Drabek? Marcum? Romero? Will the next Roy Halladay please stand up

Drabek? Marcum? Romero? Will the next Roy Halladay please stand up

Who's next? (Image: Keith Allison)

The Jays start the regular season in three weeks, and there is one question dominating the chatter among fans: who the hell is going to replace Roy Halladay? Who is going to stand on the mound on April 5 and stare down Vladimir Guerrero? It’s looking like it’s going to be either Ricky Romero or Shaun Marcum, though neither is a sure thing.

Romero had an impressive rookie season last year and has shown recently that he’s moved past his new-pitcher jitters, beating the Braves in a windy game last week. But, according to ESPN, “Cito Gaston said he likes Romero, but in a perfect world, he’d prefer someone with a bit more experience to anchor his staff.”

Shaun Marcum has a completely different strike against him: he was out all last season with elbow injuries. Now, though, he’s playing well as he gears up to the season, even practising on his days off. “My arm felt great, my body felt good, and I’m ready to make the next start,” Marcum said. “I just have to work on getting that pitch count built up. I threw 59 pitches; next time, I’ll try to get 75-80 in there and try to get ready for whenever they put me in the rotation.”

While ESPN has some disheartening stats about Halladay’s departure, it does has some positive things to say about a possible third contender: Kyle Drabek, the star pitcher among the three players the Jays scored for Halladay, who will likely be starting the season in New Hampshire. Says ESPN:

With a fastball that touches 95 miles per hour, a drop-off-the-CN-Tower curveball and a cool, confident aura on the mound, Drabeck generated major buzz last summer, on the way to a 12-3, 150-strikeout-in-158-inning season that carried him all the way to Double-A and the Futures Game. Some teams, the Blue Jays obviously included, view him as a top-of-the-rotation talent. Others see a five-foot-10 power pitcher with delivery issues who might max out as a number three starter. What no one sees is the next Roy Halladay.

Though Toronto fans may still be shaken by the loss of Doc, with these possibilities in the pen, our hearts have very cautiously begun to stir.

Jays Secure on Marcum [Toronto Sun]
• Jays Marcum willing to do whatever it takes to win [Toronto Star]
Romero No lock to start Jays on opening day [Toronto Star]
30 Questions: Toronto Blue Jays [ESPN]
Ricky Romero battles elements [Toronto Star]