After a long offseason without baseball, it’s finally time for the boys to get back to work. The Blue Jays pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin today to get spring training under way.
It feels like it’s been an awfully long time since the ALCS concluded. It was October 19th when we last saw the Blue Jays on the field, as their 2016 postseason came to an end at the hands of the Cleveland Indians.
Fast forward 4 months, and a lot has happened for both clubs as they prepare to make another run at October greatness.
Since today is the day pitchers and catchers report for the Blue Jays, let’s take a quick recap of some of the new faces we’ll be seeing in camp:
Pitchers on MLB contracts:
Pitchers on MiLB contracts:
Gavin Floyd, T.J. House, Brett Oberholtzer, Jeff Beliveau, Lucas Harrell, Glenn Sparkmann (Rule 5 pick), Murphy Smith, Rafael Monsion, Jhon Victorino, Gaudy Ramirez, Jarrett Grube, Juan Diaz, Casey Lawrence, Yohandy Martir, Leonel Campos, Kender Villegas.
Designated for assignment:
A.J. Jimenez, Chad Girodo
As you can see, there are a slew of new faces for the coaching staff to get to know, and evaluate in a very short period of time. Obviously a lot of the above-listed names have been brought in to shore up the minor league depth, but there will be some legitimate opportunity in the Blue Jays spring camp this year.
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With A.J. Jimenez being designated for assignment on Monday, that all but guarantees that Saltalamacchia will be the back-up catcher in Toronto this season. It’s possible that he could get a push from Graterol, but “Salty’s” experience and ability to switch-hit, likely give him the leg up in camp.
In the bullpen, there are likely as many as five jobs locked down already. Returning are Roberto Osuna, Jason Grilli, and Joe Biagini (assuming he doesn’t get moved to starting depth), as well as the new additions in Smith and Howell. The other two spots will be left to a battle of the new arms, as well as returning options like Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera, among others.
Former Los Angeles Dodger Mike Bolsinger is out of options heading into camp, so he could have a leg up on the competition, simply because the Blue Jays don’t want to lose the depth that he could provide in the rotation. He’ll likely get a lengthy look as an option for the long man in the bullpen, a role that would allow him to provide some valuable innings, even if it’s not from the rotation.
Like the rest of the MLB clubs, the Blue Jays will have less than two weeks to get ready before they get into any game action. Things get kicked off on Feb 25th for Toronto, when they head to Orlando to open their spring schedule against the Braves.
All told they’ll have 33 spring games to figure out who’ll they take north on opening day, when the Blue Jays open their season on April 3rd in Baltimore against the Orioles.