Blue Jay: Where does the current roster stand in the long term plans?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: Bo Bichette #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays hugs teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 on his way back to the dugout after Bichette hit a solo home run in the first inning of the MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: Bo Bichette #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays hugs teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 on his way back to the dugout after Bichette hit a solo home run in the first inning of the MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – JULY 23: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays swings on a pitch in the sixth inning during a MLB game against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on July 23, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – JULY 23: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays swings on a pitch in the sixth inning during a MLB game against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on July 23, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Tier 5: The expendable parts

I’ve come to the last category of my breakdown here, which I’ve called “the expendable parts”. That’s not meant as a slight to the players that I’ll mention below, but it’s just the reality of big league baseball.

I would unfortunately list Justin Smoak in this category, although it wouldn’t shock me if he returned to the Blue Jays next season on a 1-2 year deal. I would also include Ken Giles even with one year remaining on his contract, mostly because I think the Blue Jays will try to trade him this winter, provided he’s fully healthy at the end of the season. There’s an argument to be made for hanging on to him, and maybe even extending him, but I don’t know that anyone will listen to me about that at this stage.

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There are others that fit here as well for various reasons. As far as the bullpen crapshoot that I mentioned earlier, any of Derek Law, Buddy Boshers, Tim Mayza, Sam Gaviglio, Neil Ramirez, Wilmer Font, Jason Adam, and others could factor into the picture, but who knows what will happen there. As I said, I’m not even going to attempt to predict that part of the Blue Jays’ future, and it’s possible that all or none of these guys could be back in Toronto in 2020.

In another fit, I would include Devon Travis, who hasn’t been able to make it back to the field all year. I know the Blue Jays have been patient with him, but I don’t see how he isn’t non-tendered at some point. The same likely goes for Ryan Tepera, who has struggled to get on the field this season after being a very useful reliever in the past. It’s probably safe to say that Clay Buchholz and Clayton Richard won’t be back in 2020 either.

The point of this whole exercise for me was to look at how many “core” building blocks the Blue Jays already have in place, and also where some of their question marks may fit in at the moment. No team will ever have 25 players that are locked down members of their big league roster, as it usually takes a lot more than the Opening Day 25-man roster to get through a 162 game season.

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For the Blue Jays, I would argue that they have at least five core pieces in place already, which is a great place to be at this early stage of their rebuild. When you include the players that could rise to that same level, and the talent in the minor leagues like Nate Pearson, Jordan Groshans, and plenty of others, I feel surprising good about a team with a .398 winning record. If you’ve been tuning in throughout the month of August as well, I’m sure you feel the same way.

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