5 Players Who Won’t Make Toronto Blue Jays’ 2014 Opening Day Roster
5 Players Who Are Triple-A Buffalo Bound
Besides the last two spots in the starting pitching rotation and maybe the backup outfielder spot, there really aren't that many positional battles going on at the Toronto Blue Jays' Spring Training camp in Dunedin, FL. However, there are those players that will refuse to admit that they are not major league ready whether they have been once in their career already or not.
The Jays 40-man roster is already chock-full of players that fit that bill and perhaps more will emerge this time around. The team has a knack for watching players do well for them early in their career and then finding themselves cringing at the site of the same player underachieving in the not too distant future. Either that or the small acquisitions that Alex Anthopoulos loves to make along the way never seem to pan out and flourish.
It's a tough pill to swallow when a player is told to pack their bags and be on their way to Buffalo or New Hampshire. However, it's a necessary evil that needs to take precedence when trying to piece together a ball club that is fit to make the playoffs. The Jays have a number of players that just can't cut it when to comes down to being able to play at an elite level every single day. These are the players whose clocks are ticking.
As Spring Training progresses, life in the majors for some will ultimately become short lived. For the Jays' coaching staff, it's a chance to think outside the box and give those that deserve it an honest shot in the bigs. Second chances have been played out over the past couple of seasons and it's time for the Jays to move on from a certain few. Here are five players who won't make the Jays' Opening Day roster.
5. Munenori Kawasaki
This will most likely not be well received but the fact of the matter is that Munenori Kawasaki is highly overrated. Jays' fans love Kawasaki because he has the ability to make them laugh. That is all. They are failing to realize that doing handstands and dancing in the dugout isn't going to help anyone win games. Sure, a little clubhouse humor can go a long way, especially if you can keep the mood light. However, when it's the only thing that you are good at, there are minor league ballparks that you can mess around in. That's exactly where Kawasaki belongs and where he will begin the 2014 season.
4. Ricky Romero
The troubled lefty has had a rough go the past two seasons. Why Ricky Romero is still in a Jays' uniform is beyond me, especially considering the fact that his jersey was found on sale at the Rogers Centre Jays' Shop midway through the 2013 season. There's no telling how much longer he will be a part of the Jays' organization but one thing's for sure: he will definitely not find himself on the opening day roster. It won't even be close.
3. Josh Thole
Although Josh Thole absolutely ripped it up in Buffalo before being called up to the majors, his transition on to the big club was clearly something he was uncomfortable with. Newly acquired Erik Kratz is an absolute monster, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 255 pounds. If anyone is going to knock down a knuckleball directly in front of them it's him. Thole will once again have to try his hand in Buffalo.
2. J.A. Happ
During his first outing of the spring, J.A. Happ was clearly struggling. It's hard to tell whether or not he will indeed bounce back from last year's injury-riddled season, and I don't think the Jays will take a chance on him. It's time for the likes of Marcus Stroman to be given a shot. Happ will be down on the farm to start the season, and he most definitely won't be at all thrilled about it.
1. Kevin Pillar
Last season, Kevin Pillar was given a taste of the big leagues when he was called up to help round out what was a very disappointing season for the Jays' outfield as a whole. Pillar was anything but spectacular in the 36 games he played, and I wouldn't expect anything different at this point in his career. Either Anthony Gose or Moises Sierra is going to win the backup outfielder job and Pillar will most likely find himself putting on a Buffalo Bisons uniform come the beginning of April.