

    This would be a great time to communicate with the fans. I know AA’s said he won’t cave to fan pressure, but even I’m wondering what he’s going to do. I have very little interest watching Scott Richmond, for example, get called up and shelled in five straight starts. Watching the team go 0-5 while he racks up a 8.37 ERA and a 1.84 WHIP won’t inspire confidence. Don’t give in to fan pressure but don’t give up on the season, either. It’s only June.

    • 67 AL Eastbound (@ALEastbound) June 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      As always chief, a voice of reason. Great points. The previous regime definitely left a void of starting pitchers reaching the big leagues for the 2012-2013 seasons. There is nothing in Double or Triple-A that would be considered a future MLB starter.

      Our best starting pitchers will start to hit the big leagues in the next 3-4 seasons (Sanchez, Nicolino, Syndergaard followed by Norris, Comer etc).

      This was never the season we were “all in” which is obvious when you roll out three fresh rookies into the starting rotation without adding a veteran or two at the onset of the season.

      Oh well, the future is still bright, the team has played very well and this season is not a total write off yet. If anything the team will get an opportunity to bring up d’Arnaud and Gose a bit earlier if they fall out of the race and see what type of talent they can be at this level.


  1. 1 Blue Jays Series Recap – Bouncing Back To Sweep Phillies « AL Eastbound & Down Trackback on June 17, 2012 at 10:11 pm

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