Blue Jays may have to move another OFer from the 40 man roster
With the Blue Jays having a pretty full 40 man roster, they might be interested in moving another outfielder under the right circumstances.
While the Blue Jays have their outfield picture pretty much set in stone, the depth behind them is pretty up in the air. You can pretty much count on Randal Grichuk in right field, Kevin Pillar in centre, and a platoon of Curtis Granderson and Steve Pearce in left field. Beyond that it’s possible the Blue Jays carry another outfielder, but it’s not a necessity either with their new found utility players.
Behind that starting foursome is a formidable minor league group, with several players arguably ready to take on a major league job right now. Some could still start the season in Toronto, but if everyone is healthy it’s expected that the Buffalo Bisons will feature the likes of the highly regarded Teoscar Hernandez and Anthony Alford, as well as others like Dalton Pompey and Dwight Smith Jr.
All four have played at least one game at the highest level, but they also have something else in common: they’re all on the 40 man roster. While that’s generally seen as a good thing, for some one or more of the group it could mean a change in status within the organization this spring, at the very least.
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As things stand right now the Blue Jays could still arguably use another left-hander for the bullpen, and a stronger option at back-up catcher wouldn’t hurt either. They also keep adding non-roster invites to camp as bullpen options, and if any of John Axford, Tyler Clippard, Al Alburquerque, or Craig Breslow make the team out of spring training, they’ll need to be added to the 40 man as well.
For that reason there’s a decent chance the Blue Jays could be looking to move another outfielder before Opening Day comes around, even after designating Ezequiel Carrera for assignment. His status is also up in the air at the moment, but it would appear the Jays are ready to move ahead without him unless a need arises because of injury.
However, if Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro decide they want to add another lefty, another catcher, or anything else to the fold before the season gets underway, then they’re going to have to find room for them on the roster. It’s possible the front office could move a pitcher like Taylor Guerrieri or someone else in order to make that potentially needed room, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if that fate fell on one or both of Dwight Smith Jr or Dalton Pompey.
It’s not that those two don’t bring value to the organization, it’s just that they’ve been surpassed in a crowded organizational outfield picture. In a hypothetical situation where one of Grichuk/Pillar/Granderson/Pearce couldn’t start the season on time due to injury, both Hernanderz and Alford are capable of playing all three outfield corners, and would be ready for a promotion provided there is regular playing time to be had. It would take a long injury list (kinda like last season?) before that duo may get a chance to make an impact.
For what it’s worth, I hope the Blue Jays keep Dalton Pompey around long enough to see what he’s capable of doing if he’s healthy. He spent pretty much all of last year dealing with concussion issues and other ailments, so I’d personally like to see if the Canuck can stay healthy before considering trading him, or trying to remove him from the 40 man roster. As for Smith, while I think he’s a decent player and a likeable personality, he might have a better chance to earn a big league shot somewhere else.
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For an outfield picture that looked pretty thin entering the offseason, the Blue Jays have a pretty enviable amount of depth to work with in 2018. And for that reason, don’t be surprised if there’s another trade or move made near the bottom of the outfield depth chart, even if the talent may be worth hanging on to.