Every week until opening day, Sportsnet’s Mike Wilner will take his best guess as to what the Blue Jays 25-man roster will look like when the season opens April 3rd. Here’s the first of five weekly thoughts on who Mike thinks will be heading north:
This early in camp, it’s probably a good idea just to go with the roster that I thought we were going to see when spring training started. As the pre-season continues, we’ll see if Donaldson, Pearce and Travis are healthy enough to answer the bell on opening day – all are expected to be – and if everyone else stays healthy.
Assuming good health, there’s a crunch at the bottom of the roster with the position players and in the bullpen.
It appears that there’s only room for three of Darwin Barney, Ezequiel Carrera, Ryan Goins and Melvin Upton, Jr., and given both how the roster was constructed last season and the likely need to replace Steve Pearce defensively late in games should he be in left field, it’s likely that the Jays keep both Carrera, who is out of options, and Upton. Barney offers more with the bat than Goins and, while he’s not the superstar on defense that Goins is, he’s still very, very good. Given the choice between the two last August, the Jays kept Barney.
The last spot in the bullpen, on this first crack at the roster, came down to the out-of-options Schultz over the equally out-of-options Mike Bolsinger and Rule 5 pick Glenn Sparkman – that’s likely to be a fluid spot throughout the spring.
With the Blue Jays not needing a fifth starter until April 9, Francisco Liriano may spend that first week being the second lefty in the ‘pen.
Melvin Upton, Jr.