#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.
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