One of the new rule changes expected for the 2022 season is that for the month of April, the Blue Jays and the rest of the MLB teams are allowed to carry 28 players on their respective active rosters, a two-player increase from the normal 26 players. This rule change has not officially been implemented pending a vote from the MLB owners for ratification, as it still requires a majority decision in order to become an official rule.
After the lockout negotiations dipped into Spring Training and cut into the amount of preparation time 40-man roster players had with their clubs, this roster expansion provides a safety net for teams to add a couple more players to help carry the workload early into the campaign.
For the Jays, this can be seen as a positive from a pitching standpoint, as manager Charlie Montoyo could carry two extra relievers in the pen if he so chooses, which doesn’t put as much strain on the starting pitchers to go deep into games so early into the season after a shortened Spring Training. This could work well for Hyun Jin Ryu, as the club could allow the southpaw and the rest of the rotation to gain an extra day of rest by having Nate Pearson or Ross Stripling spot start from the bullpen as one of the additional players (almost like a six-man rotation).
This also helps the Jays relief corps with some additional security in the event that the bullpen starts getting taxed early into the season because of starters not going deep into games.
The MLB is expected to announce expanded rosters for the month of April, which presents quite a few benefits for the Blue Jays moving forward.
Roster-wise, this could also help bubble players like Ryan Borucki and Reese McGuire, who both enter the 2022 season out of minor league options. The club can now carry a third catcher in McGuire without having to dip into other areas of the roster for space, which provides an extra left-handed bat on the bench and some additional catching security should Alejandro Kirk or Danny Jansen find themselves on the IL. For Borucki, this could be additional time to prove he belongs on the big league roster after missing a large portion of last season on the 60-day IL.
Honestly, the opportunities are endless with these two additional roster spots and it will be interesting to see what the Blue Jays choose to do with them for the one month. My gut instinct is saying a pitcher and McGuire but I wouldn’t go writing it in stone just yet.