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Donaldson, Stroman lead Blue Jays in 2018

February 8, 2018

TORONTO -- Spring Training is set to officially open Wednesday at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex in Dunedin, Fla., so what better time to take a first crack at predicting Toronto's 25-man roster?MLB.com is taking a closer look at the roster breakdowns for all Major Leagues teams. Toronto's roster likely

TORONTO -- Spring Training is set to officially open Wednesday at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex in Dunedin, Fla., so what better time to take a first crack at predicting Toronto's 25-man roster?
MLB.com is taking a closer look at the roster breakdowns for all Major Leagues teams. Toronto's roster likely is still not complete, and more moves should be on the way, but let's put that aside for a minute and examine where things currently stand.
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Do you have your own 25-man roster predictions? Use the comment section below to chime in and we'll revisit these projections again a little closer to Opening Day.
Catchers (2):Russell Martin and Luke Maile
Danny Jansen, Toronto's No. 16 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, should be in line to make his debut if Martin hits the disabled list, but he needs everyday at-bats in the Minors. So, expect the defensive-minded Maile to open the year as the backup in Toronto.
First base (1):Justin Smoak
The 31-year-old will face the daunting task of trying to repeat his performance from a year ago. Smoak set career highs in every major statistical category, including home runs (38), RBIs (90) and WAR (3.2). The concern is that Smoak posted a .717 OPS over the final two months.
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Second base (1):Devon Travis
He's the ideal leadoff man but Travis needs to stay healthy, and so far, that's something he has not been able to do. Travis has yet to appear in more than 101 games in a season, but if available, he'll be the starter at second because of his obvious upside and .792 career OPS.
Shortstop (1):Troy Tulowitzki
A severe ankle injury ended his 2017 campaign in July, but Tulowitzki is expected to be a full participant this spring. The big question is health, with annual trips to the disabled list, but there should also be some concerns about the bat. Tulowitzki had a .678 OPS in 66 games last season.
Third base (1): Josh Donaldson 
The 2015 AL MVP will be in line for a monster season as he enters his final year before free agency. He's the centerpiece of Toronto's lineup and after finishing 2017 on a tear, there's no reason to believe he won't contend for the league's top honor again this season.
Utility infielders (2):Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz
The only real question here is whether the Blue Jays open the year with two utility infielders and one backup outfielder, or one utility infielder and two backup outfielders. Diaz has options remaining, but outfielder Ezequiel Carrera does not. For now, the edge goes to the recently acquired infielder; Solarte's job is secure either way.
Outfielders (4):Curtis Granderson, Steve Pearce, Kevin Pillar and Randal Grichuk

Granderson and Pearce are expected to platoon in left, while Pillar will start in center, and Grichuk receives everyday at-bats in right. This scenario would see the out-of-options Carrera cut loose and the duo of Anthony Alford/Teoscar Hernandez in Triple-A Buffalo.
Designated hitter (1): Kendrys Morales
Last year's free-agent signing will be looking to bounce back after an underwhelming first season in Toronto. Morales hit 28 home runs, but finished with a .753 OPS and 132 strikeouts in 557 at-bats. He should once again be the everyday DH, but if he struggles this spot could be used for Pearce and Travis as well.
Starting rotation (5):Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini
I have Stroman getting the nod on Opening Day as a reward for last season, Happ as the No. 2 to separate Toronto's top righties and Estrada rounding out the top four. I still expect the Blue Jays to add a fifth starter, which would result in Biagini going to the bullpen, but for now, we'll list him as a starter.

Bullpen (7):Roberto Osuna, Dennis Tepera, Danny Barnes, Aaron LoupJohn Axford, Al Alburquerque, Carlos Ramirez and Luis Santos

This is another area of the roster that still feels incomplete. As stated above, the addition of another starter might push Biagini into the bullpen. For now, Santos is keeping his spot in long relief warm. The promising rookie Ramirez could be optioned to the Minors if Toronto adds another bullpen arm in the coming weeks, and Axford will compete against a whole slew of arms on Minor League deals.

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