The Toronto Blue Jays will continue to tinker with their 40-man roster up until opening day, leaving this group of players in danger of being the first DFAs
Being the bottom man on a major league 40-man roster can be a brutal, churning existence for a professional ball player. Designated for assignment one week, only to be picked up by a new organization as their 40th man, reliving the same fate.
Looking at Toronto’s current 40-man roster, a handful of names can be circled as the potential “next man out” should the Blue Jays continue to add depth via free agency or trade. With over a month and a half until first pitch, this seems to be the likely scenario.
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Chad Jenkins was a victim to this recently when the organization added pitcher Gavin Floyd on a major league deal. Being out of options, the unlikely chance of Jenkins cracking the 25-man roster out of camp sealed his fate, and those roster options will continue to play heavily into any coming decisions. Thankfully for Toronto, Jenkins cleared and has landed back with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
Looking specifically at Toronto’s arms, the club could go a variety of ways depending on how they value current MLB potential versus their desire to protect a player.
Both Brady Dragmire and Blake McFarland were added to the 40-man ahead of the Rule 5 Draft for protection, but neither have a viable shot at the opening day roster as it currently stands. For the Blue Jays to outright either to the minor leagues would not be startling.
Then there are arms like the out-of-options Steve Delabar, who the Blue Jays would likely prefer to get through spring training to get a pulse on first. He still possesses true “boom” potential with his velocity, so in Delabar’s case, there may be more patience than expected. Ben Rowen and the ambidextrous Pat Venditte could also be in the conversation, while offseason trade addition Arnold Leon isn’t out of the picture either.
Looking positionally, third baseman Matt Dominguez is the lone infielder resting towards the bottom of the 40-man. I highlighted Dominguez earlier in the offseason as a piece of forgotten depth value with some real potential still remaining, but his flawed offensive game could just as easily tilt south.
In the outfield, both Ezequiel Carrera and Junior Lake are possibilities. Sneaking Lake through waivers to triple-A Buffalo would be ideal given the tantalizing potential he still possesses, though, and Carrera has shown the ability to keep a position afloat as injury depth while seemingly earning the trust of manager John Gibbons. Recent addition Darrell Ceciliani is another name, but again, coming off a late breakout season with triple-A Las Vegas in the Mets organization, there is optimism.
The commitment from Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins to flood MLB-ready depth into the organization (which is still ongoing) has arguably left the 35th to 40th spots on the 40-man roster stronger than they have been at times in the past.
Being without a glaringly obvious choice is a good thing in this situation, though depending on the next position that Toronto chooses to address (the smart money is on pitching), they do have options of varying levels in all positional groups.