Posted by: Peter Houston | April 1, 2010

The Cheapest Starting Rotation in Major League Baseball

You guessed it. No team will pay their starters less money in 2010 than the Toronto Blue Jays. The funny thing is – well I’ll get to the really funny thing in a second – it’s not even close. According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Jays owe their staff $4.085 M this year, and the next cheapest most frugal team is the Rays at $9.47 M, more than double the Jays.

But the really funny thing is, well, you could actually probably call it “remarkable”, “embarrassing”, or even “depressing”. The thing is: The Jays will pay Roy Halladay more in 2010 than their entire rotation. Reminder: Roy Halladay does not pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays.

What may have been lost in the mix of the Roy-Halladay-for-some-sweet-prospects deal is that the Jays also sent $6 million to the Phillies. That $6 million doesn’t seem so insignificant now. It’s like adding insult to injury. Not only do we no longer have Doc, we’re still paying part of Doc’s contract, and we’re paying him more than our entire rotation. The 2010 season should be a great one.

I wish I could tell you it’s an April Fools day joke. I also wish I could tell you this was a joke, April Fools day or not: Brian Tallet has been named the second starter. I’ll give you a second to clean the vomit off your keyboard.

I don’t even feel like going through the list of reasons why this is wrong. To provide some context, I would have been livid if Brian Tallet was named the 5th starter. But SECOND? AS IN #2? AS IN RIGHT AFTER SHAUN MARCUM? Cito has lost his god damn mind. Here’s why:

-Brian Tallet posted a 5.32 ERA last year, his first real season as a starter.

-Brian Tallet posted a 3.38 ERA as a reliever from 2006-2008.

-Brian Tallet posted a 4.71 ERA this spring, which is WORSE than Brett Cecil (optioned to AAA), Ricky Romero (#2 man last year, now #3) and Dana Eveland (#5 man, but props to Cito for that).

I think it’s fairly obvious Tallet should be in the bullpen. But when Marc Rzepczynski tried to snare a liner with his bare hand, breaking a bone in his finger, it looks like Tallet caught a break (pun most definitely intended). That meant the fight for the final 2 spots in the rotation was between Tallet, Cecil and Eveland. Like I mentioned before, Tallet’s stats were worse this spring than both of them, but somehow he MAKES the rotation and gets put AHEAD of both of them. I know one spring doesn’t decide a rotation, but if you can see the logic in this decision, please tell me.



  1. It’s about options and service time. Slow Cecil’s arbitration clock will trying to wring some free money out of Eveland and Tallet.

  2. Keep up the good work! Jays balk is great!

    ps. Im Hellena Guergis’s assistant-ing you right now!!

  3. Shaun Marcum’s ERA this season was 8.10 this spring. Pitchers don’t log enough innings to accurately use that statistic as a measuring stick for that kind of comparison.

    That said, I have to agree having Tallet as the #2 is just stupid. Romero should be pitching behind Marcum, then Morrow.

    Given the way he’s pitched this spring Eveland desrves the 4-spot and Tallet gets five. Cecil and Rzep get the chance to develop in Triple-A rather than get assaulted in the Majors in a season that doesn’t matter.

    Check out tomorrow for more of my opinion on the Jays pitching staff.

  4. Devil’s Advocate:

    One thing you could put in Cito’s favour is if this is a strategic move: Marcum is a righty, followed by Tallet and Romero as left-handers, Morrow from the right and Eveland as a southpaw.

    Repchinski also throws left and thus can be substituted for Tallet when his finger gets its act together.

    Tallet is also . . . tall? 1.29 WHIP in the spring is not awful, in fact it’s better than Marcum’s by a WHOLE HUNDREDTH OF A POINT. It’s the second-best of the starters behind Eveland.

    Um . . . he only made two errors last year. He struck out in his only plate appearance too, so now he will be bent on revenge in Interleague play. He may even get a hit because he does not face his now-nemesis Jordan Zimmerman.

    Oh man, this one game against Oakland in May he pitched 7 innings of two-hit ball, and then he held Texas scoreless in 7 a month later.

    And there you have it.

  5. If anyone is a plug in this rotation, in my view, it’s Tallet. The guy has yet to prove he has the endurance to start, and seems to only have the job because he rode that epic stache last year while they were doing well. Cito seems to like that sort of thing (Flashes of Duane Ward perhaps?).

    I don’t understand it. Romero pitched well enough to earn the ace billing, let alone to be relegated to 3rd. Eveland deserves the spot, but I agree I’d have him at 4, with Morrow at 3. But for me Tallet’s career numbers say he should be the long relief man. If anything, I hope this is a plug for when Cecil or R-Zep are ready, but here’s a question worth asking: Why isn’t Robert Ray in the mix?

    Either way, we all know this rotation is going to change about a billion times this season, so pretty much the first guy to screw up gets demoted. Let’s hope Tallet proves us all wrong

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