Jay Blue: Breaking down the final 25

The Blue Jays can count on at least 200 innings from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Photo: Jay Blue.

The Blue Jays can count on at least 200 innings from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Photo: Jay Blue.

    
Analyzing the 25-man Roster
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away

Whittling the spring training roster down to 25 men is not an easy job, particularly with a run for a World Series on the line. We’ll take a look at who the Jays will start the season with.

Catchers
Russell Martin
Josh Thole

Obviously, there weren’t any tough decisions here. Thole apparently revamped his swing over the offseason to try and produce more power. Well, he did hit three doubles in 23 plate appearances, hitting for a .409 slugging percentage but he didn’t take a walk, giving him a .273 batting average and a .261 OBP. We’re hoping that his OBP will actually be higher than his batting average through the season but any offense at all from Thole will be a pleasant surprise. Martin didn’t hit much this spring but we don’t really look at spring numbers do we?

Infield
Darwin Barney
Chris Colabello
Josh Donaldson
Edwin Encarnacion
Ryan Goins
Justin Smoak
Troy Tulowitzki

The downside of carrying three players at the first base/DH position is that there isn’t a lot of depth in the middle. Barney will play second, third and short and Goins can sub at short as well. The Jays will try to sneak Jesus Montero through waivers in order to keep him and Devon Travis will be DLed.

At this point, it appears that Encarnacion is going to be ready for the season’s opener Sunday and he’ll continue his rehab at the minor league complex, skipping the annual trip to Montreal.

Outfield
Jose Bautista
Ezequiel Carrera
Kevin Pillar
Michael Saunders

Despite a tremendous spring, Darrell Ceciliani resides in Buffalo currently. My thought was that he wouldn’t make the big league roster right off the bat, due to the fact that he’s got options remaining. Junior Lake will be put on waivers because he’s out of options, but I’m sure the Jays would like to keep him in Buffalo. Lake didn’t have a bad spring, hitting .256/.341/.385 with five doubles but it wasn’t enough as the Jays opted to go with the more familiar Carrera as their fourth outfielder.

Starting Rotation (in alphabetical order, not rotational order)
R.A. Dickey
Marco Estrada*
J.A. Happ
Aaron Sanchez
Marcus Stroman
* = will start season on disabled list.

It looks like the Blue Jays will open the season with four men in the rotation, particularly considering that the club has a day off after their four-game season-opening series with the Rays. Estrada will start the season on the DL but will likely be activated as soon as he’s able (barring a setback), with the club looking at him starting the final game of the season’s second series, on April 10 against the Boston Red Sox. Estrada’s DL stint enables the Blue Jays to carry an extra reliever for the first week of the season.

Bullpen
Joe Biagini
Brett Cecil
Jesse Chavez
Gavin Floyd
Arnold Leon
Roberto Osuna
Drew Storen
Ryan Tepera

Of the eight men still standing, one will have to go when Estrada returns from the DL but the Jays have bought themselves a week to take a look at the bubble guys, particularly Arnold Leon and Joe Biagini. Leon is out of minor league options and Biagini, as a Rule 5 player, must stay on the roster (or DL) all year or be offered back to the San Francisco Giants. I think by keeping him around, the Jays will test him against some tough AL East competition before a decision has to be made. Of course, the easiest choice would simply be to send Tepera back to the minors (given that he still has options). The other four (Chavez, Floyd, Osuna, Storen) are the no-brainers.

 

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All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2016) and may not be used without permission.

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Jay Blue

A lifelong Toronto Blue Jays fan, Jay Blue started blogging about the Jays when he was living in Berlin, Germany. He founded his own blog, Blue Jays from Away, to write about developments with his home town team, focusing on the Jays' minor league system. When he's not watching baseball, he is usually on the diamond umpiring or he's pursuing his research interests in the field of ethnomusicology.