Blue Jays: Who is competing to make the team this spring?

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 23: Teoscar Hernandez
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 23: Teoscar Hernandez /
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DUNEDIN, FL – FEBRUARY 22: Gift Ngoepe
DUNEDIN, FL – FEBRUARY 22: Gift Ngoepe /

The Infield

Assuming everyone is healthy, and that’s admittedly a very big “IF”, the Blue Jays infield picture is pretty well taken care of. Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak return at the corners, Russell Martin will handle the majority of the catching duties, and the Jays will hope that Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis can have healthier seasons than they did in 2017, when they combined to play just 116 games.

The infield depth is arguably the biggest area of change this offseason, and it was a need that Atkins and Shapiro identified and addressed early this winter. The addition of the versatile Yangervis Solarte gives the Blue Jays another starting calibre infielder with experience all over the diamond. A fan favourite of the Padres, I’m confident that Blue Jays’ fans will grow to appreciate him in very short order. There’s also the addition of Aledmys Diaz, who not only shores up the shortstop position considerably, but he’s also a worthwhile gamble with a lot of upside, especially after hitting .300 with 17 home runs as a rookie.

As I said above, the infield health situation is a big if, and it’s already evidenced by Troy Tulowitzki’s delayed start dealing with bone spur issues. If he or anyone else can’t go on Opening Day, there are options like Gift Ngoepe, Richard Urena, and more that could handle duties up the middle if needed as well.

When it comes to the infield equation, the biggest question may be whether or not Diaz makes the Opening Day roster. If the Blue Jays do decide to hang on to all five outfielders including Ezequiel Carrera, it’s going to be hard to find room for Diaz as well. Of course, that’ll hinge on whether Tulowitzki can be fully healthy, and whether everyone else can get through camp without getting hurt.