(yes, I've been very quiet here lately. I've started a new job and my schedule is unsettled, posting may be irregular for some time to come)
Yes, i was the one saying, at the beginning of the year, that the Jays had enough pitching to begin the season. I reached that conclusion, which I still find valid, because you had to have turns to give the guys you had or give up on them. obviously Romero and Morrow were going to hold down two spots; just as obviously the Jays had (rightly) committed a third to Alvarez. that left two spots, and for them you had three viable candidates - a seemingly rejuvenated Brett Cecil, a shockingly good Dustin McGowan, and Kyle Drabek looking to re-establish himself. Beyond that you had several stopgap options such as Luis Perez, Joel Carreno and Jesse Litsch for emergencies and a coming wave of guys whom the GM felt would all likely get a chance to pitch in the majors before the years was out in Drew Hutchison, Chad Jenkins, and Deck McGuire.
so there were six front-line options, three secondary options, and at least five filler options that we knew about on March 1.
No, I did not expect to lose two of the front six to TJ (and a third pitcher to narrowly avoid it and need major re-hab) PLUS neither of those be Dustin McGowan but still lose him to a foot injury of all things PLUS one of the remaining three to spend most of the first half in the minors trying to re-build his usefullness.
And that's not counting Brandon Morrow's unpredictable non-arm injury.
And I still haven't mentioned 2/3 of the "next wave" going in the toilet for no apparent reason.
And lets all hope Alvarez's injury tonight was as mild as the team thinks.
Yes I know they say you can never have enough pitching but the point remains you have to have room for your major league guys to pitch in the major leagues. Be that as it may, the injury wave has now seriously changed the dynamic. Going into 2013, Drabek is not going to be ready and we do not know, at present, if Hutch will re-hab successfully and avoid surgery. Alvarez has taken enough of a step back that he does not need to be assumed as the #3, Cecil will have to spend all year proving he's more than a #5, and Jenkins and McGuire would have to make a pretty dramatic turnaround to establish their candidacy. and obviously McGowan as much as I love him is a wild card.
We COULD start 2013 with Morrow/Romero/McGowan/Alvarez/Cecil and be fine, and Hutchison could be in any of the last three spots and we'd be okay..but the margin for error is much thinner. Whch is to say that we are now in a position where it would in fact be wise to add a significant starter for this season and next.
Here's a thought, totally out there for the obvious reason to be stated at the end of this post, but still:
Jeff Passan's comment on potential trade targets has this comment about the situation with Cole Hamels:
"He wants CC Sabathia money. The Phillies are buried underneath the weight of $105 million owed to Ryan Howard, $87.5 million to Cliff Lee, $39 million to Jonathan Papelbon, $22 million to Jimmy Rollins, $20 million to Roy Halladay and $15.28 million to Chase Utley. That's almost $290 million owed to players all 31 and older."
Let me ask some questions in light of this...
1. Would the Phillies be willing to trade Doc in order to free up money to extend Hamels?
2. would the Jays be willing to add a potential $50+ commitment to bring Doc back assuming they thought they had a legitimate window of opportunity right now in the next 3 seasons ('12-'14) ?
3. Assuming the answer to both of the above is yes, can they make such a deal without giving up players they consider core, particularly d'Arnaud?
For instance, Say Gose (whome the Phillies hated to lose) and Syndergaard (replacing the value of Drabek) and say Jimenez or Perez? They would hate to lose Gose but should be able to handle the other two easily enough and I'm guessing the Phillies wouldn't make the deal without getting one of Gose or d'Arnaud back.
4. Would the Jays consider it worth that kind of price to bring him back, given age and possible decline in effectiveness over the contract terms? Also, Would they feel comfortable with the possible effect on clubhouse chemistry given the comments after Doc left about everyone relaxing? Can it be assumed that Doc would no-longer be seen as the god-like being he was before and that would not be an issue?
5. Assuming we've gotten this far, would Doc waive his airtight no-trade clause to come home? Would he now see the Jays as more likely to put him in the post-season than the Phillies going forward?
Whatever reality says, there's a little alternate universe playing out in my mind in which the answer to all these is: YES!!