WWYDW: Replacing Tulo on the 25-man

We found out earlier this week that Troy Tulowitzki isn’t going to be ready for Opening Day. The Greek Tragedy predictably reached Act Five and it was reported Tulo might be ready for the end of April.

So, uh, yeah. Anyways, this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question is who should replace Tulo on the 25-man roster to start the season?

Currently on the 40-man roster, we have Tulo, who’s going to start the season on the 10-day disabled list and eventually end up on the 60-day disabled list, Aledmys Diaz who’s inevitably going to slide into the starting shortstop role, Yangervis Solarte who can play second and third base and short, Richard Urena, Gift Ngoepe, and Lourdes Gurriel, who can be used as backup shortstops in the wake of Diaz sliding up the depth chart.

So the predictable move, like I said, is to slide up Diaz and then have one of those three guys, Gurriel, Ngoepe, and Urena, also slide up. A little while back, John Gibbons said he was impressed with Ngoepe’s play in spring training and Arden Zwelling said he was a strong candidate to replace Tulowitzki. That was on March 1, though.

For the spring, Ngoepe has three hits in 22 at bats and has nine strikeouts to five walks. His glove has been quite good and, ultimately, that’s more important than his offensive numbers when talking about a backup infielder. Urena, who got a cup of coffee last September with the team, hasn’t been any better with the stick through spring, as he’s gone 3-for-25 with one walks and two strikeouts. Gurriel is 7-for-24 and has been the best of the group offensively, but I doubt the Jays would bring him up just to sit on the bench especially given how much time he missed last season.

Another interesting name to discuss is Jason Leblebijian. No, not just because it’s a cool name that’s hard to say, but because he has the most at bats of any Blue Jay in spring training. He had a pretty good season last year in Triple-A Buffalo and has really been given an extended look this spring. He plays second, third, and short, but isn’t on the 40-man roster. Would the Jays DFA somebody from the 40-man to make room for him when they already have a similar utility player in Ngoepe already available?

I had one guy slide into my mentions the other day and argue with me that it didn’t make sense to have Ngoepe on the roster and instead the Jays should have an eight-man bullpen. That was extremely odd to me because then your only backup for third, second, and short would be Solarte. But the Jays do have a roster crunch when it comes to relievers. A lot of guys, Deck McGuire, Tyler Clippard, Luis Santon, Al Albuquerque, and John Axford, have looked good, but there isn’t room for all of them. Was this guy maybe not out of his mind like I originally assumed?

Or, maybe they should ask the Kansas City Royals if Ryan Goins is available? He’s got a 1.030 OPS in spring!

What would you do?!?

  • Regulator Johnson

    I would be a lot more comfortable with a player who can reliably spell Travis and/or play better SS defense than Diaz when GB pitchers like Stroman pitch. Gift is probably the best choice b/c the team should want the other two to get reps.

  • Steve-O

    Well, I would start by largely discounting the ST stats (for now). Then, decide who offers the most positional flexibility (Solarte, Leblebijian) and who would benefit from getting regular playing time and should therefore be sent to Buffalo for their development’s sake (Gurriel, Urena, Ngoepe).

    So that leaves us with… [processing, processing] .. Diaz at SS, Solarte or Leblebijian on the bench, and Gurriel, Urena, and Ngoepe in Buffalo. Now to break the tie, let’s see who’s had the best Spring between Solarte or Leblebijian and that’s your 25th man on the roster.

    Or, y’know, Gibby just likes Ngoepe and he’s the guy. Who am I to argue with Gibby? #Gibbythebest

    And I’m not worried about reliever depth. Someone on the ATL podcast the other day made the (very good) point that with so many relievers still lingering, unsigned on the FA market, a lot of the guys on minor league contracts might end up chossing to stick around for the sake of being under contract. Makes sense to me!