By Cole Shelton
Canadian Baseball Network
The Toronto Blue Jays are not used to this. The organizational depth is very high, and with a couple pitchers needed to be added to the 40-man roster, the question remains who is going to come off?
Right now, the Blue Jays are most likely going to add two or possibly three relievers on minor-league contracts who will need a spot on the 40-man roster. However, the 40-man roster is currently full.
Toronto has a few options of who to take off, or possibly move to the 60-day disabled list, but no matter what they do, the Blue Jays, are going to lose a key young player. The reason for a young player coming off is because the back end of the 40-man is full of young players who needed to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
With all this Toronto will have to decide what to do, but here are a few options:
Move Troy Tulowitzki to the 60-day disabled list
Ah, of course, the often injured Troy Tulowitzki is once again injured to start spring training and it seems unlikely that he will play in April, and maybe not even in May. Moving Tulowitzki to the 60-day disabled list opens up a roster spot on the 40-man for a reliever (John Axford and Tyler Clippard seem likely to need a spot on the 40-man).
However, moving Tulowitzki to the 60-day disabled list would mean the Blue Jays would be without their starting shortstop for the first two months of the season leaving Aledmys Diaz and Gift Ngoepe to fill-in at shortstop. Diaz struggled in 2017, and Ngoepe is a backup infielder at best. Not having Tulowitzki for 60 days will hurt Toronto in the first two months, but it is the most likely roster move to take place, as no one truly knows when Tulowitzki will be healthy, or when he will return
Trade or DFA Dalton Pompey
Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) was the opening day centre fielder just three years ago. But times have changed, and Pompey is now battling for a starting spot in triple-A Buffalo.
Toronto has a ton of outfield depth with the four starters in the majors, and then Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford, Dwight Smith Jr., Roemon Fields and Jonathan Davis. With that, there is really no room for Pompey. As well, Pompey has not been himself since he was rushed to the majors and dealing with a ton of injuries.
A change of scenery may be best for the 25-year-old, and either a trade or designating him for assignment may be an outcome of this roster crunch. On top of that, Pompey is out of options next season, and his value may be higher now then next spring when Pompey has to make the roster, or be placed on waivers and be gone for nothing.
Trade or DFA Dwight Smith Jr.
See reasons for Pompey above. Toronto has just too many outfielders on the 40-man, and one seems likely to move.
Trade or DFA Matt Dermody or Tim Mayza
It is very unlikely that Matt Dermody or Tim Mayza will be heading north when the final rosters are announced. Meaning, the Blue Jays may decide to let one of the lefties go, as it seems likely neither would be claimed if DFA’d and placed on waivers, as Dermody and Mayza have both been hit hard in the big leagues.
By DFAing one of them, it freely opens up a 40-man roster spot for Axford or Clippard (who seem likely to make the major league roster, as mentioned), while also keeping one of them (Dermody or Mayza) in the organization with the possibility of them being added back onto the 40-man roster at a later date.
Move Carlos Ramirez to the 60-day disabled list
Carlos Ramirez has not pitched in spring training in quite some time, and it seems likely he will start the season on the disabled list. Moving Ramirez to the 60-day, allows the Blue Jays to keep all the players above on the 40-man and get a longer look of what to do, or allow a trade to fruition.
Ramirez, however, is a very good reliever and he showed that last season, with a perfect zero ERA in the minors, and a 2.70 ERA in the MLB as a September call-up. Losing Ramirez for 60 days may hurt Toronto’s bullpen, but if Axford and Clippard pitch effectively then it won’t really impact them. But it is a tough decision to have a young arm go 60 days without pitching in a game if he is ready to pitch.
Ultimately, the Blue Jays front office has a huge decision to make very soon, as they will need to add at least two relievers to the roster. No matter what, they will be losing key players on waivers, or to the disabled list. In the end, Toronto knew this was coming and most likely has already decided on what they are going to do.