The Blue Jays must now rely more heavily on a rotation that entered the season with pre-existing question marks. Toronto was already asking a lot from its youngsters this year - at least 380 innings of above-league-average pitching from Stroman and Drew Hutchison - not to mention optimistic results from veterans R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle.
The Jays have Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion under contract for at least one more season, and the 2016 free-agent pitcher class is shaping up to be extremely deep. For now, they could do worse than rolling the dice on these three pitchers:
2015 Salary: $12 million
2016 Status: $13-million option ($300,000 buyout)
Oh, you were expecting Cole Hamels? The Blue Jays have coveted an ace to compliment their high-powered offense, but at this point they need their top young trade chips (Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey and Aaron Sanchez) contributing to the wins column now.
Cahill has struggled to demonstrate consistency during his six-year career, and suffered through his worst ERA and walk rate in 2014. But the Diamondbacks right-hander is still just 27 years old and averaged slightly over 200 innings from 2010-13. There's optimism Cahill can rebound to his previous form with a new arm slot, and the Diamondbacks need a catcher (Dioner Navarro). Cahill might not outperform Sanchez or Norris, but he wouldn't have to. There will surely be more injuries, and the Blue Jays need the depth to roll with them.
2015 Salary: $11 million
2016 Status: FA
Pivoting off the previous point, it's not clear what exactly the Blue Jays are expecting from Sanchez and Norris. The pair combined to throw just 39 2/3 MLB innings last year, and neither pitcher has claimed a defined role on the staff less than a month to go before the season.
Adding the 41-year-old Colon would allow the two prospects to develop more organically.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos loves acquiring players with years of control, and it's no secret he's working on a team-imposed budget. But Colon's ERA, FIP, and BB/9 rate over the last two seasons would be tops among Toronto's current starters, and therefore makes this an obvious option to explore.
2015 Salary: $9.775 million
2016 Status: FA
Leake, 27, is coming off a personal-best 214 1/3 innings pitched - only Dickey threw more - and the highest strikeout clip of his career. Despite a high HR/FB rate, the right-hander has been better than league average at inducing grounders and fly balls for five straight seasons. Those are encouraging numbers for a pitcher at hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.