Pitching. The Jays and their pitchers. Truly a tale of 2 extremes. Let's look at the first extreme, the starters.
So far the Jays have used 13 starting pitchers this season. My analysis will start from the "top", with the pitcher with the most starts. Stats as of 10:27 AM PST, July 9 2013.
1. R.A. Dickey. 19 starts. ERA+ 89.
AA gave up the farm for this guy, not only trading some great prospects but signing him to a massive extension. Yes, he's a great feel good story. But oh my goodness, what a terrible decision to bring this guy to Toronto. Seriously, what could possibly go wrong in bringing in a 38 year old knuckleballer from a pitcher's league and a pitcher's park and dumping him into a hitter's league and hitter's park? I'm not an "I told you so" guy, but when this deal was going down I knew it was going to suck. All the arguments from the mostly clueless Jays fans about how knuckleballers pitch forever (except they really don't). He's slightly better on 5 days rest than on 4 days rest, so if the Jays could put together a 6 man rotation.....ah, forget about it. If he has any value at all, he should be traded immediately. Who would want the 2 guaranteed years at 12 million per I don't know. Especially for a pitcher who absolutely SUCKS this year. Sorry R.A., the story is great, the book was a good read, but you need to get back to the NL ASAP.
2. Mark Buehrle. 18 starts. ERA+ 95.
I kind of feel bad for Mark. He made an intelligent decision to move to Miami and pitch in the NL. He realized that as he got older he needed to be in a more pitcher friendly league. Unfortunately he chose to believe the supposed promises that he wouldn't get traded, and now here he is in Toronto, in the AL, and without his family and dogs. Now, before you go warming up the violin, keep in mind that so far in his career he's been paid over 100 million dollars to pitch, and will receive another 37 million dollars in 2014-2015. So my sympathy is limited.
Pitching wise he's been below average, but with age and the move back to the AL, he's right about where I expected him to be. And how long can he keep throwing 200+ innings a year? If he makes it to 200 this year, it'll be 13 straight seasons. The absolute definition of a workhorse. And more than a little lucky to not have had a major injury.
Buehrle would be a solid 3 or 4 guy in a good rotation. Statistically he's #1 in the Jays rotation, but that isn't saying much. I'm sure he'd love to get back to the NL and a pitbull friendly city just as soon as possible.
3. Brandon Morrow. 10 starts. ERA+ 76.
This is how bad the Jays rotation is that this injury prone terrible pitcher has the 3rd most starts. Morrow was decent in 2012, but in 2013 he's back to his terrible self. He has bad mechanics that cause injuries, and he's incredibly inconsistent. The occasional flash of brilliance will never make up for the end product. And he's getting 8 million dollars this year to suck!
4. Josh Johnson. 10 starts. ERA+ 87.
Another part of the deal with the Marlins that supposedly guaranteed the Jays a World Series title. Another abject failure. Another injury prone guy who will never be as good as he could have been. And another shocking failure by AA. He's making 13.75 million this year to suck. Fortunately he'll be a free agent next season. I hope the Jays can move him and get something in return before his arm finally falls off.
5. J.A. Happ. 7 starts. ERA+ 88.
Happ was lucky to survive the liner to the head that sent him to hospital. I hope he gets better. I also hope he ends up pitching for a different team, because he's simply not a very good pitcher. Fortunately for him, his continued ability to be left handed will almost certainly guarantee him a major league roster spot for another 10 years or so.
6. Esmil Rogers. 7 starts. ERA+ 111.
Not even truly a starter, although he did make some starts for Colorado in the past. And was terrible. He pitched decently for Cleveland last year in relief, and was doing an ok job for the Jays when he was forced into the rotation due to injuries. After being useful in his first 6 starts, he got bombed by Detroit in his last one. I still think the Jays would have been better off keeping Aviles and Gomes, as both those guys would be more useful to the team. This guy has a very brief history of being a good pitcher, and quite frankly I don't expect it to last. I also fully expect him to be the next injured Jays pitcher.
The other 17 starts have been made by retreads and suspect prospects. No team can expect to contend with this horror show of a rotation. Nice work, GM!