Blue Jays: Who is going to be the 25th man on the Opening Day roster?
It’s not terribly common for teams to carry two first basemen these days unless it’s a platoon, but it’s possible the Blue Jays could entertain the idea to start the 2019 season. Justin Smoak returns as the incumbent and will undoubtedly get the bulk of playing time at first, but it’s possible that Tellez could see enough starts between first and DH to justify keeping him with the big league club. That would come at the sacrifice of Kendrys Morales’ at bats, but I feel like the 2019 season is going to be about making sure the young guys get a chance.
Tellez was fantastic in a short cameo with the Blue Jays last year, slashing .314/.329/.614 with four home runs, 10 RBI, and 9 doubles in just 70 at bats. That’s obviously an unsustainable pace for the 23 year old, but he showed that he’s not afraid to face the best pitchers in the world.
There’s a good argument to be made that Tellez should start the season in Triple-A with the Buffalo Bisons though, and that’s mostly to make sure that he’s playing consistently and continuing to develop. Both Smoak and Morales are on expiring contracts this year and could be trade candidates in July, so Tellez could and should be ready to step in if a trade went down. He’d also be the obvious candidate to receive a promotion if there were an injury as well.
Whenever the opportunity comes for Rowdy, hopefully he can step up to the challenge the way he did last fall and prove that he belongs at the highest level. The likeable personality could very well play himself into a future with the franchise, but with so many talented youngsters on the way to the big leagues, he’ll need to establish himself at first base in the next year or two, at least if he wants to be a part of the long term future in Toronto.
As for the 25th roster spot, my guess is the Blue Jays start him in Buffalo and go with someone else.