The Toronto Blue Jays have announced their Opening Day roster and with it some curious moves have taken place.
The Toronto Blue Jays have announced a flurry of moves that will bring their 2017 Opening Day roster into focus. And, prepare yourself, because it brings up a lot of questions.
#BlueJays release Melvin Upton Jr. and DFA Mike Bolsinger. Ryan Goins and Ryan Tepera make the club.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) April 2, 2017
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) April 2, 2017
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) April 2, 2017
The weirdest part of all of this is that Melvin Upton Jr.is just being straight up released. We had heard that he would likely not be on the roster on Monday, but it wasn’t until the tweets started pouring in that it started to hit home. While he certainly offered instances of ineffectiveness during his stint with the Blue Jays, including a frustrating amount of strike outs, the fact that the club is just letting him walk is a head scratcher.
Long thought to be part of the LF platoon situation, Upton Jr will now depart leaving us to wonder what will happen now. Will Steve Pearce take on more LF innings than we thought? Will Ezequiel Carrera? If it is Pearce, that means that 1B will feature an awful lot of Justin Smoak at first. This seems like a less than ideal way to structure the lineup. We know the club loves Smoak’s defense, but this might be putting too many eggs in that basket.
The other side of the Upton coin means that Ryan Goins will also have a spot on the roster. It is easy to see this as the club picking Goins over Upton and then react accordingly. Keeping Goins does nothing for the outfield situation, which has now begun to look even more bleak than before.
What keeping Goins does do is save him from the waiver wire and provide the team with infield depth. But, they already have Darwin Barney, who is the definition of a utility infielder. Perhaps they are clinging to Goins in the anticipation that the likes of Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis will miss a significant amount of time. I mean, Goins’ glove is certainly worth thinking about. But, can they be that scared of injuries?
Perhaps even scarier than keeping Goins is the news that Roberto Osuna will start the season on the DL. In his latest outing, we heard that the radar gun mysteriously stopped working when he stepped on the mound. It probably would have revealed a dip in velocity, which would make sense if he is experiencing “cervical spasms”.
A quick search for the precise (less middle school) definition of this injury is as follows: “cervical spondylosis results in a narrowing of the space needed for the spinal cord or nerve roots. If this occurs, your symptoms may include numbness and weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers. Trouble walking, loss of balance, or weakness in the hands or legs.” (from OrthoInfo)
Now, if you’ve ever looked up your symptoms online because you don’t want to make an appointment and wait weeks to see a doctor, you know that Dr Google can often scare the bejeezus out of you. The above definition certainly does that. It sounds like something that would continue to cause issues for a pitcher. Hopefully, that is not the case and Osuna needs just the 10 day DL to get back to his old self. That said, if this issue lingers, the club will be in trouble at the back end of the bullpen, which will impact the whole group.
The ‘pen will be made up of Joe Biagini, Jason Grilli, J.P. Howell, Dominic Leone, Joe Smith, Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup. We can expect that Grilli would be the most logical one to step in as closer in Osuna’s absence. Barring that, Biagini has shown success last season in tight situations. Maybe they could go to him. The surprise of this group is Leone taking the last spot.
Now, he will only be filling in for Osuna, so we really shouldn’t see him as a direct replacement for Mike Bolsinger, who as DFA’d, but it looks that way on the surface. Bolsinger would have provided a spot start/long man option. That is something that this current group does not seem to be able to provide. And, this early in the season, starters aren’t going to throw complete games, thus the importance of long inning guys.
We should note: Glenn Sparkman is technically on the roster, which he needs to be in order to keep him under the Rule 5 rules. He is on the DL with a broken bone in his thumb.
The entire 2017 Opening Day roster looks like this:
Bullpen: Biagini, Grilli, Loup (L), Tepera, Leone, Smith, Howell (L)
Infielders: Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Devon Travis, Justin Smoak, Steve Pearce
DH: Kendrys Morales
Bench: Darwin Barney, Ryan Goins
*Featured Image Credit: C Stem- JFtC
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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.