Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Toronto Blue Jays
news

Blue Jays News

Inbox: Did Blue Jays add enough pieces?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from fans
MLB.com @gregorMLB

If Seung Hwan Oh is the last player executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Ross Atkins adds before Opening Day, how would you rate his offseason? Is there enough to compete for an American League Wild Card spot?
-- Jake E., St. Catharines, Ontario

The consensus when talking to players and scouts in Florida is that the Blue Jays had a sneaky good offseason. No, there weren't any flashy moves -- but the floor has been raised with a number of moves to address depth issues throughout the roster. However, for a team that scored the fewest runs in the AL last year, it's surprising the Blue Jays did not make it more of a priority to add a high-impact bat.

If Seung Hwan Oh is the last player executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Ross Atkins adds before Opening Day, how would you rate his offseason? Is there enough to compete for an American League Wild Card spot?
-- Jake E., St. Catharines, Ontario

The consensus when talking to players and scouts in Florida is that the Blue Jays had a sneaky good offseason. No, there weren't any flashy moves -- but the floor has been raised with a number of moves to address depth issues throughout the roster. However, for a team that scored the fewest runs in the AL last year, it's surprising the Blue Jays did not make it more of a priority to add a high-impact bat.

:: Submit a question to the Blue Jays Inbox ::

In order for Toronto to contend, its rotation will have to be borderline dominant. And key offensive pieces such as Devon Travis, Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak will have to stay healthy. There is not much margin for error, but some of the analytics are quite favorable. According to FanGraph's Steamer projections, Toronto is predicted to finish with 87 wins, which would be enough for the second AL Wild Card berth. I'm not as high on this roster, but contending isn't as farfetched as some might believe.

Who has impressed you the most in Spring Training?
-- Phil W., Toronto

Anthony Alford, who is ranked No. 3 in the system by MLB Pipeline. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette receive most of the attention, but Alford has a chance to be equally as good. The 23-year-old got off to a hot start this spring, with five hits and a 1.119 OPS through his first six games and is starting to make a case that he should be considered for a spot on the big league roster sooner rather than later.

Video: Top Prospects: Anthony Alford, OF, Blue Jays

Give Alford credit, he didn't begin playing baseball full time until 2015 but he has spent the last three offseasons making up for lost time. Arizona Fall League, Mexican League, you name it Alford has tried to play in it and the extra reps are starting to pay off. One thing I'd like to see more of is Alford in center field, because if he can stick there, his bat becomes an even bigger asset.

Should the Blue Jays be looking for a veteran catcher to backup Russell Martin? Age is taking its toll, and Luke Maile can't cut it offensively.
-- Don G.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The Blue Jays never seemed to think the backup catcher spot was as big of a priority as most of the fan base. Toronto is content with Maile as the primary backup, because of his ability to handle a pitching staff and control the running game. Maile's bat has left something to be desired the past couple of years, but that's a sacrifice Toronto is willing to make. It would have been a different story if the organization had more concern about its overall depth. Prospects Dan Jansen and Reese McGuire provide an additional layer of protection, so if Martin requires some time on the disabled list, the club could possibly skip over Maile and hand more regular at-bats to one of the young catchers.

You've been writing a lot this spring about those two jobs in the bullpen. Who do you think will get them?
-- Katelyn D., Ottawa, Ontario

My gut feeling says Craig Breslow will beat out Matt Dermody and Tim Mayza for the second lefty job, while John Axford will hold a slight edge over Al Alburquerque for the other spot. Joe Biagini is the perfect fit for this bullpen, with his ability to throw multiple innings while also occasionally filling a high-leverage role, and John Gibbons wants Biagini in the 'pen. But he might not get his wish, because Biagini is needed as insurance for the rotation. So that's the only reason he's not making my list. If Axford and Alburquerque both impress throughout camp the club could forgo the second lefty, but that would leave the bullpen without much versatility.

Who will get dropped from the 40-man roster if Breslow and Alburquerque (or Axford) get added? A minor issue for sure, but not like there are a lot of other roster questions with this #BlueJays squad.
-- @itsnotaboutart

Great question, because it shines a light on just how much of a roster crunch the Blue Jays have at the moment. Toronto had to add a lot of prospects to the 40-man roster during the offseason to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, and as a result there is not much wiggle room. The Blue Jays currently do not have any spots available on the 40-man, and that's one reason why Ezequiel Carrera had to be designated for assignment to make room for Oh.

There are no clear-cut candidates to drop, but Toronto's outfield depth could make Dwight Smith Jr. or Dalton Pompey expendable. Under normal circumstances, both outfielders would be part of the mix in Buffalo, alongside Alford and Teoscar Hernandez. Cutting from a position of strength seems more likely than shedding important depth from elsewhere. Right-hander Taylor Guerrieri also could be a possibility but the Blue Jays would like to use him in Buffalo.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook.

Toronto Blue Jays