Wednesday night’s game was a disaster.
After winning the series opener by a commanding score of 8-0, the Blue Jays sent out Ross Stripling with an opportunity to jump the Red Sox in the standings and take over first place in the American League East.
Stripling allowed five runs in the first inning.
Meanwhile, a few hours north, Alek Manoah was making his third start of the Triple-A season. Like clockwork, Manoah cruised through a dominant six-inning start. He allowed four hits, one earned run on a solo homer, one walk, and struck out 10. All told, Manoah has allowed one earned run over 18 innings this season.
The Blue Jays will send out Steven Matz in the rubber match on Thursday and then host Tampa Bay for an important four-game series. Anthony Kay will likely start the first game on Friday as he pitched fairly well in his last outing, it’ll be Robbie Ray and Hyun Jin Ryu will go on Saturday and Sunday, and then we’re back to Stripling’s spot on Monday.
The question yet again is how much longer the Blue Jays can keep Manoah down at Triple-A. At this point, he’s just carving up the opposition down there and it feels as though he’s wasting his bullets. The Blue Jays are in win-now mode and it’s really difficult to argue that Manoah wouldn’t be a better option every fifth day than Stripling at this point.
Though the team has been on a nice run lately, winning 12 of 18 since Teoscar Hernandez returned from the COVID list, it’s difficult for them to put together a major winning streak when their No. 4 and No. 5 spots so often get lit up.
The Big Three of Ryu, Ray, and Matz have been largely excellent but those other two spots look like something bordering on guaranteed losses. In only two of Stripling’s six starts have the Blue Jays managed a win, and they had to score seven and eight runs respectively to do so.
So, at this point, how do you keep Manoah down any longer? I mean, if he was putting up ho-hum numbers at Triple-A, walking a bunch of guys or getting away with outs on a bunch of contact, sure, you let him develop and improve and you don’t make a decision about a prospect based on a need on your big-league roster. But he’s dominating the competition he’s facing.
Anyways! Let’s hope that Manoah’s next start is with the Blue Jays. Moving along…
It’s only May but that doesn’t mean the Trade Speculation Content Machine isn’t ready to rev. Here’s something from Jon Trolololololosi…
The Twins, of course, have been complete dog shit this year, as they currently sit with a 14-27 record despite playing in a division that features the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers.
Minnesota won the Central last year with a 36-24 record and was expected to be in the mix to again win the division this year, competing with the Chicago White Sox. The expectation was that even if the Twins didn’t win the Central, they would be a prime candidate to earn a wild-card spot.
It’s early but… woof! They look terrible!
So, Morosi is suggesting here that Jose Berrios, their two-time All-Star and ace, is somebody that the Blue Jays should have their eye on to fill one of those aforementioned holes in their starting rotation.
This doesn’t really make much sense. As bad as the Twins have been, they’re still set up to be competitive for another few years as the majority of the key players on their roster are under control beyond this season. Berrios is one of those guys, as he’s signed this year at $6,1000,000 and he’s eligible for arbitration in the off-season and then he can be qualified before possibly hitting free agency after 2022.
I mean, if the Twins ultimately looked at their ugly start and decided yikes this isn’t going to work and opted to blow it up this year, sure, the Blue Jays should be all over Berrios. But, really, it’s hard to see a team with multi-year contention aspirations nuke their roster after two bad months.
And then there’s this strange one from Kevin Barker on Baseball Central…
Barker is suggested that Semien could be a good trade chip for the Blue Jays because he’s off to a hot start next season and “if you’re not going to sign him next year, why keep him?”
First of all, why is it guaranteed that the Blue Jays aren’t going to keep Semien? Based on how he’s played and the type of leader he appears to be on the roster, offering him a multi-year deal makes all kinds of sense. Even if that isn’t the play they decide to make, giving Semien a qualifying offer to either get him back in 2022 or get a compensatory draft pick would be a no-brainer.
There obviously aren’t going to be any rebuilding teams asking for Semien as the key player coming back in a deal because he’s able to walk at the end of the season. The only situation from Barker’s suggestion that could make sense is if the Blue Jays made some one-for-one Old School Hockey Deal with another contending team, like Semien for a starting pitcher.
Even then… what? Trade Speculation SZN! Catch the fever!
Finally, we have a minor transaction to talk about…
Old Friend Casey Lawrence is back in the mix.
You might have blocked these seasons out from your memory, but Lawrence was with the Blue Jays back in 2017. He was signed as an undrafted free agent with the team in 2010, spent seven years in the minors, and finally got the call in 2017. He made four appearances for the Blue Jays, posting an ERA of 8.78, and then got claimed off of waivers by the Seattle Mariners.
It’s only been four years but that feels like a lifetime ago.
Lawrence spent 2019 pitching in Japan and was at the Twins’ Alternate Training Site in 2020. This year, he had been pitching with the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League, and will now join the Thunder-Bisons. I guess they need to find somebody to fill Manoah’s rotation spot.