Blue Jays Opening Day roster notes: Batting order, relievers making the cut, more

Sep 28, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) in
Sep 28, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) in / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

We finally made it, folks. On the eve of 2024 Opening Day, there are a ton of moving parts surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays, only some of which have been announced either by the team or its beat reporters.

Let's dive in and recap all of the happenings that have been made public as of now.

Blue Jays' Opening Day bullpen is finalized

On Tuesday evening, Jays Journal reported that right-hander Wes Parsons was expected to make the Opening Day roster as a long-reliever. Less than 24 hours later, John Schneider confirmed as much.

Parsons, 31, has made an Opening Day roster for the second time in his career (2019 Braves). The other names making the cut are Nate Pearson and Mitch White, both of whom were able to sneak in thanks to multiple injuries surrounding their fellow relievers.

Schneider relayed to the media that Parsons and Pearson are making the roster in place of Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson, both of whom are headed to the injured list.

White will make the roster in place of Alek Manoah, who is also going to start the year on the shelf. Manoah threw two innings in a sim game earlier on Wednesday, throwing a total of 34 pitches, and is "likely" headed for the IL to start the year, per Schneider.

Heading down to Triple-A Buffalo were two of the final cuts made of the spring. Yariel Rodriguez, the Blue Jays' top offseason pitching acquisition, is one of them. Right-hander Zach Pop is also going down.

Notes on the starting lineup

Another nugget provided by Schneider is the Blue Jays' batting order to start the year. In 2023, Bo Bichette predominantly hit second in the order while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. followed in the three-hole. To kick off this year, the plan is for the two to be flip-flopped. Bichette is now the No. 3 hitter while Vladdy is moving up to No. 2.

Justin Turner is going to be the primary cleanup hitter, batting fourth, while George Springer is set to reclaim his throne as the Blue Jays' leadoff hitter. He lost that spot for a short while last year, but he's earned it to kick off the 2024 campaign.

Blue Jays (unofficial) 2024 Opening Day roster

While nothing has been formally announced yet, here's what the roster is looking like to kick off the regular season.

Catchers: Alejandro Kirk, Brian Serven

Infielders: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Justin Turner, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Cavan Biggio, Davis Schneider, Daniel Vogelbach, Ernie Clement

Outfielders: George Springer, Kevin Kiermaier, Daulton Varsho

Starting pitchers: Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt, Yusei Kikuchi, Bowden Francis, Kevin Gausman

Relief pitchers: Yimi Garcia, Nate Pearson, Genesis Cabrera, Chad Green, Tim Mayza, Trevor Richards, Wes Parsons, Mitch White

Injured list: Danny Jansen, Erik Swanson, Jordan Romano, Alek Manoah

One missing piece to the puzzle

There's one last thing we're waiting on confirmation for. Which player is going to lose his spot on the 40-man roster to make room for one of Serven or Vogelbach?

When Santiago Espinal was traded to the Reds, it took the Blue Jays' full 40-man roster and knocked it down to 39. This spot is to be filled by either Serven or Vogelbach.

But when it was announced that Vogelbach, a second non-roster player, had made the roster, it meant that another spot was going to need to be opened. Top candidates to be DFA'd in favor of Vogey include Leo Jimenez, Nathan Lukes, Pop and Brendon Little.