Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: The 26th man addition would be helpful right about now

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 1: Dalton Pompey #23 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with teammate Devon Travis #29 after he scored the eventual game-winning run on a sacrifice fly by teammate Ezequiel Carrera #3 of the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on October 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 1: Dalton Pompey #23 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with teammate Devon Travis #29 after he scored the eventual game-winning run on a sacrifice fly by teammate Ezequiel Carrera #3 of the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on October 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /
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Major League Baseball appears set to add a 26th man to active rosters starting in 2020. For the Blue Jays it’s a shame that rule doesn’t start this season.

With under two weeks before Opening Day, front offices around baseball are going to start focusing in on some tough decisions. The biggest questions will be whether or not a young player is ready for the highest level, if a veteran in camp has shown enough to stick, and in others there are players fighting to remain in their current organization.

The Blue Jays have examples from all three categories, as high prospects like Bo Bichette and Anthony Alford have greatly impressed, there are a few veterans like John Axford and Bud Norris on MiLB contracts that are hoping to earn a big league gig, and then there are players like Elvis Luciano and Dalton Pompey, who the Jays will have to keep or risk losing for different reasons.

In a rebuilding year the pressure to make the right decision isn’t quite as intense, but when it comes to controlling a player’s contract then the dynamic shifts a bit. For those not familiar, Luciano was a Rule 5 draft pick from the Kansas City Royals organization, and if the Blue Jays don’t keep him on their Opening Day roster they’ll have to offer him back to KC, who would undoubtedly be happy to have him.

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In Pompey’s case, he’s out of minor league options and if he doesn’t make the team on Opening Day then there’s a good chance he’ll either be traded, or claimed by another team. The 26 year old is currently competing with an outfield group that includes Alford, Randal Grichuk, Kevin Pillar, Teoscar Hernandez, Billy McKinney, and a few infielders who are capable in a corner spot. The odds may be stacked against him a little bit, but it would be a lot easier to extend his latest big league audition with an extra locker to player with in the clubhouse.

If the Blue Jays had 26 roster spots to use right now it would be a lot easier to keep one or both of the potential assets. My guess is that most teams will use that extra spot to carry an eighth reliever, especially if they are considering using the concept of an “Opener”. I don’t know for certain that the strategy is in the plans for Charlie Montoyo and the Blue Jays this year, but the incentives in Clay Buchholz‘s contract make me wonder if they didn’t have a conversation about multiple possible scenarios in Toronto this season.

Next. The battle for the 25th roster spot. dark

While I’m a purist about most things, and I know the advantage is the same for every team, I’m not really against the 26th man being added, especially compared to some of the other ideas being kicked around. If it means a few more deserving ballplayers have big league jobs, then I’m okay with that, and in particular I wish the Blue Jays had the extra room to keep Pompey and Luciano this season. They may elect to do so anyway, but it would be a lot easier if they had the extra spot right about now.

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