Jays set rotation, lineup, for now

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* General manager Alex Anthopoulos, his staff, manager John Gibbons and his coaches almost have the Blue Jays 2015 roster set for opening day Monday at Yankee Stadium. …. 

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Blue Jays Set Position Players, Starters; Still Waiting on Relievers
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays From Away

The “€œfinal roster”€ announcement that the Blue Jays said would come out today didn€™t quite materialize as completely as we might have hoped. The Blue Jays announced the position players and the starters but GM Alex Anthopoulos was hesitant to lock down the bullpen.

Thanks to all of the beat reporters who report everything coming out of Jays’ camp, we have learned that the Blue Jays have made almost all of their final cuts today, sending Josh Thole, Jeff Francis, Dayan Viciedo, Caleb Gindl and Jonathan Diaz to minor league camp. Thole is the only one of these players on the 40-man roster and he can still be optioned.

With Thole going to the minors, the Blue Jays are committing to having Russell Martin catching R.A. Dickey while last night Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt speculated that Dioner Navarro might become Mark Buehrle€™s personal catcher after the two connected extremely well last season.

Ryan Goins is still in limbo, however, as the Blue Jays are contemplating taking an eight-man bullpen north in order to try to keep out-of-options pitchers Liam Hendriks and Todd Redmond. The Blue Jays are hedging their bets with the bullpen because they think that there might be some pitchers available who could shore up the pen without having to go with an eight-man pen.

The starting rotation is setting up to be just the way that things were shaking out towards the end of camp. Drew Hutchison will start Opening Day with Mark Buehrle, Dickey, Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris taking the other four spots.

John Gibbons also confirmed that Steve Tolleson will make the team, presumably thanks to his flexibility (his ability to play both infield and outfield) and his ability to hit left-handed pitching well. Devon Travis is going to be the everyday second baseman.

Word is also coming out that Viciedo has requested and been granted his release by the Blue Jays, becoming a free agent.

And news came down that the Blue Jays released injured infielder Ramon Santiago who would have been paid a retention bonus if he started the season in the minors with the organization. He may be back once he’s healed but this move saves the club about $100,000 (although it’s been debated that releasing a guy who is injured and will have to pay his own medical bills to get healthy is cruel). As things stand now, the roster will look like this:

Starters
Drew Hutchison
R.A. Dickey
Mark Buehrle
Aaron Sanchez
Daniel Norris

Position Players
Russell Martin
Dioner Navarro
Edwin Encarnacion
Justin Smoak
Danny Valencia
Devon Travis
Jose Reyes
Josh Donaldson
Jose Bautista
Dalton Pompey
Kevin Pillar
Steve Tolleson

Bullpen
Brett Cecil
Aaron Loup
Todd Redmond
Miguel Castro
Roberto Osuna
Colt Hynes
Marco Estrada

The two players who are still in camp that are “on the bubble” are Liam Hendriks and Ryan Goins. If the Jays take Hendriks, who is out of options, north, then Goins will be likely optioned to Buffalo. If the Blue Jays manage to find another pitcher and decide on going with seven in the bullpen, Hendriks is likely the odd man out and Goins will make the team. The fluid bullpen situation is also going to influence whether Roberto Osuna makes the team or not. If the Blue Jays acquire another reliever then Osuna would probably be the additional cut and Anthopoulos said that he would actually be assigned to Dunedin and be stretched out to start.

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