The Toronto Blue Jays have invited ten non-roster players including four pitchers to their upcoming spring training audition in Florida.
The Blue Jays will have four pitchers, three infielders, two catchers and an outfielder in camp as non-roster invitees when spring training kicks off in Dunedin next month. According to the team website, Phillippe Aumont, Ryan Dull, A.J. Cole, Justin Miller, Patrick Cantwell, Caleb Joseph, Andy Burns, Joe Panik, Ruben Tejada, and Patrick Kivlehan will all be in camp attempting to impress skipper Charlie Montoyo.
Phillippe Aumont hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 with the Philadelphia Phillies. The 31-year old native of Gatineau, Quebec sports a career 6.80 earned run average in 46 games between 2012-15. Aumont played Indy ball for the Ottawa Champions last season going 8-4 with a 2.65 earned run average while fanning 145 in 118.2 innings of work.
Ryan Dull was much traveled in 2019 playing for four organizations including the Blue Jays for a short time near the end of the season. The 30-year old reliever made 11 relief appearances garnering an inflated 12.79 earned run average in 2019. Hopefully, Dull can remain off the waiver wire this season and get back to pitching as he did in 2016 for Oakland where he posted a 2.42 earned run average in 70 games for the A’s.
A.J. Cole may be the front runner of the four hurlers to win a position in the bullpen. The 28-year old appeared in 28 games with the Indians last season going 3-1 with a 3.81 earned run average while fanning 30 in 26 innings of work. Cole sports a career 4.86 earned run average in 79 MLB games over parts of five seasons with the Nationals, Yankees, and Indians.
Justin Miller has spent the last two seasons with the World Champion Nationals toeing the rubber in 17 games last season posting a 4.02 earned run average. In 2018, Miller made 51 relief appearances going 7-1 with a respectable 3.61 earned run average including a pair of saves.
Patrick Cantwell will once again be organizational depth presumably with the Buffalo Bisons this season. The 29-year old backstop joined the Blue Jays organization in 2017 and spent 22 games in Buffalo last season hitting .217 in 80 plate appearances. If Cantwell sees anytime with the big club in 2020, something went terribly wrong behind the dish.
Caleb Joseph in all likelihood will be the starting catcher with the Bisons splitting time with Cantwell. Joseph is third on the depth chart behind Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire and the first line of defence if any of the two major leaguers get injured. The 33-year old has 422 MLB games under his belt with the Orioles and Diamondbacks over parts of six seasons. In 2019, Joseph hit .211 in 20 games in Arizona.
Andy Burns rejoined the Jays organization last season after spending the two previous seasons with the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization. In 114 games with the Bisons last season, Burns hit .275/.364/.479 with 19 homers and 63 runs batted in. Burns will once again be organizational depth in the event of an injury in 2020.
Joe Panik is my bet to travel north with the team out of spring training and take on a role similar to that of Eric Sogard last season. Panik is a seasoned pro with 682 games of MLB experience on his resume. The 29-year old split time with the Giants and Mets last season hitting .244 with107 hits and five homers over 142 games.
Ruben Tejada is another infielder with MLB experience although he has only played in six games at the major league level over the past two seasons. Tejada sports a career .250/.324/.317 slash line with ten homers and 16 stolen bases in 663 games. The 30-year old is known more for his leather than his bat.
Patrick Kivlehan hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but does have 132 games experience over parts of three seasons with the Reds, Padres, and Diamondbacks. Kivlehan hit .255 with 32 home runs and 84 runs batted in with Buffalo, New Hampshire, and Indianapolis (Pirates Triple-A affiliate). With the Blue Jays current outfield situation, there is no telling where Kivlehan will end up by seasons end, however, it is a safe bet he starts the campaign with the Bisons.
The Jays will undoubtedly add a few more non-roster invitees in the coming weeks but as for now, those are the ten chosen ones.