Is it “play catch” or “have a catch”? Either way, Marcus Stroman’s scheduled to do that today. He was shut down for the past week due to inflammation in his throwing shoulder. It seems like they’re going to take it slow with him, which is a no-brainer given that it’s still March. It’s better to go slow and potentially start the season late than deal with a nagging injury all year. I mean, you don’t want to rush things and exit your first start back like…uh…
Anyways, speaking of Aaron Sanchez, he spoke to the Sun’s Rob Longley and not only is he in the best shape of his life, the finger that plagued him last year is, too! For real this time! We hope. He also talked about the finger not even crossing his mind at this point, which is good because I can’t imagine how uncomfortable snapping a curveball off in that situation was.
Longley also mentioned Stroman and Sanchez being a strong 1-2 punch for the Blue Jays this season, which is something I’ve thought about a lot this winter.
The talk this offseason has been about depth, and how the Blue Jays addressed their weaknesses by bringing in guys like Granderson, Solarte, and Diaz, but the Blue Jays starting pitching still looks like it should be one of their strengths. The new depth and raising the floor of this team is good and all, but Stroman and Sanchez have legit star power at the front of the Blue Jays rotation. When Stroman was on fire last year, Sanchez was dealing with that finger. When Sanchez had his breakout year in 2016, Stroman was getting lit up for a huge portion of it.
Fans really want to see #StroChez reunite. While it would be nice to see two young men push their egos to the side and get over what caused their relationship to sour, I don’t really care. They’re adults and are allowed to pick and choose who to interact with. It must have been incredibly annoying for both them to have random strangers tweeting them incessantly because we romanticized the idea of best friends working through the ranks to get to the show. It really is none of our business if the tension between them persists.
What we DO need to see, however, is what Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, both fully healthy, both performing to the best of their ability, can do in a rotation for an extended period of time.
Something Longley mentioned in his piece is the drive that both men possess and the inner desire to be the ace on this team. Could you imagine how great it’d be if these guys spent all season trying to one-up each other?
Both Stroman and Sanchez are similar in the sense that they can lull you to sleep with a constant stream of ground ball outs and the ability to pitch effectively deep into games. They both have that big game feel and have had long stretches of starts that prompted fans to label each guy “the next one,” but those quality outings never overlapped each other. 2016 Aaron Sanchez making starts with 2017 Marcus Stroman would change the outlook of this team. Add in JA Happ and his 6.1 fWAR over the past two seasons, and the Blue Jays might be onto something. They don’t have a true ace, but there’s definitely a lot of quality at the front of the rotation.
We talked about raising the floor for weeks. A combined 400 IP from Stroman and Sanchez would nudge that ceiling a little bit, and while I’m not ready to declare them the Red Sox or Yankees yet, it would sure as hell make things a bit more interesting.
Please just fucking stay healthy.