With Opening Day less than two weeks away, the Blue Jays have started to make some cuts.
The team sent 15 players down to minor-league camp on Monday. Eight of them are 40-man roster players who were optioned and the other seven are non-roster invitees.
Optioned: Hagen Danner, Bowden Francis, Thomas Hatch, Leo Jimenez, Anthony Kay, Otto Lopez, Gabriel Moreno, Josh Palacios.
Reassigned: Chris Bec, Maximo Castillo, Adrian Hernandez, Casey Lawrence, Orelvis Martinez, Fitz Stadler, Chavez Young.
The headliners here, of course, are Orelvis Martinez and Gabriel Moreno, who currently rank as the organization’s top prospects on most lists.
Martinez was incredibly impressive during Grapefruit play, going 4-for-13 with a pair of dingers, while Moreno hasn’t yet seen any game action because of a visa issue. Since he’s only 20 years old and isn’t on the 40-man, there was never any chance that Martinez would crack the Blue Jays, but since Moreno was added to the roster over the winter ahead of the Rule 5 Draft, there was some thought he could steal a spot.
The Blue Jays will likely roll with three catchers (Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, and Alejandro Kirk), so Moreno will get plenty of time behind the plate for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons off the hop. Martinez’s spring showing was so good that he could start the season with Double-A New Hampshire despite the fact he played most of 2021 with the Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays.
Some other interesting names who were cut are pitchers Thomas Hatch and Anthony Kay. The fact they were sent down would indicate that the Blue Jays plan to stretch them out as starters rather than keeping them around to fight for roles in the team’s bullpen.
The Blue Jays still have a ways to go before they finalize their 28-man roster, as there are 47 players left at big-league camp, including 17 non-roster invitees. Two of those non-roster players are Greg Bird and David Phelps, who seem likely to get contracts and fill the 40-man spots opened up by the Matt Chapman trade.