Now that the Grapefruit league has come to a close, the Blue Jays will open their regular season schedule on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles, with their freshly announced 25 man roster.
The Blue Jays took their sweet time in announcing their 25 man-opening day roster, and it came with a few somewhat unexpected decisions. Perhaps the most unexpected move was the dismissal of Melvin Upton Jr., who will now try to find a gig elsewhere.
The Jays didn’t stop there, adding Chris Coghlan on a MiLB deal and sending him to Triple A Buffalo to begin the season. They also made the curious decision to send Mike Bolsinger back to Buffalo, and through the waiver process as well, which he surprisingly cleared.
In the bullpen, the Jays decided to keep Aaron Loup as their left-handed specialist, and will also begin the season with Dominic Leone and Ryan Tepera available as well. The full list looks like this:
The disabled list ended up playing a factor in a few of the decisions. For example, Leone likely doesn’t make the team if Roberto Osuna begins the campaign fully healthy. Because the 3rd year closer was placed on the 10 day DL, Leone gets the opportunity to show his stuff in regular season play.
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Both Glenn Sparkman and Bo Schultz are also on the shelf, with Schultz done for all of 2017 and likely more after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Sparkman is still recovering from a broken thumb, but should return sooner than later, where he’ll need to stick in the ‘pen, as the Blue Jays’ Rule 5 pick.
Upton’s departure also means that fan favourite, Ryan Goins, will open the season with the big club as well. Goins is well known for his elite abilities in the middle infield, and has also added the corner outfield positions to his repotoire. With guys like Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki up the middle, having depth is important, as both have historically struggled to stay healthy.
Goins may need to spend some time in the outfield as well, especially now that Upton is gone. The Jays have Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar expected to start in centre and right field, and look to utilize a combination of Ezequiel Carrera and Steve Pearce in left. On days that Pearce starts at first base, Goins would be the only reserve outfielder, a position he should handle with relative ease.
Of course, rosters are a very fluid thing in baseball, especially around this time of year. For example, once Osuna is healthy, the bullpen shuffle will begin. An Opening Day roster is really just that, the roster for the first game of the season.
Which is today. Finally!