Blue Jays: Danny Espinosa slated to earn the 25th roster spot

VIERA, FL - MARCH 01: Danny Espinosa
VIERA, FL - MARCH 01: Danny Espinosa /

The Toronto Blue Jays appear to have everything in place for Opening Day when they play host to the New York Yankees on March 29th in Toronto.

The bullpen is looking more and more solidified with Tyler Clippard and John Axford likely to secure spots. The rotation was finalized after signing Jaime Garcia and the lineup looks good to go. With Troy Tulowitzki likely starting on the 60 day-DL, Danny Espinosa, who’s an upgrade over Gift Ngoepe appears likely the 25th man on the roster.

Espinosa is a natural shortstop who can also play some second base and bring an above average glove on the defensive side of the ball. Given that Tulowitzki will be out for a lengthy period of time, Aledmys Diaz will play short with Yangervis Solarte being the floater around the diamond giving guys time off.

The Blue Jays are going to need someone who is more of a natural shortstop to backup Aledmys Diaz and come in late in ball games to spell Diaz’s below average glove. Gift Ngoepe, who’s currently on the 40 man roster, can play some shortstop, but he’s more of a natural 2nd basemen, something the Blue Jays already have on the roster with Solarte.

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After the addition of Espinosa, it’s increasingly likely he will be added to the roster when Tulowitzki hits the 60-day disabled list. To make room for Espinosa, there will need to be a 40 man roster spot created and that can come in the form of Tulowitzki to the disabled list or Gift Ngoepe being DFA’d.

What does Espinosa bring that makes him potentially a very attractive bench guy? His glove is outstanding, much like the man in his previous role, Ryan Goins. Espinosa can’t hit much and strikes out a bunch, but he brings a ton of power to the bottom of a lineup when he’s in the starting 9. In his last full season with the Washington Nationals, he hit 24 home runs in 157 games. Instead of having a Ryan Goins clone in Gift Ngoepe backing up Diaz, the Blue Jays likely want to take advantage of all that power in Espinosa’s bat.

Danny Espinosa’s career slash line isn’t impressive at .221/.297/.378 with a wRC+ of 82. That, however, is better offensive production from a power standpoint than Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney. There are some similarities in the three of their career slash lines, but Espinosa’s bat is much more potent. Espinosa’s glove has been better than Ryan Goins the past two seasons.

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Danny Espinosa is a nice addition to the bench. At the bottom of the order, the power potential from Espinosa is attractive. Even more attractive is how good his glove is at shortstop. In a part-time role, the best the Blue Jays could hope for is the 2015 version of Danny Espinosa, which is possible, but unlikely. He will be a good 25th man to have on the roster for 2018.