The Toronto Blue Jays will have some decisions to make as they get some key players back and the roster shrinks
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The Toronto Blue Jays are a much improved team in 2022 compared the the teams of the recent past. As more talent is found up and down the entire roster it means the team will have some difficult decisions to make regarding some pretty good players in the upcoming weeks as veteran contributors return from the injured list.
All major league teams are allowed to have 26 players on their respective active rosters, including a maximum of 14 pitchers. On May 30 the number of pitchers is reduced to a maximum of thirteen. Given how much baseball has changed over the years and reflecting on recent Blue Jays roster management I will be assuming that the team will carry a maximum of 14 pitchers through the month of May.
Current Jays on the injured list include outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, catcher Danny Jansen, infielder Cavan Biggio, starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu and relievers Nate Pearson, Ryan Borucki and Tayler Saucedo. All of the above, save possibly Pearson, should be back sometime during the month of May. Barring further injuries, some good players will have to be demoted to AAA or outrighted off the roster altogether.
It is safe to say that all of the following eight position players have locked down a roster spot: Gurriel Jr., Springer, Tapia, Guerrero Jr, Espinal, Bichette, Chapman and Kirk. Likewise for the following eleven pitchers: Gausman, Berrios, Manoah, Kikuchi, Stripling, Romano, Mayza, Cimber, Richards, Garcia and Phelps. This leaves spots for four more position players and three more pitchers.
A return of Hernandez is imminent and completes a solid outfield. This puts Zimmer on the hot seat. However as Zimmer is out of minor league options he cannot be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers. Further complicating the matter is the fact that he still has two years of team control left after this season so the Jays will not want to lose him for nothing. The logical move here is to option catcher Tyler Heineman to the minors upon the return of Hernandez.
Jansen is also due back soon which means the Jays will have to decide between sending Zack Collins down or losing Zimmer to waivers. As three catchers is a luxury they cannot afford, and they will not want to lose Zimmer, it seems logical that Collins is the odd man out in this situation.
With the return of Biggio, the Jays will have a huge decision. Right now the Jays are trying to win and Biggio is not helping them. He is not hitting, his defence is not great at any position and he generally just looks ‘lost’. As hard as it may be for Jays fans to admit, some time in AAA may be the best thing for Biggio and the team. This will allow them to keep a Vinny Capra or Gosuke Katoh on the roster who add more defensive versatility and speed to the lineup.
On the pitching side, once Ryu returns, Andrew Vasquez can be optioned to the minors. However when both Ryu and Borucki return a decision must be made as Borucki does not have any minor league options remaining. Given his quality arm and the fact that he recently hit 97 miles per hour in a MLB game I would suggest that the Jays front office does not want to give up on him just yet. If this is the case Julian Merryweather is the logical pitcher to be sent down as he still has one option year left.
In the end, the Blue Jays have to balance trying to maximize the current roster to ‘win now’ while trying to keep as much talent in the organization as possible. It has taken a few years to get here, but every major league team wishes it had such problems on their roster.
*Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Jason C MacDonald has been a Blue Jays fan since the late 1980’s. His lifelong passion for Baseball and the Blue Jays has recently led him to start writing at JFtC. When not working at his day job or driving his two teenage sons to their sporting events Jason is usually reading, listening, watching or now writing about baseball.