Blue Jays reportedly set to make pair of roster moves ahead of Nationals series

Mar 5, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Nathan Lukes (38) doubles
Mar 5, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Nathan Lukes (38) doubles / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

At 15-17, the Toronto Blue Jays are not yet at the point of needing to wave the white flag or press the red panic button on the 2024 campaign. There's no doubt about it - the club is faltering right now and its -31 run differential tells multiple stories, neither of which are positive ones.

The Blue Jays now prepare for a three-game weekend series against the 15-16 Washington Nationals who, unlike the Jays, are not expected to be competitors for a playoff spot come the end of the year.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, the Blue Jays are going to be recalling outfielder Nathan Lukes from Triple-A Buffalo prior to the series kicking off on Friday evening. As of right now, the corresponding roster move is not known, but there are some pretty solid guesses to be made.

Source: Blue Jays recalling Nathan Lukes from Triple-A

Lukes, 29, made his big league debut last season after making the club out of spring training. He was a rarely used fourth outfielder/bench bat who only made it into 29 games across a few different stints with the big league club.

All told, he hit just .192 with a .598 OPS and two extra-base hits in 31 plate appearances. He did not exactly set the world on fire, but this likely has to do with his scant playing time. The highlight of his season came against the Detroit Tigers when he hit a go ahead double in extra innings.

In Triple-A last year, he hit .377 in 48 games, it's easy to see why the Jays kept calling on him when they needed some reinforcements. To kick off this year, he has hit .284 with a .780 OPS in 20 games, hitting three home runs and driving in 13 along the way.

In 2024 spring training, Lukes hit .450 with a 1.100 OPS across 16 games, scoring eight runs and hitting five extra-base hits with a pair of stolen bases. At the time, it looked like he'd secure a spot on the Opening Day roster for the second year straight, but the Jays opted for Daniel Vogelbach and his power.

Lukes has a feel-good story in that he didn't make his big league debut until he was an "old" rookie. He plays excellent defense, has speed on the bases and makes a ton of contact. Odds are he'll be replacing Vogelbach, who has struggled to start the year and takes up a roster spot the Blue Jays can't currently afford to be wasting.

If Vogelbach is not the one being removed from the roster, Addison Barger could be optioned (although that feels unlikely) or someone like George Springer could be placed on the injured list with a phantom injury.