BOSTON -- The Blue Jays are expected to add at least one starting pitcher this offseason, but no matter what happens, there should be plenty of options at the club's disposal at Spring Training.
Toronto's rotation has been its biggest weakness this year and the only pitchers with guaranteed jobs in 2014 are R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and in all likelihood, hard-throwing right-hander Brandon Morrow.
The probability of adding two mid-rotation starters seems unlikely considering the expected market value, so even if general manager Alex Anthopoulos is able to make a big splash, there should be at least one job up for grabs and it's up to the current group to make a lasting impression.
"We don't know what's going to happen, what Alex is going to do during the offseason, that's an area we need to address, no question," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But we have some guys that are stepping up that will make their decisions tough and that's why it's important they all finish strong. It makes for good competition, but you do know that Alex is going to go out and look if we can strengthen that area anyways."
The Blue Jays might be lacking another elite starter, but they have plenty of options at the back end of their staff. J.A. Happ, Ricky Romero, Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Sean Nolin and Marcus Stroman could all potentially compete for a spot.
Toronto has been decimated by injuries in each of the past two seasons and knows all too well that it takes a lot more than five starters to get through a season. An ideal number of pitchers to have ready is 10, but that's a luxury the Blue Jays haven't enjoyed until now.
Drabek and Hutchison are recovered from Tommy John surgery, while prospects Nolin and Stroman are expected to be ready at some point next year. That should allow the club to avoid going with stopgap veterans like they had to do this year with Chien-Ming Wang, Ramon Ortiz and Aaron Laffey.
"We like these guys, they've shown us they can pitch but ... they're unproven guys," Gibbons said. "Happ has been around awhile, but the other guys are new to it and trying to establish themselves. Who knows what will happen? Alex, he'll address that and see what's available, see what options we have, but the depth looks a heck of a lot better than it did going into this year."