Blue Jays: The battle for the 25th roster spot
The Blue Jays reportedly have but one spot remaining on their 25-man roster. Which of the two fringe infielders in the conversation will end up claiming that spot?
As spring training begins to come to a close, many teams are finalizing their rosters and deciding who’ll make the team and who’ll be cut.
For the Blue Jays, those decisions are coming right down the wire.
According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo (and the Blue Jays front office) is deciding between veteran infielder Eric Sogard and Richard Urena for the final spot on the 25-man roster.
While neither jump out as particularly valuable assets this season, here’s a quick look at how the two stack up against each other in various different categories:
An eight-year MLB veteran, Sogard, 32, carries a career slash line of .238/.309/.314 in 584 career games. Though he posted a horrid .406 OPS in 2018 with the Brewers, he’s gone 7-for-29 this spring and has added six RBI, eight walks and four doubles in 15 games.
Urena, 23, has but 183 major-league plate appearances to his name but has slashed a decent .257/.311/.341 in those shots. This spring, he has seven hits in 26 at-bats and has two doubles and four walks in 15 games.
A nimbler fielder, Urena clearly has the edge with the glove, despite posting below-average DRS and UZR numbers over the past two seasons. Still, he’s been solid at second this spring and has made some great plays during the team’s opening games.
Though Sogard is a passable fielder at his age, Urena’s agility should give him the upper hand in this department, especially considering the use that Montoyo will likely have for this roster spot.
Neither player is particularly speedy, though Urena has been used as a pinch runner on occasion during his young career. While Sogard does have 35 career stolen bases, he hasn’t stolen more than five in a season since 2015.
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The veteran Sogard is on a minor-league contract, while Urena, who notably exceeded his rookie status in 2018, is still pre-arbitration eligible. Neither will significantly contribute to the team’s payroll or financial strategy.
In terms of miscellaneous attributes, Urena might have the advantage here simply because he’s a switch hitter. On the other hand, Sogard, who bats left-handed, could be a veteran presence in a clubhouse starved of older players.
Overall, it probably comes down to personal preference. Do you want to give Urena shot at some solid at-bats, or would you rather see if Sogard has anything left in the tank? Do you still consider Urena a legitimate prospect, or do you think he hasn’t performed well enough in the upper minors to warrant that designation?
Considering the fact that he’s just 23, Urena appears to have a slight advantage, but, of course, it’s all up to the Blue Jays. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see which one of these men grab the last spot on the seemingly crowded 25-man roster.