Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: 5 likeliest non-roster invitees to crack the roster

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Jun 16, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Scott Copeland (28) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 16, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Scott Copeland (28) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports /

#4   –   P Roberto Hernandez

The 35-year old Hernandez may even be close enough to a roster spot to earn one without an injury around him, specifically a final spot in the bullpen that would be tasked to handle lower-leverage innings from the outset.

Hernandez (then Fausto Carmona) pitched for the Cleveland Indians from 2006 until 2012, thus producing a logical link between himself, Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro. He sprinkled in the odd strong season along the way, but for the most part, he’s a 10-year veteran with a 4.58 ERA and an arm that’s leaking velocity.

Hernandez saw his average fastball velocity dip below 90.0 MPH for the first time in his career as a member of the Astros in 2015, though his changeup remained strong. He does seem to have lost his touch creating ground balls, however, which was a specialty of his early in his career.

The best-case scenario for Hernandez may be Jesse Chavez beating out both Aaron Sanchez and Drew Hutchison in spring training, unlikely as that may be looking at this point.

In that situation, Hutchison would likely return to triple-A Buffalo to refine his craft while Sanchez would return to the back end of the bullpen to pitch high-leverage situations. Chavez has the most similar role-profile to Hernandez in the bullpen, so his exclusion from the picture may be the veteran righty’s best bet.

Still, Hernandez would be a surprise addition to the 25-man without injuries elsewhere. His opt-out clause may help him in that regard, though, if the Blue Jays do fear losing him as opening day approaches.

Next: #3: Underrated and versatile depth on the brink

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