Blue Jays 2024 Opening Day roster projection 1.0: Which infielder gets squeezed out?

Sep 15, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider (14) looks on from the
Sep 15, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider (14) looks on from the / Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
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Relief pitchers (8)

LHP Genesis Cabrera

Acquired at last year's trade deadline, Genesis Cabrera was an excellent contributor to the Blue Jays' bullpen in the second half of the season. He appeared in 29 games for the Jays, posting a 2.66 ERA and 3.68 FIP across 23.2 innings of work. He's going to provide a much-needed second left-handed presence alongside Tim Mayza.

RHP Yimi Garcia

Yimi Garcia, a pending free agent, will enter his third year out of the Blue Jays' 'pen. He's made a boatload of appearances over the past few years and at times has been hard to watch, but he's a steady presence out there that's capable of dominating the opposition when he's on. Do with this what you will, but he had a 1.78 ERA and 2.50 FIP in 34 games from the beginning of June to the end of August in 2023.

RHP Chad Green

After spending the vast majority of last year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Chad Green made 12 relief appearances for the Blue Jays to close out the year. While his overall numbers were a bit bogged down by one-off poor outings, the Jays saw enough to bring him back into the fold, which will likely be a smart idea once all is said and done. He's got a long reputation of being a reliable and versatile contributor to multiple teams' relief corps.

LHP Tim Mayza

Tim Mayza was arguably the most underrated relief pitcher in baseball last year. Anytime a hurler posts an ERA beginning with 1 and makes a ton of appearance like Mayza did with 69, it warrants some attention. Sure, the majority of his playing time came in low-leverage situations, but the fact that he was able to consistently get batters out throughout the entire season does say something about the value he brings to this team. He'll once again be one of the most oft-used hurlers on the staff in 2024.

RHP Trevor Richards

By now, we've already beat the dead horse on Trevor Richards multiple times over. Yes, he is armed with one of the best changeups in Major League Baseball. But he also was one of the worst pitchers in the game in the second half. He was borderline unplayable in 26 outings, posting an 8.04 ERA. There have been some rumblings about whether or not he should be moved in a trade, but let's lean on that changeup for a bit longer and see if he can right the ship.

RHP Yariel Rodriguez

Rumor has it that Yariel Rodriguez could begin the year in Triple-A so he can work back up to a starter's workload. At first, I bought into that concept, but now I think he's going to open the year as a long-relief option in the big leagues. Rodriguez has shown in the past that he can dominate in the a relief role, but there's easily a path to stretching him out without optioning him. Above all, his long-term outlook screams high-leverage reliever or even closer anyway, so we'll see how this deal shakes out.

RHP Jordan Romano

There were plenty of times where Jordan Romano had to work a little bit extra to secure a save last year. And that is ok. The 30-year-old has been the club's closer for years now and that's not going to change in 2024. The high-energy, high-velocity hurler is an anchor at the back end of the bullpen and will once again be one of the most important arms out there.

RHP Erik Swanson

Things could not have gone much better for Erik Swanson last year in what was his first on the Blue Jays. The right-hander made a career-high 69 appearances and posted a sub-3.00 ERA with a mid-3.00's FIP. There's not much more he could've done to further endear himself to fans. His ability to function as an emergency closer is important to note, as he earned 4 saves last year and could be insurance in case Romano ever struggles or goes down with an injury.