Ezequiel Carrera cracks Blue Jays roster as fourth outfielder
The 28-year-old Venezuelan saw more time than expected with the Blue Jays in 2015, bringing an element of familiarity into this season that Gibbons values
Blue Jays decision day continues with a stop in the outfield.
Moments after announcing that the young Roberto Osuna will open the season as Toronto’s closer ahead of Drew Storen, manager John Gibbons named Ezequiel Carrera the club’s fourth outfielder.
Carrera had been in a training camp competition with Dalton Pompey (optioned earlier this month), Junior Lake, and Darrell Ceciliani.
While Carrera does not come with the high-upside ceiling of a Lake or the spring wow-factor of Ceciliani, he represents a steady and known commodity to the Blue Jays. After signing on a minor league deal in December of 2014, Carrera gave the Jays more than they could have asked for in 192 plate appearances over 91 games.
He would end the season with a slash line of .273 / .321 / .373 including three home runs and 26 RBI. While his defence was not Gold Glove calibre, or even Bronze Glove at times, it did represent a welcome relief from the Danny Valencia and Chris Colabello experiments in left.
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What remains curious about Carrera’s 2015 is his two stolen bases, a number than was expected to be much higher given his speed tool. This is a player who stole 41 bases in 97 games with triple-A Toledo in 2014, and 43 bases in 105 games the year prior with triple-A Columbus.
If Carrera can even recapture a portion of that base stealing attribute, he will become a much more valuable late inning asset to the Jays.
Sliding Ceciliani back to the triple-A Buffalo level is an easy move given his remaining minor league options, and he should provide some high-calibre depth from that level after a standout spring with the Jays in Dunedin.
Lake may be a more difficult pass through waivers as he is out of options, but keep in mind that he did make it all the way to the Blue Jays on the waiver wire his first time through.