The Blue Jays roster is extremely close to being set. Though players such as Devon Travis and Dalton Pompey are being named to the opening-day roster, the final spots have not been set in stone.
Could we see a last minute addition to the Blue Jays roster?
AA isn't saying the #bluejays will make a trade or signing but they want to keep their options open. #BlueJays— Barry Davis (@SNBarryDavis) March 31, 2015
As teams begin to finalize their opening day rosters, many players could become available in the near future. Any out-of-options players will be exposed to waivers, while others will be designated for assignment to clear room on their team's 40 man roster. If a team cannot find a way to keep its organizational depth, the trade route becomes a popular option to receive value in return.
Team's Worth Watching
San Francisco Giants
The Giants almost have to make a trade prior to finalizing a 25-man roster. The team's crowded bullpen is leaving just one spot for either Jean Machi or George Kontos, who are both out-of-options. Machi, 33, is a right-handed reliever who posted a 2.58 ERA, 3.37 xFIP and 52% ground ball rate last season. His 2013 numbers are even better.
George Kontos, 29, also kept his ERA under 3 last season. His peripheral statistics are not as strong as the numbers posted by Jean Machi, but he remains a strong option against right-handed hitters. Going the other way, Steve Tolleson could be a nice addition for the Giants. The Giants are probably looking to add an interesting prospect in any deal.
Tampa Bay Rays
Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza figure to be the team's starting outfielders in 2015. Brandon Guyer will be a solid forth outfielder that is capable of hitting left-handed pitching. This leaves limited opportunities for David DeJesus to play. For a low budget team, it would be unusual to keep a $5 million player to sit on the bench. The left-handed hitting outfielder seems to be clearly available in a trade.
The Jays could definitely use David DeJesus. He is a strong bat against right-handed pitching, who would provide an excellent replacement while Michael Saunders is injured. If the Jays are fully healthy, DeJesus could push Jose Bautista to first base and become an offensive upgrade to Justin Smoak. Finally, DeJesus could provide the Jays with a solid backup plan if Dalton Pompey falters. Relying on Kevin Pillar to be able to hit right-handed pitching is awfully risky.
Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Hahn, Drew Pomeranz and Kendall Graveman figure to start the season in the Athletics' rotation. Sean Nolin and Barry Zito will be available as depth, while Jarrod Parker could return mid-season. This leaves Jesse Chavez as a member of the bullpen.
Chavez posted a 3.52 xFIP in 21 starts last season. Much like the Rays, the Athletics are a low-budget team that looks to cut costs whenever possible. Paying Chavez $2.15 million may not be in the team's best interests if the right-hander is not in the rotation.
After Marcus Stroman's injury, the Blue Jays could definitely use additional depth. Aaron Sanchez figures to be the Jays' fifth starter, but counting on him to succeed might be a big mistake. After struggling in the minors last season, it is tough to expect Sanchez to be a successful starter at a higher level this year. Having Marco Estrada as the lone backup plan is not enough.
Jesse Chavez would provide the Jays with terrific depth for a solid price. He posted a 3.28 xFIP against right-handed hitters last season, which would be a welcoming addition to the Blue Jays' bullpen early on. If injuries occur or Sanchez struggles, Chavez could become a solid fifth starter.
Things To Keep An Eye On
As players continue to hit the waiver wire, the Jays could have numerous opportunities to add depth to help potential areas of need. A starting pitcher or right-handed hitting outfielder would be a nice addition to the Buffalo Bisons roster, while providing depth when injuries occur. Dustin McGowan has been released from the Los Angeles Dodgers, so it will be interesting to see if a reunion is possible.
If the Jays do not make any additions before opening day, it will be interesting to see who gets the final spots on the opening day roster. Will Ryan Goins become the forth member of the bench? Or will the Jays start the season with an 8-man bullpen.
The final roster decisions should be fun to watch in the coming days!