Your Call: Should fans worry about the Jays' 2012 rotation?

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Shane McNeil, TSN.ca
4/4/2012 12:04:06 PM
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With Tuesday's demotion of Brett Cecil, the Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation appears to be set.

The five hurlers that will start the year in the rotation include: Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Henderson Alvarez, Kyle Drabek and Joel Carreno.

Those five will all get starts in the season's opening week, at which point the team will readdress the rotation and likely survive with just four arms for a couple weeks.

At that point, whoever is left out of the four-man set (likely Carreno or Drabek) will likely re-enter the fray. The team is also hopeful that Dustin McGowan's foot injury will heal in time for him to rejoin the starting corps by late April or early May.

So, how confident are Jays' fans with the team's starters?

The Jays' rotation has undergone a shift over the past 18 months. At the end of the 2010 season, the team looked to have a core of young arms that had the potential to be one of the game's top quartets.

Romero, Morrow, Cecil and Shaun Marcum all posted double-digits in wins that season, with each leading the team in a different integral statistical category.

The team then dealt Marcum to the Brewers for current third baseman Brett Lawrie. Romero put together an All-Star campaign in 2011 and Morrow – despite battling arm injuries – still put up respectable numbers while proving to be a top-10 strikeout pitcher.

Cecil, meanwhile, has struggled ever since.

The starters that will carry the mail for the Jays this season behind Romero and Morrow offer a lot of potential, but little experience.

Both Alvarez and Drabek have drawn raves as they've developed through the Jays's system for the high quality of their “stuff” (raw pitching talent). However, Drabek demonstrated control issues in 2011, while Alvarez put up respectable numbers in just 10 starts.

Meanwhile, Joel Carreno's first start of 2012 will also be the first of his major league career and Dustin McGowan – who pitched courageously and effectively in 2011 – has still only appeared in five major league games since the end of the 2008 season.

If the team is to compete in the American League East are fans confident in these arms going up against the starting staffs in Boston, New York and Tampa Bay?

Or, conversely, are fans willing to watch the pitching develop for one more year and hope for the best? Drabek and Alvarez have undeniable talent, so there's no telling when either or both will put it together.

Similarly, the team has an avalanche of pitching talent in the system. A year from now, pitchers like Drew Hutchison, Deck McGuire, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Daniel Norris and others will be that much closer to major-league ready in the 2013 season.

So, competing in 2012 may not be a necessity to Jays' fans as long as their major league arms show improvement while fans wait for the future to develop.

But what do you think?

Are you worried about the Jays' starting rotation heading into this season?

As always, it's Your! Call.

Kyle Drabek, Dustin McGowan, Brett Cecil (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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