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Inbox: Lack of rotation depth a concern?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from Blue Jays fans
MLB.com @gregorMLB

Given the upgrades in depth for all positions, what is the one area where you can see problems arising if there are multiple injuries this season?
--@glynfoulkes

The starting rotation. The Blue Jays are in a better spot than a year ago when Mat Latos, Casey Lawrence and Cesar Valdez were among the depth pieces, but the rotation could still be an issue if more than one arm goes down early. Ryan Borucki and Thomas Pannone offer promise, but both require more time in the Minors and would be better off not debuting until at least midway through the season.

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Given the upgrades in depth for all positions, what is the one area where you can see problems arising if there are multiple injuries this season?
--@glynfoulkes

The starting rotation. The Blue Jays are in a better spot than a year ago when Mat Latos, Casey Lawrence and Cesar Valdez were among the depth pieces, but the rotation could still be an issue if more than one arm goes down early. Ryan Borucki and Thomas Pannone offer promise, but both require more time in the Minors and would be better off not debuting until at least midway through the season.

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Outside of right-hander Joe Biagini, Taylor Guerrieri and Chris Rowley are among the only replacement candidates early in the year. The hope is this won't become an issue and Biagini will be the only insurance the Blue Jays need, but don't forget: This is a team that went through 14 different starters in 2017.

Is Biagini destined for the 'pen? Or is he being sent down to stay stretched out?
-- @lgrlgm8694

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

At this point, the Blue Jays have no choice but to keep using Biagini as a starter. Marcus Stroman is scheduled to toss two innings against the Canadian Junior National Team on Saturday, but there's no guarantee he will be ready for the first week of the season. If Stroman can't go, Biagini joins the rotation. If Stroman is ready, the logical choice is sending Biagini to Triple-A Buffalo.

The fact is Toronto needs Biagini as a starter more than it needs him in the bullpen. John Axford and Tyler Clippard are the clear favorites for the final two relief spots, but beyond that pair is a group that includes Al Alburquerque, Luis Santos, Craig Breslow, Tim Mayza and Matt Dermody. The starting options aren't nearly as plentiful, and Biagini's development would benefit from a stable role.

Just curious as to why Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. are not listed among the Top 30 prospects for the Blue Jays?
-- Darren H., St. John's, Newfoundland

Gurriel is not eligible because he signed after his 23rd birthday. By waiting, Gurriel was not subject to international signing guidelines and secured a big league deal over seven seasons with the Blue Jays. Gurriel was ranked the No. 6 international prospect at the time of his agreement but is not eligible here because he essentially signed as a professional. As for Hernandez, players with more than 150 career at-bats are no longer considered rookies and he surpassed that total last year in Toronto.

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Who is the better player, both offensively and defensively -- Aledmys Diaz or Yangervis Solarte? And who do you see getting more playing time this season?
-- Joel W.

By most accounts, Solarte has the better bat and Diaz has the superior glove, but they offer different skill sets. Diaz is the best option at shortstop and he figures to get a lot of playing time while Troy Tulowitzki recovers from a bone spur. Solarte lacks range at shortstop, but he's the primary backup at second and third base.

Diaz is the obvious pick to be on the field more, but Solarte should receive plenty of opportunities. The Blue Jays will want to be cautious with Devon Travis following last year's knee surgery, and Josh Donaldson would benefit from an occasional start or two at designated hitter.

I understand the interest to look at many players during spring, but I am also of the mindset that the coaches are aware of the abilities of all players. Does it seem like too much playing time is given to non-starter players resulting in a slow start to the season?
-- Cal H., London, Ontario

Toronto has become notorious for its slow starts so I understand the premise, but the number of players isn't a factor here. Whether it's starting pitchers, regular position players or relievers, the priority always goes to guys who project to be on the 25-man roster. The coaching staff, in conjunction with the players, determines how much playing time is needed. And then after that, prospects and Minor Leaguers are slotted in.

If anything, the opposite is true and it's the prospects who don't receive enough playing time. That's why you see a mass exodus of players once Minor League camp gets underway. Buffalo's projected starting rotation and top catchers Dan Jansen and Reese McGuire have already joined the other side and cuts will continue in the coming days.

Is it time for the Blue Jays to cut ties with Tulowitzki?
-- John R., Houston

Realistically, the only way that's going to happen is if the Blue Jays pay out the remainder of his $58 million contract, or by eating at least some of that money and packaging multiple prospects to get a deal done. Neither one of those things is happening anytime soon.

I highly recommend listening to the latest edition of the MLB Executive Access podcast. Former GM Alex Anthopoulos sat down with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand and admitted the only reason Toronto was able to sign Jose Bautista to an extension was because it shed the contract of Vernon Wells. Is something similar possible here with Donaldson? I suppose, but when Toronto made that 2011 trade, Wells was coming off a season in which he posted an .847 OPS. Tulowitzki had a .678 OPS last year. The Wells trade was tough enough; a Tulowitzki deal is next to impossible.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays