Blue Jays reassign Ezequiel Carrera to minor league camp


There was a point this winter when Toronto Blue Jays manager said that Ezequiel Carrera could challenge rookie Dalton Pompey for the center field job in Toronto. At the very least, the outfielder figured into the mix as a fourth outfielder. However, that time has come and past, as the Blue Jays reassigned Carrera to minor league camp on Thursday, according to Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star.

You don’t have to go very far to wonder what went wrong for Carrera in his bid to make the 25-man roster. A simple look at the team’s stat page requires use of the scroll wheel on your mouse before you find his name on the batting list. In 33 opportunities, Ezequiel Carrera has managed just 2 hits and 4 walks on the spring, emphasizing how over-matched he was at the plate by striking out 12 times (36.3% of the time) in the process. Baseball-Reference graded his spring opponent quality at 7.9, putting it roughly between that of a Double-A and Triple-A, which certainly didn’t help his cause any.

The Blue Jays signed Carrera to a minor league deal on December 3rd, at a time when the team’s outfield picture was decidedly murky and they had just traded Anthony Gose to the Tigers for Devon Travis. The thought was that Carrera could come into camp and compete, possibly adding a speed component to a team that could be lacking that option in the later innings. However, he would have needed to wow the brass during camp in order for the team to open up a 40-man roster spot for him, and Carrera just didn’t get the job done.

Instead, he’ll head to Triple-A Buffalo to start the season, providing minor league depth for a team that has little alternatives in the higher levels in the outfield. In five seasons at the Triple-A level, with the Mariners, Tigers, and Indians, Ezequiel Carrera owns a solid .282/.350/.382 slash-line and 167 stolen bases in 486 games. At the very least, he’ll provide a veteran presence at the top of the order for a Bisons team that has served as a feeder for the Blue Jays over the last two season.

The move leaves what will likely be the Blue Jays Opening Day outfield of Michael Saunders, Dalton Pompey, and Jose Bautista, along with fourth outfielder Kevin Pillar, in camp. If Saunders is not ready for Opening Day, Dayan Viciedo and Caleb Gindl (who are both still in camp), could get a look, but a corresponding roster move would need to be made to get them on the 40-man roster.

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