Most teams have announced which of their younger, home-grown players they’re inviting to big league spring training. The Blue Jays haven’t made that announcement yet, despite the fact that we’re now six days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Dunedin. The fact is that the most recent transactions the Blue Jays have reported were the five minor league contracts they announced on January 20, more than two weeks ago.
The Blue Jays are unlikely to go into camp with their 40-man roster plus the 10 players they’ve listed as non-roster camp invitees, so here’s a look at some of the Jays’ home-grown players who might get an invite.
So as you may know, all of the players on the club’s 40-man roster get invited to big league camp, with all the perks thereof (better per-diem, accomodations and the like). While players like Yennsy Diaz, Thomas Hatch, Patrick Murphy, Hector Perez, and Santiago Espinal are unlikely to open the season in Toronto, they’ll still open up camp with the big league team.
Additionally, the Jays have signed 10 players to minor league free agent deals that accompanied a big league spring training invite. They include pitchers Phillippe Aumont, A.J. Cole, Ryan Dull and Justin Miller, catchers Patrick Cantwell and Caleb Joseph, infielders Andy Burns, Joe Panik and Ruben Tejada and infielder/outfielder Patrick Kivlehan.
Then there are players who are already in the Blue Jays minor league systems, on minor league contracts signed before this offseason, who will get an invite. The Blue Jays always need more catchers in camp. With at least 30 pitchers expected in camp, you can’t expect four catchers to catch all of them (the two non-roster invitees as well as Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire who are on the 40-man roster). So the Jays will likely invite all of the catchers, probably all the way to A-ball to pick up the slack. That means Riley Adams, Alejandro Kirk, Christopher Bec, and Gabriel Moreno will certainly get an invite. I could see Philip Clarke and maybe Ryan Gold get invites. I can also see the Jays coming to terms with another minor league free agent before they get too deep into spring training.
As far as pitchers go, the Jays have several who could show up in camp. Nate Pearson is probably the biggest name as the Jays will want to see what he can do against big leaguers before he heads to Buffalo to start the year. Big Nate isn’t on the 40-man which means he’ll need to get an invite. I can also see Zach Logue, Joey Murray and Maximo Castillo getting an invite among prospective starters. For left-handed relievers, Kirby Snead, Travis Bergen, Tayler Saucedo and Jake Fishman could get invites while righties Zach Jackson, Ty Tice, Bryan Baker and Jackson McClelland could be on the list. A dark horse to get an invite could be Vinny Nittoli.
They Jays have quite a few infielders but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nash Knight show up in major league camp while Cullen Large, Kevin Smith and Logan Warmoth could also get invites. Otto Lopez could be headed to the exhibition games in Montreal, where he spent time as a child and started playing organized baseball and still spends some of his offseason (considering his family lives there).
Finally, for outfielders, I could see Roemon Fields, Forrest Wall and possibly Josh Palacios getting invites to big league camp. Fields has been in camp before and Wall and Palacios both had a strong 2019 in Double-A with Wall finishing in Triple-A. But there’s already a logjam with outfielders requiring playing time in the spring and the team needing to decide on Anthony Alford, who’s out of option years, meaning that even if one or all three of the aforementioned outfielders get invited to big league spring training, there won’t be much playing time to go around with seven outfielders already on the 40-man roster and with a couple of others being talked about to possibly play the outfield (like Cavan Biggio and Brandon Drury).
Who else do you think might get an invite to big league spring training?
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