Still on the Blue Jays’ 40 man roster, what does the future hold for Dalton Pompey?
Blue Jays fans are familiar with the story of Dalton Pompey, the kid from Mississauga, Ontario, and his meteoric rise through the Jays’ minor league system. In 2014 he played at A ball, AA and AAA posting a slash line of .317/.392/.469. He made his MLB debut in September of 2014 and posted a slash line of .231/.302/.436 in 17 games. Management was impressed with his potential. Then in the off season, Colby Rasmus left as a free agent and Anthony Gose was traded to the Detroit Tigers in return for Devon Travis. The future looked bright for Pompey.
Unfortunately he struggled in 2015, not only offensively but defensively as an outfielder as well and by May he was back at AAA Buffalo. Since then he has been up and down between the Jays and the minors, partly due to a series of unfortunate injuries and partly due to inconsistent results. In September of 2018, the non-contending Jays called up everyone on the 40 man roster other than Pompey and it seemed that the writing was on the wall in terms of his future, or lack of one, with the organization.
The question remains – why is he still on the 40 man roster?
They could easily have DFA’d him, opening up a spot on the 40 man and in doing so, they could have kept one of Jordan Romano or Travis Bergen in the organization, rather than losing both to the rule 5 draft. Yet for some reason he remains on the roster. I can’t imagine that a now 25 year old outfielder with a slash line of .221/.289/.372 over 64 games in parts of four MLB seasons has a great deal of trade value with other organizations.
Here is one theory. Maybe Pompey isn’t completely out of chances with the Jays. Instead, maybe the non-call up this past September was meant as a wake up call. On August 2, 2018 it was revealed that Pompey had been suspended without pay for a heated argument with AAA manager Bobby Meacham. Were they trying to tell him that they won’t tolerate that type of behaviour in the future? Fans will recall Kevin Pillar‘s temper tantrum in the dugout with the Jays in June of 2014 and his subsequent demotion to AAA that lasted roughly two months, as one example of the organization’s response to similar incidents in the past.
Maybe in conversation between Shapiro, Atkins and newly hired manager Charlie Montoyo, it was decided to give Pompey one last chance in spring training 2019. As a minor league manager, Montoyo had a record of 1,341-1,211. Clearly he has had success dealing with young ball players. Pompey has always appeared to have talent, in his minor league career to date he has a slash line of .279/.364/.405. He is one of the fastest runners in the organization and could potentially be the leadoff hitter the Jays have sorely lacked in recent years.
One thing is certain – the Jays will need to fish or cut bait with Pompey once and for all by opening day 2019. He is out of options, so if they want to send him to the minors, he will have to clear waivers first. Pompey’s fate is one of many stories worth watching in the coming months.
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