Toronto Blue Jays Morning News: Roster Moves, WBC, Russ Martin & More!

 

Jays From the Couch brings you the latest in Blue Jays news & links. This edition: roster moves, WBC, Russell Martin & More!

 

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With mere days until the Blue Jays report to Spring Training, the Toronto Blue Jays made a few roster moves to make room for new additions. They also added some depth. We look at these moves and more in a weekend edition of the Morning News.

 

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The details of Joe Smith‘s agreement with the Blue Jays put more context to the move by Blue Jays management.

 

According to Fangraphs, the 32 yr old has been worth 3 or more million every year since 2011. Last season saw him put up a negative WAR thanks to an ugly first half. He was able to turn it around in the second half and hold batters to a .208 avg.

The sum total of fillng out their bullpen with 2 solid – not earth shattering – options was $6M. Considering the way the bullpen market has taken shape this winter, that looks like a very good piece of business for the Blue Jays.

 

The fallout of signing Smith and J.P. Howell meant that someone, or in this case two someones, had to be removed from the 40-man roster. The Blue Jays transaction page tells us that they designated Chad Girodo and A.J. Jimenez for assignment.

Jimenez has been in this position before. He has been designated and passed through waivers, returning to the Blue Jays. For a while now, it looked like he might be the first in line to take the backup catching job in Toronto. But, signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia bumped him down the line. As well, the Blue Jays have other options like Mike Ohlman who could just as easily be third in line. Should Jimenez pass through, he very well could elect free agency and hope to catch on with another club.

 

The Blue Jays added another outfielder to their mix of spring invites:

 

The 28 yr old Venezuelan brings a decent ability to get on base (career OBP of .336), but has almost no power to speak of. In 2010, he stole 19 bases for the Pirates, but that has declined to the point where he didn’t have any the last year he was in the big leagues- 2015.

After starting last season in the Mexican League, he played for the Dodgers AAA team, Oklahoma City. In 30 games, he put up a .340 OBP, walking 11 times and striking out 16. To say that Tabata will be competing with the likes of Pompey – or Ezequiel Carrera & Melvin Upton Jr.–  might be an exaggeration, but he certainly does present minor league depth for the Bisons.

 

The World Baseball Classic begins on March 6 and there will be 6 Blue Jays taking part for their respective countries. Any time you have these kind of tournaments, major league clubs must get nervous. That would be especially true of pitchers. Well, this year, the event will allow players to be added after the first round, thus allowing them time to work with their clubs, and not have to play as much and risk injury.

Roberto Osuna and Marco Estrada will play for Mexico. Marcus Stroman and J.A. Happ will wear the stars and stripes, while Jose Bautista plays for the Dominican Republic. Canada will be represented by Dalton Pompey. Curiously, Russell Martin has been left off the roster, even though there was speculation that he would play short stop for Canada. there have been rumors about whether he was left off because of insurance issues, or the even less founded idea that he had offseason knee surgery. Some are even suggesting that he committed twice now and pulled out both times. That doesn’t match with the apparent disappointment he is expressing.

 

* Finally, if you needed a little weekend pick me up, the Blue Jays tweeted out this little gem that shows off the commitment to defense that J.P. Howell brings to Toronto:

 

 

 

 

 

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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.