Roy Halladay was Toronto’s Opening Day starter in 2009. The Blue Jays traded him following the season.
Shaun Marcum was Toronto’s Opening Day starter in 2010. The Blue Jays traded him following the season.
The veteran departures should make for a competitive spring training this year in Dunedin, Fla. John Farrell, in his first season as the Toronto manager, said in a telephone interview this week that only three pitchers have been assured of spots in the rotation: left-handers Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil and right-hander Brandon Morrow.
The remaining two spots probably won’t be decided until late in spring training. Farrell listed five candidates for those jobs: right-handers Kyle Drabek, Jesse Litsch and Scott Richmond; and left-handers Marc Rzepczynski and Jo-Jo Reyes.
“This is going to be an exciting spring,” Farrell said. “We’ve got a number of decisions to make.”
Litsch, Richmond and Reyes are coming off seasons in which they missed significant time due to injuries. Of the five, Rzepczynski logged the most innings in the majors last year (63 2/3).
Drabek, meanwhile, will bring a lot of momentum to camp. He threw 162 innings at Class AA New Hampshire last year, followed by another 17 in the majors.
It’s not far-fetched to suggest that Drabek is capable of throwing 200 innings in the majors this year — even at the tender age of 23.
“You can look at the (innings) progression he’s already gone through to this point,” Farrell said of Drabek, whose father, Doug, is the former Cy Young Award winner. “What it’ll come down to now is his efficiency in games. When you look at the competitive nature of the person, and you know that the talent and personal side align, this is a very exciting and bright young prospect.
“You’re talking about someone who loves to compete and doesn’t back away from challenges. That’s his wiring and his makeup.”
— Jon Paul Morosi