Now that the World Series is over and the two Blue Jays’ free agents (Justin Smoak and Clay Buchholz) have filed, the Jays have a made a few moves ahead of the deadline later this month to add players to the roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings.
First the moves: The Jays claimed Anthony Bass off of waivers and DFA’ed Ryan Dull. Dull cleared waivers while the Jays also put pitchers Buddy Boshers and Brock Stewart through waivers and sent all three outright to the Buffalo Bisons with Boshers electing free agency on Friday.
This leaves the Jays with four spots on the 40-man roster open. The roster is currently set up as follows:
Ryan Borucki (60-day IL)
Tim Mayza (60-day IL)
Matt Shoemaker (60-day IL)
As you can see, there are several players on the 60-day IL. Gurriel, Borucki and Mayza will certainly have roster spots to return to shortly. I don’t believe that the Blue Jays will tender contracts to Shoemaker, Travis or Maile. The rumours are out there that the Jays will non-tender Shoemaker and re-sign him to a deal that is probably less money than his arbitration estimate may get him. The Jays could also non-tender Maile and re-sign him to a minor league deal with a major league option, giving the Jays some depth as their higher end minor league catchers work their way up the system (their two best catching prospects, Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno, were in A-ball in 2019 while Riley Adams spent most of the year in Double-A). Should the Jays wait until after the Rule 5 draft to re-sign Shoemaker, it would give the Jays four spots to protect players.
I also think that the Jays may cut a couple of guys loose from the 40-man roster. Jason Adam is at the top of the list as a guy who has an electric arm but some control issues but he’s pitched well when healthy and still has two options. Hector Perez also still has two minor league options and has lots of potential but has also shown that he has a lot of work to do in terms of finding his control/command. Justin Shafer now has just one minor league option and has also been sent outright to the minors once, meaning that if the Jays try it again, he can elect free agency, so he is a guy they could keep.
On the infield, Breyvic Valera is a candidate to go on waivers. The 27-year-old was picked up when Bo Bichette got injured as another depth piece for the club’s infield. Valera has been a fringe major leaguer for three years now and used his final minor league option in 2019. Finally, if any outfielder gets DFA’ed to make room for someone to be put on the 40-man, it’s probably going to be Jonathan Davis. Unfortunately, while I’m a huge fan of his, he likely has the lowest ceiling of any of the outfielders on the 40-man roster.
So, if the Blue Jays create as many as three more roster spots, they can protect seven players in the Rule 5 draft but I think it will a lower number, closer to four or five. I’ll have a companion piece to this one that looks at realistic Rule 5 eligible players and who I think the Jays will protect.
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