Blue Jays spring training preview: 26-man roster prediction

Blue Jays spring training preview: 26-man roster prediction

  • Post category:Sports

After a series of moves spanning several months, the Blue Jays are set to open spring training Monday with a vastly different roster than the one that ended in 2022.

There are new faces in the outfield, a big upgrade to the starting rotation and a bit more depth in the bullpen. To make room for new signings, clubhouse favorites Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández were sent home. Experienced starter Ross Stripling also left town.

A lot has changed this offseason, but expect minor adjustments over the next six weeks. The Jays open spring training Monday with a roster that, barring injuries, looks set to last on the bench.

Here are the star’s roster predictions for the Jays’ 26-man roster. We’ll come back to these tips at the end of camp to see how we fared.


Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen

  • Status quo: Kirk and Jansen would be one of baseball’s best tandems. Kirk just completed his first All-Star campaign and while his bat remained a win with a .786 on-base plus slugging percentage, he also became one of the best pitch setters in the game. Jansen offers strength and a presence of veterans which should benefit the employees.
  • What could change: Top receiver Gabriel Moreno was traded to the Diamondbacks as part of the deal for Daulton Varsho, meaning the Jays will be in trouble if Kirk or Jansen suffer a long-term injury. The first line of defense will likely be 33-year-old Rob Brantly, who played in 135 games in eight major league seasons. Brantly spent much of last year as a backup for the Yankees’ Triple-A partner, where he hit .269 with .685 OPS.


Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B), Whit Merrifield (2B), Bo Bichette (SS), Matt Chapman (3B), Brandon Belt (DH), Santiago Espinal (Utility), Cavan Biggio (Utility), Otto López (Utility)

  • Current Status: The starting job at Second Base is one of the few spots available at this year’s camp. Merrifield, Espinal and Biggio will battle for playing time, but every player should have a secure spot on the roster. Merrifield is the early favorite after a strong finish last year.
  • What could change: The Jays don’t necessarily have to have Merrifield, Espinal and Biggio on the roster at the same time, especially with Lopez hanging around as well. It makes sense to swap one out to upgrade another spot on the list. If that didn’t happen, López would become the underdog once the Jays land another outfielder.

outfield player

Daulton Varsho (LF), Kevin Kiermaier (CF), George Springer (RF)

  • State of play: Merrifield and Biggio can play in the outfield, Lopez and Espinal probably too, but the Jays still lack a traditional fourth outfielder. The replacement does not have to play in the middle, because in addition to Kiermaier, the Jays have Varsho and Springer. That means the top priority for the coming weeks should be getting a right-handed Schlageck outfielder who can take on tough southpaws.
  • What could change: a lot. Varsho, Kiermaier and Springer are stuck as the starting three, but the Jays have almost no depth behind them. Moving an infielder to the outfield is one possible solution, but a better one would be to bring in someone from outside the organization. Chances are it will happen soon.

Start spinning

Alek Manoah (R), Kevin Gausman (R), Chris Bassitt (R), Jose Berrios (R), Yusei Kikuchi (L)

  • State of Play: Bassitt was a surprise signing for the Jays this offseason when he landed a three-year contract worth $63 million. The former Met has pitched at least 144 innings in each of his last three full seasons, and his ability to handle a heavy workload should ease the stress on the bullpen. Opening day starts go to Manoah or Gausman, while last year’s No. 1 Berríos will drop to fourth.
  • What could change: Kikuchi is the favorite for the final rotation spot, but he’ll face competition from Mitch White in the spring. Right-hander Zach Thompson, acquired in a small trade with the Pirates in January, will also be there, serving as depth. Left-hander Ricky Tiedemann, the Jays’ first pick, likely won’t be considered until the second half of the season.


Jordan Romano (R). Yimi Garcia (R), Tim Mayza (L), Erik Swanson (R), Anthony Bass (R), Adam Cimber (R), Trevor Richards (R), Mitch White (R)

  • As it stands: The only new face is Swanson, who was traded from Seattle for Hernández. The 29-year-old had a dominant 1.68 ERA last season, but he didn’t throw in many high-leverage situations due to a deep Mariners bullpen. How he reacts to a bigger role in Toronto could determine whether this bullpen is good or just okay. The big concern is the same as last year: will the Jays be able to survive Romano’s long injury?
  • What could change: Barring an injury or White becoming the surprise winner of the last starting job, this will be the bullpen the Jays open the season with. Richards and White are the last two assistants on the roster, and they don’t have minor league options, meaning their jobs must be secure until performance decides otherwise. If someone from outside the organization is brought in, Richards would likely be the underdog.



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