Now that I have my tickets for Opening Day (Section 130, down the left field line), I am even more excited for this season to start. I participated in 1 BlueJaysWay’s 2nd annual 25 Man Roster Challenge. I used the same roster I had chosen before, but since we traded Napoli for Francisco, and picked up Podsednik, I had to make a couple minor changes. I think I have a good shot, but McCoy I think was a bad choice on my part. Oh well, it’s all in good fun, but I would love that Randy Knorr autographed photo.
I find myself thinking more about the impact that the minor league signings will have on some of the younger guys on the Jays 40 man roster. They have brought in some guys with extended big league experience, and if they make the squad, what is the domino effect on the 40 man? The only position players not set to make the team out of spring training are Jeroloman, Hechavarria, Mastroianni, Sierra, and potentially McCoy. Seeing as they need a catcher in case of injury, Jeroloman stays. Hech, Mastro, Sierra all stay because they are young with high ceilings. McCoy stays on the 40 man because of his versatility, and some even thinks that he makes the team. So it would seem that if Podsednik, Chad Cordero, Ledezma, Stewart, Lawrie, or Patterson makes the team, a pitcher would have to be cut loose.
I only bring up those select names because they are the only ones who I have really heard people discussing in making the team. A quick look at the Jays 40 Man Roster shows that there are currently 42 guys on there, meaning that 2 guys have to be dropped before the season starts anyways. The first two that come to mind, are McGowan and Jo-Jo Reyes. Now, before you think I have given up on Dustin, if he is moved to the 60-day Disabled List, he will open a spot on the 40-man. Reyes, because he is out of options, if he doesn’t make the team, he will have to be designated for assignment. Meaning the Jays will have 10 days to trade or release him, exposing him to other teams. If not picked up, he can be outrighted to AAA, but would be off the 40man roster.
So, if Podsednik makes the team, who gets dropped? What if the Podfather AND Patterson or Cordero makes it? What if all 3 make it??? The person I most see being taken off the 40man is Luis Perez. He is 26, entering his 3rd year on the 40man roster and he is a left handed starter. Up until last year, his numbers weren’t bad, but those numbers were mostly skewed by his age (in 2008 he played A ball as a 24 year old). Once he made the jump to AA two years ago, his K rate dropped and his ability to keep the ball in the yard suffered. He began 2010 repeating AA and actually pitched worse, walking more and giving up more hits. Somehow, this earned him a promotion mid season, probably after the draft and players began to sign. He clearly was not ready for this jump and he struggled even more in the hitter friendly PCL. He walked almost as many as he struck out, and gave up over 11 hits per 9 innings.
Despite having pretty low walk numbers in the minors, Brad Mills has yet to put it together in his 2 cups of coffee in the big leagues. He doesn’t throw hard, but has a decent curve and a good change to go along with his herky jerky motion. Do the Jays brass think he will really be able to get hitters out in the AL East? I think that he is close to the bubble, and with a bad spring, he can get himself a one way ticket to Vegas.
Another guy who is a bit of a fan favourite is Scott Richmond. Last year he pitched 41 innings coming back from a shoulder injury. He had a 3:1 K:BB ratio in that time, but over the course of his career has been his propensity to give up the long ball. In 166 MLB innings, he has allowed 29 bombs, which is almost double the average MLB rate. If he can’t make a healthy comeback, this feel good story of a good Canadian boy will have its ending.
Robert Ray is yet another righty who could get the axe. He isn’t overpowering, and doesn’t suit the typical mould of pitcher that Anthopolous has stated he believes can get guys out at this level. He doesn’t strike many out and doesn’t walk many, and doesn’t give up too many long balls.
Seeing as I only envision Podsednik making the team, the only guy I see coming off the 40man roster is Luis Perez. This, of course, is only barring any sort of trades or anything that opens a spot on the roster before the beginning of the season.