The Blue Jays regular season is now a finality and the focus is now shifting towards the Blue Jays playoff opener at the Dome against the AL West Champion Texas Rangers.
The Blue Jays have until Thursday morning at 10 to release their playoff roster of 25 players, and even though they haven’t announced anything yet, they have dropped plenty of hints. Barry Davis had a tweet yesterday saying that the Blue Jays were only going to put 11 pitchers on the roster. We also know that Mark Buehrle will not be on the playoff roster after he confirmed after the game in Tampa that he was told that he wouldn’t be by John Gibbons.
Here is what I think the roster will look like.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make on who should be the eleventh pitcher on the roster but looking at the candidates it was easy to look at their body of work over the season and make the decision from there. Buehrle hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen since he was a rookie and with his ailing shoulder and his lack of opponents swinging strike rates, only 3 percent in the second half of season, there is no way anyone can justify putting him on the playoff roster. Drew Hutchison pitched himself off the playoff roster in September and even without his awful September he probably doesn’t make it. Aaron Loup is another who had a rough year, the main argument is going to be though that the Jays need another lefty in the pen, yes, another lefty wouldn’t hurt but Loup’s number against lefty’s isn’t much to write home about as lefty’s slash 279/347/368 and have a BABIP of .388. The reason I think Tepera makes it is solely because of his reverse splits when he faces lefthanders as they slash 126/243/263 with a BABIP of .113, looking at those numbers alone the decision should be a slam dunk.
When it comes to who makes the roster off the bench it was a bonus that the Blue Jays are only going to carry eleven pitcher as it gives them flexibility when it comes to how they want the bench to look. Collabello could easily be used as solely a pinch hitter or he can platoon at first with Smoak, although I imagine that they’ll start Smoak at first over Collabello on his defence alone. Navarro will be used off the bench as a pinch hitter and from reading between the lines of some of Gibby’s interviews over the last week will catch Marco Estrada in the playoffs. Carrera will be the teams fourth outfielder, while Dalton Pompey will probably only be used as a pinch runner, as for Cliff Pennington he will be used as a late inning defensive replacement, most likely after Ryan Goins has been lifted for a pinch hitter late in a game.
It should be interesting to see just what the playoff roster will look like when it does get released, but I have a pretty good feeling it’ll be awfully darn close to the one I just listed here.