Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman has a torn ACL and is expected to miss the season, the club announced. While a knee injury may carry less long-term risk than would a problem with Stroman’s valuable right arm, the news nevertheless constitutes a huge blow to the Jays and a significant set-back for the prized 23-year-old.
The stakes are high for the Blue Jays after a win-now offseason spent bolstering the club’s lineup with veteran additions. Stroman had been expected to lead the rotation after a strong rookie year in which he posted a 3.65 ERA over 130 2/3 frames with 7.6 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9. Drawing rave reviews from scouts, Stroman also posted peripherals that suggested he was even better than his earned run mark.
Toronto expects to fill the void internally, at least this spring, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. Marco Estrada will compete with top prospects Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez for a rotation spot, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters. Of course, that will not only have implications for the team’s overall starting depth, but will take away options from an already less-than-ideal bullpen situation.
As others have noted, Toronto was said to be tapped out already in terms of 2015 spending, making a significant addition seem a difficult fit. Estrada does have plenty of big league time under his belt, some of it promising, while Norris and Sanchez bring plenty of upside. Of course, while the free agent market is currently lacking in supply, the team will potentially have the ability to attract a veteran who does not make an Opening Day roster and exercises an opt-out clause. And it is worth remembering as well that Johan Santana is under contract with the Jays.