Who is the ideal pitcher for the Blue Jays fifth rotation spot?

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 6: Joe Biagini /

The Toronto Blue Jays now turn their attention towards their starting pitching where they will try to find the ideal fit and necessary depth.

The Toronto Blue Jays roster continues to take shape for the 2018 season but many questions still remain in the starting rotation especially with one spot up for grabs.

Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada will occupy the first four spots and speculation is already starting to ramp up on who could be the newest member of the rotation.

There was interest during the Winter Meetings in veteran CC Sabathia, but he decided to return to the New York Yankees so scratch the first rumour off the list.

Most recently there was a report suggesting that the Blue Jays are interested in Chris Tillman, the former Baltimore Orioles starter. Last season the 29-year-old right hander struggled with a shoulder injury, only making 19 starts and sporting a 1-7 record along with a 7.83 ERA.

With the number of higher end free agent pitchers on the market, the Blue Jays could try to grab Tillman on a cheaper one-year deal and his experience in the AL East is always a bonus. While many worry about Tillman’s production from last season, if he is healthy it would not be tough to expect him to have a more productive season.

Sportsnet’s David Singh writes how Tillman averaged 32 starts and 190 innings per season, along with a 3.91 ERA. That would be a bargain for the Blue Jays if they can get him on a reasonable one-year prove it deal.

Jon Paul Morosi was on Sportsnet 590 the Fan and brought up two other names along with Tillman as options for the Blue Jays.

The first was Jaime Garcia, a left-hander that finished last season with the New York Yankees but he does not cry out as a viable option over a player like Tillman. Unless he comes on a cheaper deal and puts up average numbers, the Blue Jays would be better off looking elsewhere.

Another left hander the Blue Jays could consider is Jason Vargas, who was also mentioned by Morosi and would be a more suitable option over Garcia. The 35-year-old had 18 wins with the Kansas City Royals which was a career high. Going after Garcia would provide the team a more stable option

The 12-year veteran was great to start the season going 12-3 with a 2.62 ERA but was not able to keep it up finishing with a 4.16 ERA. Vargas is usually capable of providing 180 inning which the Blue Jays would take given how tough it has been for their pitchers to remain healthy.

The 2017 All-Star would be an intriguing option if the Blue Jays are able to get him on a one-year deal allowing them flexibility going forward.

Now if those player sign elsewhere, the Blue Jays still have an internal option to consider. Right-hander Joe Biagini stepped in last season when injuries took their toll on the rotation. Manager John Gibbons says that Biagini is currently penciled in as the fifth starter unless another move is made.

This makes the most sense because it puts less pressure to go out and get another arm but if there is a chance to add a pitcher like Tillman, Garcia or Vargas to a reasonable contract then the Blue Jays have to do it.

Next: Josh Donaldson willing to be patient with contract

Surely Gibbons wouldn’t mind having Biagini  in the rotation, but the Blue Jays still need depth regardless. Tillman would be the ideal option given his track record and history in the division, but cost and interest will play a big factor in those decisions.