Blue Jays have decisions to make on catching, 'pen
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Blue Jays would like to at least tentatively finalize their 25-man roster within the next couple of days.
Toronto manager John Gibbons said on Sunday morning that he would like to have the roster in place before the club heads north for a pair of exhibition games Friday and Saturday in Montreal.
The main decisions that have to be made before the 25-man roster can be set are the backup catcher situation and the final spot in the bullpen.
"We'll have a good idea before that, what the roster is going to look like," Gibbons said of the trip to Montreal for a pair of games vs. the Mets. "We'll bring some extra guys with us anyways, but we'll know within the next couple of days."
The Blue Jays also still have to decide the final spot in the rotation, but that likely won't have a direct impact on the 25-man roster. Dustin McGowan, Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers and J.A. Happ are all competing for the last job available, but there's room for all four on the team if Toronto goes with an eight-man bullpen.
Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress also is in the mix for a role in relief. He is out of options on his contract and cannot be optioned to the Minors without clearing waivers. Jeffress had a rough start to Spring Training but is coming off a strong outing vs. the Rays and has a 2.79 ERA in 9 2/3 innings.
The backup catcher job is between Josh Thole and Erik Kratz. One of the main responsibilities will be catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, and while Thole has more familiarity with the No. 1 starter, it's Kratz that appears to have the edge because of his abilities with the bat.
"The No. 1 job is going to be catching Dickey," Gibbons said. "You want some offense, but the No. 1 thing is they have to be able to catch Dickey. I think they've both done a good job, so it's a tough call."