Stroman Likely Done for the Season

It could be over for the Blue Jays before it even starts.

Young stud Marcus Stroman has torn his left ACL and is expected to miss the rest of the season.  The 23-year-old was fielding bunts during batting practice and felt a pop, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters.

The void will likely be filled now by other youngsters.  Daniel Norris was hopeful to make the starting rotation but now looks like he’s almost a lock for the fifth spot.  Aaron Sanchez is coming off of a solid start in his last preseason game and would probably be better suited to be in the starting rotation in the long run.  But if that’s the case, the Jays will need more help towards the back end of their bullpen.

Marco Estrada was acquired in the off-season to provide depth and has a history of starting.  But his recent success has all been in the bullpen.  Estrada was demoted from the rotation last season in Milwaukee and had a solid second half of the season utilizing his two best pitches for an inning or two at a time.  This is likely the role that the Blue Birds envisioned him in.

The other options for Anthopoulos to salvage the third year of his “three-year window” is to hit the trade market.  There are several good options in Philadelphia, as long as Rogers is willing to whip out the wallet.  Cole Hamels and Jonathon Papelbon both want out of Pennsylvania and both provide veteran depth that could get the Jays to where they want to get to.

Hamels is in the fourth year of a 7-year, $159-million contract.  Indeed it’s more than the Jays have budgeted, but the three-time All-Star also has a World Series MVP on his resume.

Papelbon would be the best option.  His ticket is for $13 million this season and next but he put up excellent numbers last season, picking up 39 saves while posting a 2.04 ERA.  He’s also a World Series winner and is anything but a flash in the pan.  The 34-year-old has 29 or more saves in nine consecutive seasons.

Papelbon’s addition would solidify the back of the bullpen, leaving Brett Cecil to come in during high-leverage situations against lefties.  He’d also allow Sanchez, Norris, and possibly Estrada to all compete and possibly piggy-back each other’s starts to fill the hole now left by Stroman.

No matter what, the loss of Stroman isn’t the end of the world, or even the season for that matter.  It just means that the leeway of injuries or under-performance that the Blue Jays will have with any of their other young (or very old) arms is extremely limited.


Rodney Hiemstra


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