2024-03-24 · 3 min read · MLB/Baseball
Toronto Blue Jays

Getty Images | TSN

As Toronto’s Spring Training wraps up on Monday against the Pirates in Bradenton, roster-thinning has begun across the league leaving many players and fans alike hopeful, disappointed, or downright confused. It’s a wonderfully bittersweet time of year, and the sentiment is no different within the Blue Jays organization.
Decision-making with regards to the offence is all but complete - Manager John Schneider announced on Sunday that Ernie Clement, Davis Schneider, and Dan Vogelbach had all made the club. Further, it was released prior that third-string Catcher Brian Serven will act as Danny Jansen’s fill-in for the time being, which will result in Toronto’s bench reaching capacity. Nathan Lukes, who ends his Spring hitting over .400, has been optioned.
Earlier this past week, the Blue Jays dealt utilityman Santiago Espinal to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Minor Leaguer Chris McElvain in order to clear up both a 25-man and 40-man roster spot. The 29-year old had spent the entirety of his Major League career with Toronto, playing over parts of four seasons with the club. 2022 was his most notable year, selected as an All-Star while playing in 135 games with Toronto, slashing .267/.322/.370. Espinal set MLB career-bests in just about every offensive category that summer, with a slightly more diminished role (93 games) in 2023 with limited offensive output.
McElvain, on the other hand, is a recently-drafted 23-year old righty out of Vanderbilt, whom the Reds used their 8th Round selection on in 2022. In his first full year of professional baseball, he amassed 19 starts - 23 appearances - over 96 Innings, posting a 3.75 ERA with 87 K’s. He will likely begin the year in Vancouver, as a member of their starting staff. A deal involving Espinal became likely following both Ernie Clement and Nathan Lukes’ strong Springs, forcing management’s hand.
Toronto’s 40-man currently sits at 39, however with both Vogelbach and Serven needing to be added, there will have to be an additional move.
Alongside both of them, however, comes the question of Toronto’s Opening Day staff. Assuming Toronto enters the season carrying 13 bats, that leaves room for 13 arms - 5 starters and 8 relievers. Kevin Gausman, Erik Swanson, and Jordan Romano all have been dealing with various injuries that will, most likely, prevent them from being ready for Opening Day (in Gausman’s case, that is guaranteed). Though a number of arms have been reassigned to Minor League camp and/or optioned to Buffalo, Paolo Espino, Ricky Tiedemann, Zach Pop, Nate Pearson, Mitch White, and Yariel Rodriguez remain possibilities at the time of writing this. Espino and Tiedemann would have to be added to the 40-man, if selected.
Other notable roster moves have come across too, with veteran Joey Votto beginning the season in AAA with the Bisons now confirmed. It won’t be long before he’s with the big club, though his late arrival to Dunedin necessitates more At-Bats. Toronto also released Eduardo Escobar, who hit .122 in over 15 Spring games.
Jose Berrios will toe the rubber on Opening Day, with Toronto kicking off their 2024 season with an elongated ten-game road trip against Tampa Bay, Houston, and New York before facing Seattle on April 8th in Toronto. Similar to last year, this was built into the schedule for additional time needed with the renovations being done inside the Rogers Centre. It will be the longest road trip for the Blue Jays this season.
Kevin Gausman is expected to be on the mound Monday against Pittsburgh for Toronto’s final practice game, with a strict pitch limit. How he feels following his start will determine whether an IL designation is required.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Gus Cousins


Up Next

Sports Tree Blog


Read more2024-06-10 · 3 min read
UEFA Champions League/Soccer
Sports Tree Blog


Read more2024-05-10 · 2 min read

Sports Tree

© 2024 Sports Tree LTD.

The sports tree newsletter

Sign up for the newsletter

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms of Service  and Privacy Policy. You can opt out at any time.