The bullpen is arguably the biggest area of debate right now, and that’s nothing new when it comes to putting together a collection of relievers. Just as they did last season, the front office managed to bring in a few veterans on MiLB contracts, giving some depth and strength to a young group.
What that also means is that they’ll have to make room on the 40 man roster for those MiLB contracts, as there has been no need to add those players just yet. The two that stand out in particular are the returning John Axford, and the newly acquired Bud Norris.
As of right now I would guess that the “locks” for the bullpen would include Ken Giles, Ryan Tepera, and Tim Mayza, with Joe Biagini being another likely candidate. My guess is that Axford and Norris will both make the team, which leaves one spot left, or maybe two if the Blue Jays decide to carry eight relievers to start the season.
If they do carry eight, the “extra” spot will almost assuredly go to Elvis Luciano, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in the Rule 5 Draft, and has to be brought north in order to be retained by the Blue Jays. Regardless of whether Luciano makes the team or not, I believe the Blue Jays would have one more spot to fill anyway, and Sam Gaviglio‘s performance during Grapefruit League play may have secured him that chance.
The big choice here regarding the 40 man roster is whether or not the Blue Jays will keep one or both of Axford and Norris. They’ve both looked solid this spring and project to be decent contributors, so chances are the Blue Jays will have to make some room for them.