Blue Jays shake-up roster leading into Rule 5 deadline

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 22: Pitcher Chris Rowley
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 22: Pitcher Chris Rowley /

The Toronto Blue Jays made a flurry of roster moves leading up to the Rule 5 roster deadline yesterday as additions to the roster were met with some significant and surprising subtractions and omissions.

The Blue Jays freed up two roster spots earlier in the day outrighting both Harold Ramirez and pitcher Chris Rowley off the 40-man roster. Ramirez was acquired in the Drew Hutchison deal that saw the Blue Jays land Francisco Liriano and Reese McGuire along with Ramirez. The 23-year old struggled last season with Double-A New Hampshire slashing .266/.320/.358 with 6 home runs in 121 games.

Rowley became a feel-good story making his MLB debut last season after completing his commitment to the United States Military. The 27-year old made 6 appearances for the Jays including 3 starts last season posting a 1-2 record with a 6.75 earned run average.

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

The Cleveland Indians also claimed infielder Rob Refsnyder off waivers from the Blue Jays yesterday as well. Refsnyder was acquired last July from the New York Yankees in exchange for Ryan McBroom. The native of Seoul, South Korea hit .196 in 32 contests for the Jays in 2017.

With the free up roster space, the Jays then added 5 players to their active 40-man roster which would shield the players from being selected in the upcoming Rule-5 Draft. The additions included Conner Greene, Dan Jansen, Reese McGuire, Tom Pannone and Rowdy Tellez.

The brain trust is high on pitcher Tom Pannone whom they acquired from the Cleveland Indians in the Joe Smith deal at the trade deadline. Pannone accumulated a 2.36 earned run average between High-A and Double-A with the Indians and Jays last season.

Some surprising names not added to the roster were the oft-injured Max Pentecost and Canadian pitchers Jordan Romano and Andrew Case. All three players will be exposed and available for teams in the Rule-5 draft.

The Jays roll the dice leaving the promising Pentecost unprotected hopeful teams are deterred by his lack of minor league seasoning due to injuries. Both Romano and Case could be claimed as bullpen options especially Case who is coming off a successful Arizona Fall League campaign where he did not allow a run.

The Jays also swung a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates acquiring Gift Ngoepe for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Ngoepe is an above average defender who hails from South Africa and can provide the Jays with some insurance at the middle infield positions.

Next: Blue Jays: Jose Bautista ties the knot

The hot stove and roster tinkering is in full swing as the Winter Meetings in December loom closer with each passing day.