The Toronto Blue Jays have made the decision about just who would be on the roster for their first postseason appearance in 22 years. After much has been written and said about him, we knew that Mark Buehrle would not be there. But, just who would round out the roster remained to be seen. There were plenty of guesses and ideas about what the club should do, of course. But, now we can stop guessing.
Several reports have come out that the club has set its roster and looks to have chosen speed and defense for this portion of the playoff run.
The decision to carry Aaron Loup might surprise some. He has had an up and down season, literally. He was demoted to AAA Buffalo and then brought back up again. He has found a measure of success that has convinced the club that he is needed on the postseason roster. But, are fans convinced? He’s only seen 9 innings in the second half of the season. And, hitters are enjoying a .317 average in that sample. But, as Keegan Matheson already wrote here at Jays Journal, the attribute that he brings to the roster is the ability to throw from the left side.
With Brett Cecil already in tow, the Blue Jays need a lefty to combat the big lefty bats the Rangers bring to the plate. Whether Loup is able to handle that task remains to be seen. Fans will not be encouraged by his splits, though. Lefties are hitting .271 against him this year. Considering the need he fills, we might feel better if that mark weren;t nearly identical to the .272 mark righties have put up.
Toronto Blue Jays
It brings great joy to see Canadian boy, Dalton Pompey on the roster. His role will likely be limited to late inning running duties, but it is still good to see. Pompey was supposed to be the starting center fielder this year, but battled consistent hitting and was demoted. He came back up in September and the Blue Jays used him in that speedy role that he’ll be called upon to fill in October.
Ezequiel Carrera will likely be the fourth outfielder and should only see time as a left handed substitute for Kevin Pillar should that situation present itself. It also provides a fill in should an injury occur (knock on wood) to any of the regular outfield core of Jose Bautista, Pillar or Ben Revere. Like Pompey, though, he won’t see all that much time. This is really an insurance move.
Cliff Pennington being the only “extra” infield option highlights just how much playing time the Blue Jays expect the bench to get. They have a stellar pairing of Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Goins up the middle, so they will not look to break that up. With Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak available at first base, there doesn’t leave any room for another infielder. Should the need to put him in occur, it will be because of the defensive skills he brings to multiple positions.
The roster decisions are about providing the Blue Jays with as much flexibility as possible with the position players and providing favorable matchups in the bullpen. Whether these decisions pay off or not remains to be seen. But, the club has decided these are the guys they are going to war with in the ALDS. Feel free to chime in below with your thoughts on if you would have made the same decisions.