Blue Jays Won’t Carry 3 Catchers


As the 2015 season starts to inch closer and closer for the Toronto Blue Jays, the roster is starting to take shape. We heard that the first base situation became a little clearer today as Daric Barton was sent down to minor league camp. Fans should expect these kinds of announcements to come hot and heavy over the next few days as the Blue Jays dwindle the roster down to the 25 guys who will head in to Yankee Stadium on April 6th.

Part of the dwindling process and decision making will have to take into account the bullpen. Even with Steve Delabar being optioned and Kyle Drabek being claimed by the White Sox, there still remain a couple question marks heading into the season. The answers to those questions will come when the team decides just how many arms it will carry in the ‘pen to start the season. Sportsnet’s Barry Davis tells us that that decision is still up in the air.

If that is the case and the club goes with an 8-man bullpen, they create a dilemma with their bench depth. By carrying an extra reliever, a team removes a position player form its bench. As such, it limits the options you can carry. Where this really makes folks wonder is when the talk turns to the catching position. Right now, it has been debated as to where Josh Thole fits in with Russell Martin and Dioner Navarro. Again, Davis sheds some light on this:

While this may seem a little vague as to exactly what the club will do with their trio of backstops. What isn’t as vague is what John Gibbons himself had to say when he appeared on Sportsnet’s Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown. When asked if he will carry 2 or 3 catchers, Gibby simply said “It’ll be 2”. He did say that no announcement had been made, so things could change, but that he’d be “very surprised if it were 3”. Obviously, the elephant in the room here is what will happen to Thole. 

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

The whole purpose of having Thole on the roster is his experience in catching R.A. Dickey and his knuckle ball. But, the club has had Martin working with Dickey to great results. Early indications are that he has handled well enough to allow the team to be comfortable with him moving forward. In fact, Gibby said just that: “Russell did a good job with Dickey and we’re going to let him start the season doing it”.

So, then it would appear that Thole is the odd man out. The argument could be made that they may want to keep Thole just in the event of injury to one of the others. If that were the case, the team would have to face demoting someone like Steve Tolleson, which they are loathe to do. As Gibbons says, Tolleson is so valuable because of his ability to play infield and outfield as well as to run the bases. A team would certainly swoop in and claim if they risk exposing him to waivers as a result of his demotion.

So, for right now, it looks as though Josh Thole will be starting the season in AAA Buffalo. This may be a relief to some fans who scream with rage over his ability (or lack thereof) to hit with any consistency.

At this time of year, rosters get narrowed down. Some guys become victims of the numbers game. In order to get down to 25 players, many others have to be sent elsewhere. It would appear that Josh Thole is that guy.

Next: Dioner Navarro at First Base?