After some recent transactions by AA, I thought I would take a look at how these will re-shape the Blue Jays roster going into the 2013 season. In parentheses following some player's names, I've included last year's salary figures for arbitration eligible players, as well as a list of the relevant players who are out of options. It's still early and there are still potential moves to be made, but here is where I believe the Jays 2013 roster currently sits.
Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Romero, J.A. Happ (arb $3.8M)
Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, Darren Oliver (retiring?), Sergio Santos (out of options), Brad Lincoln, Esmil Rogers (out of options)
J.P. Arencibia, John Buck
Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Brett Lawrie, Maicer Izturis, Emilio Bonifacio, Adam Lind (out of options)
Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus (arb $4.5M), Rajai Davis (out of options)
The 23 players listed above should be considered virtual locks (barring injuries or unforeseen roster moves). Having said that, Darren Oliver may retire this offseason if the recent transactions made by AA don't light a fire under him. As well, Brad Lincoln does have options and could start the year in AAA-Buffalo - possibly as a starter - to make room on the 25-man roster. I'm not saying that's the correct move, I'm just listing it as an option.
The above roster currently consists of 11 pitchers and 12 position players. In the past, AA has liked to carry a bullpen of at least 7 pitchers, which would mean adding one more pitcher and one more position player to the roster. However, the 7 or 8-man bullpen may not be considered a necessity this season, as the Jays should not be relying on so many rookies in their rotation.
To fill the remaining 2 roster spots, a likely group of players to pull from could be the players who are:
OUT OF OPTIONS
Brett Cecil, Jeremy Jeffress, Mike McCoy, Dustin McGowan, Luis Perez (DL), Cory Wade (arb $700K), Bobby Wilson (arb $600K)
If McGowan is able to begin the season not on the disabled list - I won't hold my breath - then you have to figure that he has a potential shot at a bullpen or fifth rotation spot. Next in line could be an opportunity at a LOOGY role for Cecil. Jeffress will also be fighting hard for a bullpen spot and has something to prove after the Royals gave up on his 'former first-round draft pick' potential.
Another group to pull from would be players on the:
Chad Jenkins pitched adequately in a late-season call-up going 5 innings in his final start, giving up 5 hits, 2 earned-runs and 1 walk. Aaron Loup was one of the better lefties in the Jays pen last year with a 10.5 K/BB ratio. The guy simply doesn't walk anybody (not named Jacoby Ellsbury or Chris Carter). Alright, so he walks one player a month; a vice I'm sure the Jays could handle.
With a full outfield and Davis and Bonifacio to spell them, there is really no room for Sierra or Gose. You have to believe they will start the year in Buffalo where they will both receive every day reps. There is potentially another spot in the infield and the Jays could consider carrying a 3rd catcher if they plan to bat Arencibia at DH every now and then.
To round things out, below are a few other players of note.
Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, Luis Perez
Omar Vizquel, Kelly Johnson, Carlos Villanueva, Jason Frasor, Brandon Lyon, Jesse Litsch (outrighted off the 40-man roster and has begun to think about his post-baseball career due to lingering arm issues), Robert Coello
It should go without saying that a few of these players may not be on the 40-man roster when the season begins - possibly Wade, Wilson or McCoy to name a few - but any ideas of possible transactions are all conjecture at this point (or at any point for that matter with AA at the helm). Feel free to let me know who you think may fill out the roster and why.