What was formally described as a spot start for Toronto Blue Jays‘ J.A. Happ in the opening game of the upcoming series against the Philadelphia Phillies now has a chance to take on a more permanent status going forward in light of Brandon Morrow‘s injury.
If this does in fact take place, the Blue Jays will be making yet another blunder, one that can prevented before it transpires. With a hectic May schedule on the horizon, its understandable to take advantage of as many arms as possible, and a potential six-man rotation can help ease the stress on an overused bullpen — in the short-term that is. However, handing Happ the role is the opposite of intelligent roster management.
The Blue Jays can claim Marcus Stroman has been called up to aid the efforts of their lackluster bullpen all they want. The fact of the matter is if the top-tier prospect isn’t utilized in a starting capacity relatively soon, the question then becomes: why did they impede his progress in the first place?
The answer is staring this franchise in the face. Stroman shouldn’t have been used on Sunday in Pittsburgh out of the pen, an instance where Happ could have played the role of situational lefty.
Happ’s career numbers of a 1.40 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, 8.6 H/9 and 4.29 ERA don’t exactly suggest a second-coming of anything resembling more than in innings filler. Why wait to give Stroman his chance? The fact that the Phillies employ a plethora of left-handed swingers is just half a leg to stand on, especially when considering his lefty-righty splits are too close for comfort.
MLB action has only begun to heat up, and the injury to Morrow has opened many doors for this rotation to walk through. On the other hand, the decision to start Happ will come back to haunt this team if he’s again given an all-too-familiar long leash. The Jays have robbed their fans from what should have been Stroman’s major league debut as a starter.