The Toronto Blue Jays are in the middle of a big lull in activity with the only news lately about the minor league coaching staffs. The Blue Jays most recently signed reliever Rafael Dolis so we’ll speculate about which Blue Jay will be designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
With the signing of reliever Rafael Dolis yet to be announced, the Blue Jays have been able to delay removing someone from their 40-man roster, but looking the roster over, there’s not a lot of fat to be trimmed to make room for Dolis. Here are the pitchers currently on the roster:
Anderson, Roark, Ryu and Yamaguchi were all acquired this offseason on major league deals. They’re not going anywhere. Shoemaker is also making major league money and is projected to be the #3 or #4 starter. He’s safe.
Borucki, Thornton, Kay, Zeuch and Waguespack are all in the running for the #5 starter position and while Waguespack could be the odd man out, I don’t think he’s going anywhere until he proves that he can’t get guys out at the major league level. With Sean Reid-Foley, the front office game him a vote of confidence earlier in the season, saying they believe in his stuff to be a starter and that he’ll be stretched out. I don’t think he comes off the 40-man just yet.
Yennsy Diaz, Patrick Murphy and Thomas Hatch are considered to be starters that have a future with the club and none have really shown their abilities at the major league level and they won’t be removed from the 40-man at least until they get a chance to do so. Elvis Luciano is safe because if they DFA him now, then why hold on to him all year last year?
As far as bullpen pitchers go, Ken Giles could go, but only in a trade that brings back a prospect or two and I’d expect him to stay until at least July. I think Romano’s upside is high enough that the club will keep him around to give him another shot at the majors. Thomas Pannone is the only left-handed reliever on the Jays’ 40-man so I think he’s safe unless the club plans to bring someone else in. Julian Merryweather was the return for Josh Donaldson and, after coming back from injuries, they’ll want to see what he can do before cutting him loose. Wilmer Font was effective last year for the Jays out of the pen. Anthony Bass was claimed on waivers and, while that’s no guarantee that he’ll make it on the 40-man until spring training, he’s actually got a pretty decent major league track record. If I was in the front office, he’s safe at least until we see him in action during the regular season. Sam Gaviglio could also be on the bubble, but I think he’s proven his usefulness to the club by being able to be a “bulk” guy, throwing multiple innings in relief and spot starting when necessary.
So who does that leave? For me, the only pitcher that I’d consider taking off the 40-man roster is Hector Perez. The emergence of other pitching prospects has pushed him down the depth chart and he’s continued to be plagued by control problems and some inconsistency at Double-A. While I think he could turn things around (he’s not even 24), he’s had the same issues in both the Pirates’ and the Blue Jays’ organizations.
Over at the position players, there are a couple of options as well. While there are only two catchers on the 40-man roster (Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire), there are quite a few infielders with Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Brandon Drury, Santiago Espinal, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Travis Shaw, Rowdy Tellez and Breyvic Valera. Would the Jays DFA another infielder after losing Richard Urena to waivers? Could be. I think Valera is the most surplus player although I could be convinced that Drury may also be without a home in Toronto in 2020 but his versatility and the 26th roster spot in 2020 may keep him around.
Unless there’s a trade, Grichuk, Hernandez and Gurriel all have spots locked up with Fisher not far behind. Like with Merryweather, I think the Blue Jays want to give Fisher a chance to show what he’s got at the big league level. That leaves McKinney (who has options remaining), Davis (who has options remaining) and Alford (who is out of options). Could the Blue Jays DFA one of these three? I think they could but not yet.
In my mind, (again, barring a trade) it comes down to Perez or Valera. That said, I’ve been a little bewildered by Valera’s ability to stick around through the November roster deadline and so the front office might not want to cut him loose, particularly since the Jays don’t have a lot of minor league depth at the high levels for shortstops.
So, I’m kind of thinking Hector Perez will be on the outside looking in.
What do you think? Who will be DFA’ed to make room for Rafael Dolis?
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