After Stroman injury, should Toronto Blue Jays make a big move?
Yes, it’s a bummer that Marcus Stroman’s going to miss the season. Not even the usual elbow ligament, either. Stupid ACL.
I hope you’ll pardon me for thinking about what this means for his team, which was widely regarded as essentially co-favorite in the American League East, with the Red Sox and your other favorite team in the division.
How big is the loss of Stroman? FanGraphs’ ZiPS projected Stroman for 3 Wins Above Replacement, tops on the entire pitching staff. The good news is that the Jays’ probably have someone better than replacement level to … well, replace Stroman. According to the pre-injury depth chart, the sixth and seventh candidates for the rotation were Daniel Norris ("The Most Interesting Lefty in the World") and Johan Santana, whom you probably remember from his previous roles as Best Pitcher in Baseball and First Met With No-No.
Norris is a fine prospect, but you can hardly count on him becoming a Rookie of the Year candidate. And you can’t count on Santana becoming anything except, with a little luck, the The New Oliver Perez. And of course we can’t assume that no one else will get hurt in the next few months. So we have to assume that the loss of Stroman costs the Blue Jays at least a couple of wins. Theoretically, of course.
Do a couple of wins really matter much at this point? In a division as bunched up as this one, maybe. On the one hand, you might argue that with four or five contenders, the Jays shouldn’t make great efforts to be the one of four or five. On the other, you might argue that if 87 wins is enough for first place, you don’t want to be the team with 85. Oh, and here’s another wrinkle!
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 10, 2015
Forget about the contracts, though. Both those guys are getting older by the minute! Between them and Russell Martin and Mark Buehrle and (I hate to say it) R.A. Dickey, this roster’s window is closing exceptionally fast.
So sure, there are internal options. Norris is probably the most interesting, but Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez will probably wind up getting some starts, too, and should be decent. But if there’s a team that really should trade for Cole Hamels, it’s now probably the Blue Jays.