Ross Atkins Talks About the Blue Jays’ Plans with Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman

If you thought Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman might be two internal cures for the Blue Jays’ bullpen woes … think again. With two impact arms in the starting rotation and a clear need for bullpen help, the Jays’ relief solution appeared to be right under their nose.

However, not only does Marcus Stroman not look like a viable option in the bullpen for the Blue Jays, surprisingly, the same could apply for Aaron Sanchez; the man who’s been rumoured to move to the bullpen all along.

Ross Atkins appeared on Blue Jays Central ahead of the Blue Jays’ game in Colorado (which is very much in rain delay), and Jamie Campbell asked the Blue Jays GM about the futures of Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman.



Sanchez May Stick Around as a Starter After All?

In recent weeks, John Gibbons made it sound like more of a “when” and not “if” Aaron Sanchez would eventually transition into the bullpen. But Ross Atkins revealed that may not actually be the case with Sanchez.

What we’ll do is continue to focus on how effective he is as a starter. And so long as things are trending upwards and in the right direction, there will be no reason to move him out.

Again, this is quite interesting because it’s quite contrary to what Gibby has been pining for this season, which is to bolster the bullpen by moving Aaron Sanchez into the bullpen.

This sounds like a case of organizational differences, as Gibbons has pined for Sanchez as a reliever since last July. Whereas Atkins is coming at it from a long-term perspective; Atkins makes it seem like the organization is leaning towards keeping Sanchez as a starter.

Admittedly, shifting Aaron Sanchez over to the bullpen is very easy way to throttle his innings, while at the same time also improving the overall quality of the bullpen. But having Sanchez continue to start every fifth day can only do more good for his development.


What About Moving Stroman to the Bullpen Instead?

Jamie Campbell also addressed the potential of taking a struggling Marcus Stroman out of the rotation and inserting him into the bullpen, and Ross Atkins shot that one down right away.

No, we have not … not for one second. That’s the first time I’ve heard that question; the first time that’s come into my mind. It’s not something we’re considering at all.

To me, making Marcus Stroman a reliever was never really a viable option. If anything, a stint in the minor leagues may be in order for him, but plucking Stroman out of the rotation and inserting him into the bullpen would hardly fix his issues.

If anything, it may help him gain a bit of confidence, but one has to wonder the implications a move like that could have on one of the organization’s most important pitchers.


Hat tip to Sportsnet

Ian Hunter

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.