Prior to Saturday afternoons Spring Training Game the Toronto Blue Jays announced they had trimmed the tryout roster by ten players. The most notable name on the list was infielder Santiago Espinal who joins three other players on the 40-man roster to be optioned.
Espinal who was acquired in 2018 in exchange for Steve Pearce has continually impressed the organization with his growth. In 2020 he got into 26 games, collecting four doubles while posting a .267 batting average over 66 plate appearances. So far this spring, Espinal has hit well collecting four extra base hits, including one home run in just 26 at bats and posted a slash line of .385/.448/.615.
News came out Friday that Joe Panik had been told he made the team, which left the likely situation that Espinal and Jonathan Davis would be battling for the last positional spot on the roster. There is a lot of speculation that George Springer may not be ready for Opening Day as he battles an oblique strain and as such the team will need an additional outfielder, which leads Davis as the favourite for the remaining spot.
Riley Adams was another player that was optioned and he could potentially see action in the major leagues this season. If Alejandro Kirk were to make the club it would likely see the end of Reese McGuire in the Blue Jays organization as he is out of options. In that situation Adams becomes the third string catcher and if there is an injury he could get the call.
The other two players that were optioned were Joel Payamps and Josh Palacios. Payamps has been selected off of waivers four times in the last four months, twice by the Blue Jays. Palacios was not expected to contend for a roster spot this year, however, made great strides in getting noticed. The 25-year old outfielder has hit two doubles, triples and home runs this spring while posting a slash line of .414/.433/.828.
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The six players that were reassigned were Dany Jimenez, Kevin Smith, Kirby Snead, Richard Urena, Tyler White and the most notable name Forrest Wall. Wall was acquired at the 2018 trade deadline as a prospect in the Seughwan Oh trade and had progressed well through the minor league system. He impressed in the 2020 Summer Camp, but never got a shot on the 26-man roster during the season. After the year was over he was removed from the 40-man roster in the offseason and went to free agency. The Blue Jays then signed him back in December to a minor league deal.
Wall had hit well in Spring Training and is a strong defensive player, so if injuries amount and the Blue Jays end up trading one of their more established outfielders, he could find himself not only back on the 40-man roster, but also jumping right on to the big league team.
The Blue Jays will have two games remaining after Saturday before they end Spring Training and the Opening Day roster is starting to look a little more clear. One factor that will cause a change is whether or not Springer will have to be placed on the injured list for Opening Day, which will open up a spot.