Toronto has starting pitching depth to complement Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, and R.A. Dickey in Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison, lefty J.A. Happ, Gavin Floyd, and Jessie Chavez.
Conventional wisdom selects Happ and Floyd as Jays starters, Hutch to AAA, Chavez for long relief, and Sanchez to solidify relief pitching, or Sanchez starts and Floyd joins Chavez in long relief.
The New York Mets used a 6 man rotation successfully last season and intend on using it this season while the Yankees consider it if everyone is healthy. In 2014, Yu Darvish pushed for 6 man rotations to reduce arm injuries like they do in Japan. Darvish needed Tommy John surgery the following season.
Conventional wisdom doesn’t want pitchers with different schedules of rest but considering injuries and emergencies, 100-200 innings is up for grabs.
A 6 man rotation has merit in Toronto. Every possible starter has issues to address.
Dickey’s knuckleball pitching struggles early in the season. He should work less in the cold weather. Also, he is another advocate 6 man rotations.
Between them, Stroman, Hutchison, Estrada, Happ, Chavez, and Sanchez logged 180+ innings in the majors twice. Gavin Floyd has a few but was injured the past few seasons, including almost the entire 2015 season.
Stroman is Toronto’s potential “ace”. He will pitch more but his arm is still young and missed most of last season to injury so it’s possible to see his innings in the 180 range.
Hutchison was lights out at home in 2015 but bad on the road. In 2014, it was the opposite. He needs to lower his ERA despite a 13-4 record last year.
Like Mark Buehrle is 2015, Jessie Chavez is known for hot starts but fades near the finish and worked only 100 innings last season. Happ is injury prone and Sanchez isn’t a proven starter but has good stuff.
Like Josh Donaldson said, “This isn’t the try league. This is the get it done league.”
Toronto needs wins from the start. 2 less starts from Dickey at season’s beginning wouldn’t hurt, especially if Hutch and Chavez start hot. Happ is prone to injury but the team needs a lefty presence when called upon.
A 6 man early season rotation of Stroman, Estrada, Dickey, Hutchison, Happ, Sanchez is better than an unproven opening day ace (Stroman), unhealthy Estrada, inconsistent Dickey, unreliable Hutchison, and a delicate Happ with Sanchez relieving sparingly. Replace Hutch with Sanchez or Floyd and Hutch stunts his development in AAA.
Each starter in the 6 man rotation eases into the season while Chavez and Floyd provide excellent long relief, especially with Toronto’s offense for confidence.
Floyd is an excellent replacement for injured starters if he remains healthy but currently battling Sanchez for the 5th starter position, regardless that Hutchison had a great preseason.
Extra depth leads to beneficial trade deadline acquisitions and Toronto is looking for a championship this year. They need to hold the fort until then and not blow leads, creating a different Sanchez Situation.