The December fringe is going to be a real tricky thing for Ross Atkins to figure out this offseason. And it’s not a terrible position to be in because the Jays have a lot of prospect-y depth in their system and that’s a damn good thing.
Atkins: I’m glad that we have a 40-man crunch. I would be surprised if we didn’t have someone Rule 5’d away from us, and that’s a good feeling, to have so much talent. #Bluejays
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) October 2, 2018
However, decisions are going to have to be made before the Rule 5 Draft happens because there is a lot of crunch and not enough room for the crisp. And these decisions aren’t going to be easy because the Jays’ 40-man roster is as full as I am after an all you can eat buffet…womp…womp…crunch…crunch?!?!?!?!?!? Anywho…
So what the hell is the front office gong to do? Well, it’s crystally effing clear that they are going to have to add some soon-to-be-Rule-5 prospects to the roster or trade a couple of them, or else some intriguing future pieces might get selected and scooped up by MLB teams around the league for nothing in return.
And that’s not cool. But, the Jays won’t be able to protect them all – that’s for sure.
There are eight magic beans that need to be protected and only two spots currently open on the roster. And of these large adult sons, all of them have the potential to impact the future Jays somehow…or some other team?
RHP Hector Perez, RHP Patrick Murphy, RHP Jon Harris, RHP Yennsy Diaz, RHP Jordan Romano, RHP Jacob Waguespack, OF Forrest Wall and OF Harold Ramirez are all pretty damn good future somethings with potential. And if any of them are left unprotected, they will be a part of the Rule 5 Draft this year. And someone from this list will be Rule 5’d away.
These prospects aren’t just a group of meh-whatevers either. There’s a lot to like about each one of them. And this shows the level of depth that the Jays’ farm system has outside of, ya know, Vladdy, Biggio, Bichette, Pearson, and Pardinho.
And the truth is, Ross Atkins doesn’t want to lose any of these eight players to another team for absolutely nothing. These eight prospects aren’t a box of old DVDs that you leave on the side of the road and don’t care about. They have some value. They are a part of their prospect hoarding collection. And it’s a pretty damn good collection. And a collection that has pieces that could be used in possible future trade packages and stuff.
Not given away for free.
Atkins doesn’t want to see Hector Perez, who was a part of the package sent to Toronto in that Osuna deal, get picked up because he couldn’t protect him. And the same goes for Patrick Murphy, who the Jays are clearly going to protect, because he was arguably the most impressive pitcher in the Jays’ system this year. Murphy had a great year in Dunedin after finally being able to put together a healthy season and toss his nasty stuff on the ol’ dirt hill.
And let’s not forget about Jon Harris, the Jays’ 29th overall selection in the 2015 draft. He was the compensation pick for losing free agent Melky Cabrera to the White Sox. Thanks, Chicago. And maybe he’s a trade piece now? Or maybe he’s a future Jay? Who really knows?
So I’m going to reach for the lowest hanging fruit on the damn tree and say that Atkins and company would probably like to protect all three of the aforementioned pitchers. But, wouldn’t they also like to protect Yennsy Diaz?
I mean, this 21-year-old flamethrower was lights out in Lansing before being promoted to Dunedin. He went 5-1 in the Midwest League posting a 2.08 ERA, striking out 42 and holding batters to a .125 average – not too damn bad at all. There is a reason why our friend Jesse Goldberg-Strassler gushed about this prospect on more than one occasion this season.
And once Diaz set foot in Dunedin, he continued to have success in the Florida State League where he struck out 83, walked only 28, and gave up only 5 dingers in 99.2 innings pitched. I could highlight other good stats from this young righty, but I think that you get the point that this kid is the good stuff kind of stuff.
So that’s 4 pitchers that the Jays have to protect or trade if they don’t want them to be picked from their pocket in December.
This is going to be a fun storyline to keep our eyes on this Fall.
Two roster spots are currently open.
Perez, Murphy, Harris, and Diaz are prospects that the Jays don’t want to lose for nothing.
And let’s not forget about Jordan Romano and Jacob Waguespack, too.
And there is no way in hell that outfielder Harold Ramirez doesn’t get protected, right? And what about Forrest Wall? Geez…what a position to be in? The Jays have serious depth in their farm system…That sucks, eh!
There is going to be some purging to save the fringe, or some trading of the fringe to avoid being Rule 5’d.
Maybe the Jays are cool with Forrest Wall being picked up in the Rule 5 Draft since he hasn’t really lived up to his hitting expectations, and he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the outfield. Maybe the Jays are fine with Perez getting poached because Ken Giles and David Paulino are the main pieces that came to Toronto in that Houston trade. And maybe Atkins has some minor trades up his November sleeve to sort out this crunch.
Whatever ends up happening, I think that it’s pretty cool that the Jays’ system is so rich with talent that they actually have eight prospects that could end up being Rule 5’d away if they aren’t protected or traded.
It says a lot about how the front office has been rebuilding over the past two seasons even though there are some fans who think otherwise. But, tough decisions are going to have to be made to protect a handful of these players because there is no way that Atkins wants to see any of these talented prospects walk off into the Rule 5 sunset this December. There is no way the Jays are going to just give organizations a bunch of early Festivus gifts – probably just a couple that don’t cut the crunch.
The future is a coffee table puzzle. It has some pieces. It’s missing some. And trades are only a couple tomorrows away. Either way, it’s not a shitty situation for the front office to be in.
So, let’s see what the Cap’n does with this crunch…I couldn’t resist damn it.