Regular-season baseball is less than a month away and the Blue Jays have yet to see their ace pitcher or starting shortstop in live action this spring.
Shoulder inflammation has kept right-hander Marcus Stroman from making his spring debut, and Troy Tulowitzki is still nursing an ankle injury from last July.
Manager John Gibbons has been peppered with questions about the two over the last few weeks, and again on Sunday he offered little into their current status, but did reveal he doesn’t expect Tulowitzki to be in the lineup on Opening Day.
The good news for the Giants’ pitching staff is that this year’s defense is much better. Denard Span and his -27 DRS are gone. Andrew McCutchen will be patrolling right field, where he was a plus defender in a limited sample size in 2017. Evan Longoria was worth 11 DRS last year, replacing a third base carousel that cost Giants pitchers two runs. And, of course, they still have Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt and Buster Posey, who can each be Gold Glove contenders.
While all the Giants’ starters could theoretically be on this list, Samardzija gets the nod because of his 6.41 K/BB ratio, which was the fourth best in baseball last season.
Even with his home run problem, he recorded a very respectable 3.61 FIP. If nothing else, he could improve if his ERA falls to what it “should” be.
“They’re just not trying that hard,” Jansen said in an interview with FanRag Sports. “I think they are competing for the championship of revenue (profit). I think they are trying to see who can have the most revenue. I think they don’t care about the trophy. No disrespect, but we want to see more teams be competitive.
“There’s one team competing for the title in the NL East,” Jansen said, alluding to the Nationals.
Starting pitchers like Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb remained unsigned, joining position players Carlos Gonzalez and Mike Moustakas. Jansen feels as though those caliber players should currently be on rosters.