A week ago in his Wilner’s 25 piece for Sportsnet, wherein he takes a weekly stab at predicting what the Jays’ 25 man roster will look like on Opening Day, Mike Wilner had Bo Schultz — the crown prince of the Turkey’s Nest! — as sneaking in to grab the seventh spot in the Jays’ bullpen, ahead of Mike Bolsinger and Mat Latos.
There was certainly logic to that notion. Wilner says he figured that Schultz’s arm was too good to lose on waivers (he’s out of options, so would need to go through waivers to be sent to the minors, and his fastball averaged just above 96 in the 16 innings he pitched for the Jays last season), and noted that Mat Latos has said that he’d accept an assignment to Buffalo, if it came to it.
Yeah, well, about that…
If the Schultz injury isn’t too bad this wouldn’t be so awful. As with injured Rule Five pick Glenn Sparkman, the Jays could stand to benefit from having Schultz start the year on the DL. It will make it easier for them to hold on to an extra bullpen piece, and once Schultz is healthy they’ll be able to send him on a rehab assignment. This gives the club some measure of control as to when they bring him back or try to sneak him through waivers, and therefore a better chance of keeping a nice arm in the organization.
Of course, as fans I’m not sure how much we should ever cheer for stuff like that. We probably shouldn’t be cheering for it at all, frankly. I’d wager it’s tough enough as it is being a player short on big league service time without a clear spot on the roster, and the rules about optioning players are in place precisely so that teams can’t keep a player in limbo forever. Every time we use the phrase “sneak through waivers” what we really mean is “avoid giving him the opportunity to be selected by a club that would actually use him in the big leagues.” Y’know?
Aaaand there’s also this:
So, that’s not good. Get well soon, Bo. Go down one of those giant styrofoam cup margaritas for me.
Thing is, this all does manage to give a little clarity to the club’s last-man-in-the-bullpen situation.
Bolsinger has looked strong when he’s been given the ball this spring, and for whatever little spring stats are worth, he’s manged to pick up 14 strikeouts in 11.2 innings. Also, though he’s issued six walks this spring, only one of those has come in his last 7.2. Ryan Tepera certainly ought to be in the mix here, too, and today’s news benefits him. But he can still be optioned, and with there really only being one spot left for a right-hander — Shi Davidi, in writing about Tepera’s chances after Saturday’s game, called five relievers locks to go north with the club (Osuna, Biagini, Grilli, Joe Smith, and J.P. Howell), with one of the other two spots certainly due to go to a lefty (likely Aaron Loup) — it seems that Bolsinger will probably end up getting the spot, and that Tepera ends up in Buffalo, at least to start the season.
As for Latos, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. He’d be an intriguing arm to keep in Buffalo, and would have a real shot of contributing here at some point down the line, but perhaps he and his agent will find a place that will get him to the big leagues faster and, understandably, opt for that.
Works for me. Now let’s just get through these last few insufferable Spring Training games without anymore injuries, OK???