Blue Jays – Ernie Clement has earned a spot on the Opening Day roster

Photo credit:© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Shushkewich
1 month ago
One of the biggest storylines this spring from the Toronto Blue Jays camp has been the numerous position players competing for the limited spots on the Opening Day roster. Given the current roster breakdown, there appears to be just one opening on the bench up for grabs but numerous players fighting for that spot, including top prospect Orelvis Martinez, Addison Barger, Nathan Lukes, Spencer Horwitz, and non-roster invitees Daniel Vogelbach, Eduardo Escobar, and the newest signee, Joey Votto.
Infielder Ernie Clement is also on the cusp of a roster spot, one of the more veteran players in the Jays camp compared to some of the other internal options.
So far this spring, the right-handed batter has been continuously putting the ball in play, owning a .381 average with one home run (off Orioles starter Corbin Burnes) and four RBIs to the tune of a 1.028 OPS. Through eight games, he has eight hits, one walk, and zero strikeouts, which is the highest at-bat total without a K to his name on the Jays squad this spring (Daulton Varsho is next, with just one strikeout through 19 at-bats).

Ernie Clement should be on the Opening Day roster for the Toronto Blue Jays

This impressive run at the plate is nothing new for Clement since joining the Blue Jays last offseason, as the former Guardians and A’s prospect put forward a .380/.385/.500 slash line while going 19 for 50 with one double, one triple, and one home run to the tune of 10 RBIs at the big league level. He struck out just four times compared to his one walk, whether in a starting role when Matt Chapman and Bo Bichette dealt with their respective injuries or off the bench in a pinch-hitting situation. It’s a small sample size but Clement was productive when called upon, as the New York product rode the options bus for Toronto multiple times last season while filling in across the infield.
Fast forward to today and Clement is fighting for a roster spot on a Blue Jays roster that has limited spots available but a wide cast of players that are vying for the same role. Clement is in a different situation compared to his counterparts, as the 27-year-old is out of MiLB options and either needs to break camp with the Blue Jays or be DFA’d off the 40-man, and it is doubtful he will pass through waivers given his hot start to the year. That could play into his favour come Opening Day but the Jays front office may need to make some tough decisions when it comes to who will be driving down the road to Tampa to begin the new season.
Given the current roster outlook, should nobody get traded or any surprise options arise, there is likely one bench spot up for grabs. If this goes to Clement, then the Blue Jays would be without a left-handed bat off the bench, whether that is Vogelbach, Votto, Barger, Lukes, or Horwitz, which seems like an issue for a right-handed heavy lineup that the Jays currently employ. Should the club wish to keep Clement and one of the left-handed batters on the active roster, another roster move would be needed to accommodate bringing both on the roster.
This would likely require either one of Santiago Espinal, Davis Schneider, or Cavan Biggio to start the year in the minors, as all three players have options available compared to Clement, Vogelbach, and Votto (who instead either have opt-out clauses or are in camp on MiLB deals). To make room for a LHB and Clement, one player has to be removed from the roster, whether that is via trade or option. There is no guarantee on what the club will do until closer to the end of Spring Training and one can weigh the pros and cons for an article in its own right, but one thing is for sure, Ernie Clement should be on the Opening Day roster one way or another.
Whether that is another player beginning the year in triple-A or the Jays deciding to not bring a left-handed bat on the bench, Clement has been on a hot streak at the plate so far this spring and if the Blue Jays are planning to bring the best players to Tampa to start the year, #28 should be with them.

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