Blue Jays Roster: Osuna to Close & Other Decisions

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced who will close for them as well as who will fill the remaining spots on the Opening Day roster.


Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays woke up early Wednesday morning to find out just who would fill the final spots on the club’s roster and who would be named the closer for 2016.

And, they weren’t disappointed. Manager, John Gibbons has selected his Opening Day roster, likely with the input of GM, Ross Atkins and club president, Mark Shapiro and company. What might be evident to some is the familiarity aspect of the choices made.

For example, the Blue Jays will open the season with Ezequiel Carrera as the 4th outfielder.

This might come as a surprise to some, given the competition that took place this spring and just how well the Venezuelan actually performed within it. A few days ago, it seemed like Darrell Ceciliani was outperforming the group. But, rather than risk exposing and losing him to waivers, the Blue Jays elected to keep Carrera with the big league club. Both of these players are left handed bats. So, despite Ceciliani having a better spring, obviously, the fact that he has an option remaining means that the club can afford to send him to AAA. Shi Davidi also points out that he could benefit from more regular playing time in AAA.

Junior Lake is the odd man out, here. He did not come into camp and blow the doors off, so he won’t make the big league club. Now, he’ll be exposed to waivers (assuming the Blue Jays want to keep him). Given that the Blue Jays claimed him off waivers, he has already been passed on by a good many teams this offseason. It looks like the Blue Jays are banking on the same amount of disinterest?

The bullpen picture has been painted. We already knew that Drew Storen, Roberto Osuna (more on them below), Brett Cecil, Jesse Chavez and Gavin Floyd were in the ‘pen. The question was who would join them. It will look like this:

It is no surprise to see Joe Biagini make the club. Had he not, the Blue Jays would have to offer him back to the San Francisco Giants (as a Rule 5 guy) and they’d almost certainly take him back. He’s had a good spring (if 8 innings of work can really tell you anything) and looks to play above AA for the first time in his career. Arnold Leon has also had a good showing this spring. It is a little surprising to see Ryan Tepera make the team. But, the familiarity card seems to be working for him, here. The 27 yr old has an option remaining, which makes his selection seem odd. That is until you recall that lefty, Aaron Loup will begin the season on the DL and Tepera has good numbers against lefties. Upon Loup’s return, Tepera very well could be sent to Buffalo.

Perhaps bigger than all of the above, the announcement of who will close games for the Blue Jays seemed to be what everyone was waiting for. And, we got that answer first:

There were varying opinions on this matter. Some felt that Storen and his experience would win out and that this would free up Osuna for use in more “high leverage” situations that likely come up in the 7th or 8th. Others were so taken by the youngster’s 2015 showing that they felt he should be given priority based on what he’s done for the team. This could be supported by the idea that in Washington, once removed from the closer’s role by the trade for Jonathan Papelbon, Storen struggled. He has said that it is because of his usage, which was altered from his regular “closer’s” workload.

Neither one of these guys would be a poor option. And, should the higher leverage situations become an issue, Gibby tells us (via Davidi) that he’s not afraid to jump ship and go with what is working: “…we’re in a position where we want to win something this year so if we need to make changes as we go along, we’ll bring the best guys along.” It is not out of the realm of possibility that Osuna be used when situation dictates, regardless of inning and whether it is a “save situation”. Winning the game is the most important and it sounds like John Gibbons will use his pitchers in any way that guarantees that. If that means switching roles, so be it.

All of these announcements, regardless of the level of surprise they come with, should be taken for what they are. They are decisions made about how the Toronto Blue Jays will start the 2016 season. In no way should we get too caught up in believing they are permanent. There are still some balls in the air, so to speak. When Marco Estrada comes off his early (and short) stint on the DL, one of the relievers above will be gone. The same can be said for Loup. As well, it is not really clear what is going to happen with Edwin Encarnacion to start the season. Even once these things are dealt with, it is important to remember the following:

While these decisions and moves are important, they really just signify the beginning. There will need to be plenty more before it’s all said and done…and the parade is running through the city of Toronto.



*Featured Image Credit: WEBN-TV UNDER: CC BY-SA 2.0





Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.

Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.