Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

Inbox: Any chance Osuna would join rotation?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers Blue Jays fans' questions
August 21, 2017

What do you think about making closer Roberto Osuna a starter? Is this something the team has even considered? -- David B., Timmins, OntarioOsuna clearly has the stuff to start, but I think that ship sailed a long time ago. Osuna hasn't started since 2014, and he's never thrown more

What do you think about making closer Roberto Osuna a starter? Is this something the team has even considered?
-- David B., Timmins, Ontario

Osuna clearly has the stuff to start, but I think that ship sailed a long time ago. Osuna hasn't started since 2014, and he's never thrown more than 74 innings in one year at any level. The 22-year-old will be down to three years of control after this season and it would take at least one year, possibly two, for a complete transition to the rotation. Sure, Aaron Sanchez did it, but he tossed 133 innings in 2014 and 95 innings in '15 before becoming a full-time starter, so it's not a fair comparison.
:: Submit a question to the Blue Jays Inbox ::
There's also no incentive for Osuna to do this. Saves earn a lot of money through arbitration, and Osuna has a chance to challenge Jonathan Papelbon's record salary of $6.25 million for a first-time eligible reliever this offseason. By year three, Osuna could exceed Zach Britton's $11.4 million salary, and that's before free agency kicks in at age 25. He's about to make a lot of money right where he is.
If the Blue Jays move Devon Travis to the outfield, is he a good enough hitter to still be valuable?
-- @MatthewElmslie

When Travis is healthy, his bat is good enough to play just about anywhere. He had an .859 OPS in 2015 and .785 in '16 and was one of the league's hottest hitters before a knee injury in June. He hits for a high average and has underrated power. but there's also no denying it's harder to find that type of production from a middle infielder than a corner outfielder.

The benefit of a move to left is that it would be easier on Travis' knees, which have required a pair of surgeries over the last 12 months. Toronto also has more depth in the outfield to protect against injuries. but none of that matters unless the club acquires a bona fide second baseman. Travis is working his way back from injury at second, and personally, that's where I think he should stay, but roster flexibility is never a bad thing.
Will any of the Blue Jays' prospects get promoted? I would like to see some youth, but I understand the best prospects are in Class A.
-- @hedgedhusky

All of the prospects on the 40-man roster will receive consideration. Anthony Alford will be back, Ryan Borucki might be rewarded with a promotion and Teoscar Hernandez should get a look when his Minor League season comes to an end. Lourdes Gurriel seemed like another lock, but he has struggled this season and is batting .259/.307/.405 at Double-A New Hampshire. Most of the other callups will be in the bullpen to help an overworked group that is starting to run out of gas.
Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ and Sanchez will start next year, but who else will be in the rotation?
-- Chad E., Moncton, New Brunswick

Ideally one starter comes from outside the organization. I like the idea of signing Marco Estrada to an affordable short-term contract, but a lot of that will depend on how he finishes the year. Estrada is starting to run out of time to increase his value, though he's allowed three runs or fewer in five of his past six starts and appears to have turned the corner on his May and June struggles. To me, he's worth the gamble, especially considering his asking price will be lower than everyone expected several months ago.

Joe Biagini is another option, but if the Blue Jays want to use him as a starter, he needs to be properly developed. Sending him to Triple-A earlier this month was a good start because he needs to work on pitching out of the windup, and that development will continue next spring as well. Borucki might be ready at some point next season, and if he's waiting in the wings alongside Biagini as depth, the Blue Jays can avoid a lot of the pitfalls they experienced in 2017.
With all the talk of Troy Tulowitzki switching positions in near future, which do you predict is most likely? Why is second base never discussed?
-- @matthewstephan

Don't pay attention to "all the talk." It's not happening any time soon and probably not even for the foreseeable future. There is no indication whatsoever that Tulowitzki would consider changing positions and teams typically are reluctant up to upset veteran players on long-term contracts.
The defensive metrics weren't kind to Tulowitzki this season. He had one defensive run saved after putting up 10 in 2016 and his ultimate zone rating dropped from 4.9 to -1.7. Injuries played a role and Tulowitzki has more range than he displayed this season, but he needs to stay healthy for any of that to matter. There's a lot of uncertainty here, but either way don't expect a position change.

Will the Jays make the necessary moves to allow Steve Pearce to be a full-time designated hitter next year?
-- Kristy B., Toronto

It's not a bad idea, but I'm not convinced it's realistic. This would require moving Kendrys Morales and the $26 million remaining on his contract. As a full-time DH, he can only be traded within the AL and there will only be so many teams looking for that type of hitter.
The Blue Jays clearly need to improve their defense, and that starts at the corner outfield spots. It's almost impossible to imagine Pearce and Jose Bautista both returning, and it's almost as difficult to envision Pearce and Morales on the same team. One of the two likely has to go this offseason, and Morales clearly would be much more difficult to move.

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