After being designated for assignment on February 26th, Ezequiel Carrera cleared waivers and was eventually assigned to minor league camp in Dunedin. This morning, we have learned that the 30-year old Venezuelan has been released by the team.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, the Blue Jays have officially released Ezequiel Carrera, undoubtedly ending his tenure in Toronto. Mike Wilner also reports that the Jays will owe Carrera one sixth of his $1.9 million contract, or roughly $316k, relieving them of the majority of their financial obligations.
Carrera, who played 131 games with Toronto last season, slashed .282/.356/.408 with 8 home runs and 20 RBI. He played all three outfield positions and was worth -0.4 WAR. He also gave the Jays some much needed speed on the base paths, stealing 10 bags last year, and seven in 2016. He wasn’t expected to be a starter last year, but squeezed his way into a starting role due to injuries and inconsistency among his outfield cohort.
A fan favourite, Carrera finished his Blue Jays career with 332 games under his belt over three seasons, splitting time in his first year between Buffalo and Toronto. John Gibbons expects Carrera to find an opportunity with another big league club, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith.
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It’s not surprising that Carrera was cut loose, due to the suddenly plentiful outfield options available. Just this spring, we have seen the Jays add Randal Grichuk and Curtis Granderson, while seeing the emergence of top prospect Anthony Alford. Elsewhere on the major league roster, Steve Pearce and Yangervis Solarte could also see some time in the outfield. Teoscar Hernandez has also impressed in spring training, making it difficult to leave him out of the conversation.
This means that the Jays have roughly $1.5 million in newly available salary space to find more relief depth or a backup catcher. At this point, it seems more likely that the team will pursue low-risk, veteran relievers, as we’ve seen over the past few weeks.
While his departure from Toronto is unfortunate, it’s almost certain that Zeke will find his way onto another roster in no time. He’ll be fondly remembered for his fun, enthusiastic on-field attitude, and his consistency as a fourth outfielder.