The Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation was hyped as one to fear in 2013. Instead, it left fans pinching themselves to awake from a bad dream. With free agents seriously considering swinging the bat elsewhere, options still untouched and veteran Mark DeRosa’s retirement announcement, Toronto has more than a few empty spots to fill when it comes to next season’s rooster — with a spotlight shining bright on the pitcher’s mound.
One of the stars of last year’s blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins, right-hander Josh Johnson, reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday. After missing significant time donning blue and white with a triceps injury, Josh Johnson recorded a record of 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in just 16 appearances. It’s not a surprise the two-time All-Star decided to return to the NL after Toronto declined to extend a qualifying offer. Therefore, there is no doubt that GM Alex Anthopoulos needs to secure an impact arm to start alongside R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Brandon Morrow heading into the spring.
Rumors are circulating that free-agents Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, Ervin Santana or Masahiro Tanaka, from the Japanese market, could make an impact in the middle of the rotation. Anthopoulos’ budget is not expected to exceed $150 million this year, so if the Blue Jays can secure one of those candidates, it is assumed the fifth spot would then be fought for by Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ or Esmil Rogers.