Currently, the Blue Jays have 39 players on their 40-man roster, 12 of whom were not present on the roster when Toronto clinched its division title last September. These players arrived on the roster in various ways, either through the amateur draft, free agency, a trade, waivers, or the Rule 5 draft. I am interested in the lineage of the players on the team, so since November 2013 I have been tracing the origins of Blue Jays players on an infographic that I call the Blue Jays Roster Tree Route Map.
Click to enlarge map. The Roster Tree Route Map is copyrighted by Minor Leaguer. All rights reserved, do not use or reproduce without permission.
Designed like a subway map, the route map shows current players on Blue Jays roster as "stations" in a central blue loop. The symbol beside their names indicates how they arrived on the team (as indicated in the legend), and some of them are linked to former Jays players if there is some kind of transactional relationship.
This type of graphic shows how the current players are connected to historical ones. The route that goes the furthest back begins with Marco Estrada, who was acquired in a trade for Adam Lind, a Blue Jays amateur draft pick. The pick for Lind came in the supplementary round as compensation for Kelvim Escobar's departure by free agency. Escobar in turn signed with the Blue Jays as an amateur free agent on July 9, 1992.
The Roster Tree Route Map is updated every time there is a change to the 40-man roster. The most up-to-date version can be found here.
How to Read the Roster Tree Route Map
The order of the names around the loop is fairly arbitrary and is mostly based on what would make the route map simpler and more aesthetically-pleasing.
Transactions are displayed chronologically moving away from the central loop along a particular line whether it points inwards or outwards from the loop.
For example, the segment above shows that Drew Storen was acquired in a trade for Ben Revere, who in turn was acquired in a trade for Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado, who were acquired by the Blue Jays through free agency. When looking at the purple line, move in opposite directions away from the loop to discover that Troy Tulowitzki was acquired in a trade for Jose Reyes (moving right) as well as Miguel Castro, Jesus Tinoco, and Jeff Hoffman (moving left).
Players acquired in the same fashion are combined to save space and simplify the graphic. Examples include R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole as well as Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin.
Players acquired for cash are easy to spot: they appear with a trade icon without being linked to another player. For example, Darrell Ceciliani and Miguel Olivo were both traded to the Blue Jays for cash considerations.
Only the most recent acquisition is shown for players with multiple stints as a Blue Jay if they spent time in another organization between the stints.
For example, Edwin Encarnacion is shown as having been acquired through free agency rather than in a trade involving Scott Rolen because after the 2010 season he was picked up on waivers by the Athletics before re-signing with the Blue Jays a month later. However, even though Darwin Barney became a free agent before re-signing with Toronto this past offseason, he is indicated as being acquired in a trade because he didn't join another organization since his arrival in Toronto late last season.
An exception to the "most recent acquisition" rule applies for players whose previous stint is still linked to a current player.
For example, J.A. Happ was most recently acquired through free agency (hence the square beside his name on the main loop) but he is also directly linked to current teammate Michael Saunders as they were traded for each other. In his first stint with the Jays, Happ was acquired through trade, so that is indicated with a circle off the loop.
Special Notes about the "East Side"
The "east" (well, right) side of the map is highly connected in somewhat complex ways:
- The Blue Jays received two draft picks as compensation for Marco Scutaro's departure as a free agent, and they chose Aaron Sanchez and Justin Nicolino. Thus they both had the same lineage, shown by the stacked merging of the teal and red lines.
- The red line itself comes from a merger of the green line from DICKEY-THOLE and the purple line from TULOWITZKI. That's because Troy Tulowitzki was acquired (in part) for Jose Reyes, who had the same lineage as John Buck's second stint as the Blue Jays, as they both came from the Marlins in a trade. A separate colour line was used instead of stacked green and purple to simplify the figure.
- Not all players on the route map were in the Blue Jays organization. For example, here it shows that the draft pick for Noah Syndergaard came from compensation for the Blue Jays' failure to sign draftee James Paxton, who never was part of the Toronto franchise.
- Roberto Osuna is not connected to any of these moves, but his short name just fits in well in that location of the loop!