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Carrera staying focused despite uncertain role

Blue Jays have surplus of outfielders with additions of Granderson, Grichuk
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Ezequiel Carrera arrived at the Blue Jays' recent Winter Fest uncertain about his future in the city he has called home for the past three years.

Carrera watched from afar this offseason as Toronto's front office added a couple of outfielders to its roster. Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk have guaranteed jobs on the big league squad, and what that means for Carrera's time in the blue and white remains unclear.

TORONTO -- Ezequiel Carrera arrived at the Blue Jays' recent Winter Fest uncertain about his future in the city he has called home for the past three years.

Carrera watched from afar this offseason as Toronto's front office added a couple of outfielders to its roster. Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk have guaranteed jobs on the big league squad, and what that means for Carrera's time in the blue and white remains unclear.

The natural conclusion is that Carrera will become the odd man out of an outfield group that also includes Kevin Pillar and Steve Pearce. There is no clear path to playing time, but until Carrera's future is resolved one way or the other, he is trying to keep an open mind.

Video: Gibbons discusses new additions to Blue Jays' roster

"I don't feel any pressure," Carrera said through an interpreter. "I'm actually glad that we have some competition and some players to make this team better. But I feel like I have done pretty well the last two years. Keep working hard, keep doing what I have to do. I'm just going to go into Spring Training, do what I did every year, and I think the organization will make the decision of whether I keep my role or we go different ways."

As unlikely as it may seem, Carrera could still find himself with a spot on the Blue Jays' active roster. Toronto could begin the year with Yangervis Solarte as its lone backup infielder and option the recently acquired Aledmys Diaz to the Minors. That would create room for a fifth outfielder, but even in that scenario, it's hard to figure out exactly what Carrera's role would be.

The other possibility for playing time comes in the event of an injury before Opening Day, but the Blue Jays also have Anthony Alford, Teoscar Hernandez and Dalton Pompey waiting in the Minors. There's a clear surplus of outfielders, and while a move doesn't necessarily have to be made, it seems inevitable.

For his part, Carrera has yet to speak with the front office about its intentions. He's planning to be in Dunedin, Fla., in a couple of weeks when Toronto officially opens Spring Training. Until told otherwise, Carrera is doing his best to maintain the status quo.

"I haven't talked to anyone yet. We haven't had a chance to sit with them and talk about it," Carrera said. "I just try and be ready for Spring Training. I'm trying to do my best, and I think the decision will come to them whether I did enough or not for this year."

Carrera did gain some certainty earlier this offseason when he agreed to a one-year, $1.9 million deal to avoid arbitration. One issue is that Carrera is out of options on his contract, so the only way he's guaranteed to stick with the Blue Jays is by making the team out of Spring Training, and that appears to be an uphill battle.

"We have to stay open about all of the players on our roster," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said. "If there is any way to make our team better, more fluid, provide more versatility, we'll look to do that."

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Ezequiel Carrera