Marcum emerges as the new Ace

Six months ago, no one ever thought there would be a time in the near future where anyone but Roy Halladay would be a starting on Opening Day.

Unfortunately, the Blue Jays will find themselves in that predicament on April 6th of next year when they decide who their Opening Day starter will be, and essentially who will be the new ace of the starting rotation.

So who will it be? As far as I’m concerned, the proverbial torch has been passed on to Shaun Marcum to steer this pitching staff in the right direction.


It’s a tall order for someone who is just over a year removed from Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since September 16th, 2008. If anyone on the pitching staff can do it though, it’s Shaun Marcum. Luckily, Alex Anthopoulos has assured everyone that Marcum will be healthy and ready to to for the coming season. The million dollar question though, is can Shaun fill Roy Halladay’s shoes?

He isn’t the flashy power-pitching number one starter that one would expect, yet Shaun Marcum has displayed traits of a young Roy Halladay and given a lot of hope to a young starting rotation that has been desecrated by injuries for the better part of two seasons. Marcum isn’t going to overpower hitters like Dustin McGowan, but he will keep them guessing with his pinpoint location and command of the plate.

At this point, I would even go ahead and pencil him in as the Opening Day starter. While he might not be the sexy choice like Ricky Romero, why not start off Shaun Marcum’s road to redemption with a bang – in front of 40,000 plus fans at the Rogers Centre?

If the Blue Jays are going to set a new tone and start a new era, they may as well do it with Shaun Marcum as the anchor to the starting rotation.

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

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  1. The Ack

    December 21, 2009 - 3:04 pm

    I mean, I love the old Marcum, but I think we should wait to see how he bounces back from the TJ before we throw an "ace" tag on him.

    Not that I don't want it to happen, but the first season back is usually rocky with full recovery by season 2, no?

  2. Peter D

    December 21, 2009 - 3:37 pm

    I would be very surprised if Romero wasn't the Jays opening day starter. That being said, I have more confidence in Marcum going forward than Romero, who I think will be an up and down pitcher for his career and most likely a #4 type starter.

  3. Ian H.

    December 21, 2009 - 4:08 pm

    Fair enough Ack – I am probably jumping the gun a little bit. However, within the next 3-5 years I definitely see Marcum as the Ace of the Blue Jays.

    Peter D, I personally wouldn't choose Romero as the Opening Day starter, but all signs point toward it happening. It's just a shame that he really dropped off those last two months of the season – I sure hope he can pull it together in 2010.

  4. eyebleaf

    December 21, 2009 - 5:43 pm

    I'm jumping the gun: playoffs!!!1

    I think Marcum was ready to pitch near the end of last season; the Jays made the right move to hold him back. So I'm expecting big things from him. He's ready. He's willing.

  5. Ian H.

    December 21, 2009 - 9:14 pm

    Agreed – no sense in pushing Marcum last year, because the Jays weren't playing meaningful games in September, let alone August.

    I'm sure if Arnsberg was still here, he would have Marcum ready to go for Opening Day. I think he can hold up to the workload, so I have my fingers crossed!

  6. Jmac55

    December 21, 2009 - 9:57 pm

    I agree. Since moving into the rotation back in '07 Marcum has shown a great deal of fortitude and mental resolve, in my opinion. Based on his mental attributes alone I think that he will emerge as the leader of the pitching staff next year.

  7. QJays

    December 21, 2009 - 10:21 pm

    I don't have a problem with Romero taking the first shot, though I think when all is said and done, Marcum will have had the better season. I'd prefer to see both of them do spring training for a bit first and go with experience if a clear winner doesn't emerge.

  8. Ian H.

    December 22, 2009 - 1:25 am

    JMac, the only slip-up I can remember from Marcum was back in the summer of '07 when they sent him down to the minors for what appeared to be an "attitude adjustment" problem.

    QJays, let them both battle it out and may the best man win! I also think Marcum will have the better season out of the two – Romero will probably hit a bit of a sophomore slump.

  9. Anonymous

    December 22, 2009 - 8:07 am

    He is more in the style of Greg Maddox or Catfish Hunter to me. And that is not half bad.

  10. Mattt

    December 22, 2009 - 5:27 pm

    Let's roll the dice and have Morrow as the new number one. Throws hard, doesn't know where it's going but either did AJ and he turned out ok.

  11. Ian H.

    December 22, 2009 - 8:49 pm

    I'm sure Shaun would greatly appreciate the Greg Maddux comparison. We have yet to see shades of Maddox in Marcum, but he definitely has the potential.

    Mattt, I would say hold back Morrow for now because he's even more prone to injury than Marcum is. Though I wouldn't be surprised of Morrow is the #2 starter in the rotation by the end of 2010.

  12. Ian H.

    December 23, 2009 - 1:07 am

    Right on! Thanks for the heads up. I'm honoured to be linked to ESPN in any fashion.

  13. Anonymous

    December 23, 2009 - 8:59 pm

    The Jays open the season on the road in 2010, so I say go with Rickey on the road, but make sure it's Shaun that gets the Home opener…

  14. Ian H.

    December 23, 2009 - 9:20 pm

    Not a bad idea! They start off with six games on the road, so whoever starts the second game of the season will actually start the Home Opener.

    So if Romero starts April 5th in Texas, Marcum would go April 12th in Toronto. I'm happy either way, so long as I'm at the Home Opener!

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