Now that the Toronto Blue Jays have added a new bat to the lineup, there's going to have to be some roster shuffling to squeeze the newest member of the team onto the roster.
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays agreed to a one-year, $13M deal with free agent slugger Justin Turner. After a successful nine-year stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the third baseman was last seen terrorizing Blue Jays pitching with the Boston Red Sox last season.
In 12 games against Toronto, he hit .353 with a .939 OPS, 18 hits, two home runs, seven RBI, and 10 runs scored. The Jays couldn't get him out. But now that's a problem of the past.
The new concern for the front office will be who to move off of the 40-man once the contract is signed and the team officially adds the 39-year-old to the roster.
Here are the most obvious candidates who may lose their spot.
Infielder Ernie Clement is currently on the 40-man roster but will have an uphill battle to make the team out of spring training, at least from Roster Resource's projection.
The 27-year-old Clement appeared in 30 games for the Blue Jays in 2023, but almost half of those came as a pinch runner or pinch hitter. He got some starts at shortstop in the second half while Bo Bichette was out nursing his troublesome right leg.
By all accounts, Clement did exactly what manager John Schneider wanted, and more. If you look at Clement's numbers, it makes you wonder why he didn't get more playing time, even in the congested Blue Jays infield.
Over 52 plate appearances, he slashed .380/.385/.500 with a 144 wRC+. He hit one home run, drove in 10, and scored seven times. But there's something about the small sample size performance that points to a hot stretch of overachievement.
The former fourth-round pick struck out a career-low 7.7 percent of the time, and that's much lower than his career average, which also is really good. In his 110 games before joining the Blue Jays, he ran a 14.4 percent strikeout rate. So you can expect some regression this season, if he gets playing time.
The most worrying metrics come from his underlying Statcast data.
Clement barreled the ball at a concerningly low 2.1 percent in 2023 — the league average was 8.1 percent. He also doesn't hit the ball hard enough to instill confidence like his .500 slugging percentage would have you believe. His max exit velocity last year was 105.4 mph (his career-best is 107.3 mph), and his career average EV is 85.5 mph. Those numbers align with his .264 slugging percentage and .060 ISO from 2021 and 2022.
Don't be surprised to see Clement's name drop off the 40-man roster to make way for the veteran Turner.