MONTREAL, QC -- The Blue Jays do not intend to officially finalize their 25-man roster until Sunday morning but with Opening Day two days away, it's a perfect opportunity to take one last look at where things stand at the end of Spring Training.MLB.com made its predictions for the 25-man
MONTREAL, QC -- The Blue Jays do not intend to officially finalize their 25-man roster until Sunday morning but with Opening Day two days away, it's a perfect opportunity to take one last look at where things stand at the end of Spring Training.
MLB.com made its predictions for the 25-man roster at the start of camp and then again midway through Spring Training. Typically there are a lot of changes before Opening Day, but this year the Blue Jays' roster is almost identical to the one expected before players reported.
Toronto still has a couple of decisions to make before the regular season begins Monday in Baltimore. One spot in the bullpen is technically up for grabs, while the final roster spot will come down to either Melvin Upton Jr. or Ryan Goins. In both cases, there are clear favorites. So with that in mind, let's break down the projected 25-man roster one more time.
Catcher (2):Russell Martin and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
What changed? Absolutely nothing. Saltalamacchia arrived with no guarantees after signing a Minor League deal, but he was expected all along to make this team. The only thing that might have stopped that from happening was if the club decided to sign Derek Norris, but he opted to join the Rays instead, who were offering more playing time.
Infielders (7):Justin Smoak, Steve Pearce, Devon Travis, Darwin Barney, Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson and Kendrys Morales.
What changed? These were the seven infielders that MLB.com initially projected would make the team. Midway through, Travis was swapped for Goins because of a knee injury, but he has since turned a corner and will be ready for Opening Day. Goins' days with the Blue Jays appear numbered because he is out of options on his contract and will have to clear waivers before being sent to the Minors. The final roster spot came down to either him or Upton but it appears as though Upton has won out, although it hasn't been made official.
Outfielders (4):Jose Bautista, Kevin Pillar, Upton and Ezequiel Carrera.
What changed? These were the four outfielders that MLB.com predicted would make the team and now it's all but official. Upton technically still needs to make the roster but there's a strong chance that will happen Sunday morning and he'll begin the year in a left-field platoon with Carrera. Dalton Pompey's slim chances of being a dark-horse candidate came to an end when he sustained a concussion during the World Baseball Classic. He will begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo once healthy.
Starting rotation (5):Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman, Francisco Liriano, Aaron Sanchez
What changed? There was never any doubt about who the five starters would be. The only question was what order would they be used, and now we have an answer. I initially projected Sanchez as the Opening Day starter, but the club decided to use him out of the No. 5 spot to give him a little bit more time to get ready for the regular season. Sanchez has been dealing with a blister for the last week, but the good news is that Sanchez, and everybody else, should be good to go for their first starts of the year.
Bullpen (7):Roberto Osuna, Jason Grilli, J.P. Howell, Joe Smith, Joe Biagini, Aaron Loup, Dennis Tepera.
What changed? This likely will be the only spot on the roster where we missed the mark a little bit. Toronto has yet to make it official, but it would appear as though five of the seven initial predictions were correct. At the start of camp, I had Gavin Floyd and Mike Bolsinger making the team out of Spring Training. Floyd was a non-factor as he continues to work his way back from a 2016 injury. Bolsinger remained a favorite to win a spot until the very end of camp but a pair of poor outings on the mound might have cost him the job. Bolsinger is out of options on his contract but with the way that Tepera has pitched this spring that might not matter. This battle went right down to the wire.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.