Blue Jays Opening Day roster is basically finalized

Mar 22 2023, 5:56 pm

Anybody ready for some Toronto Blue Jays baseball?

Ahead of the team’s season opener next Thursday on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Blue Jays are nearly set for the 2023 regular season.

The team still has 34 players on their roster as we await final cuts from spring training.

But barring anything drastic, it seems we’ve got a pretty good idea of who will be with the big club this season.

There are the big names at the top of the roster, like Vladimir Guerrero and Bo Bichette, as well as some new additions like Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho.

Here’s our projection of what the team’s 26-man roster will look like to kick off the season for Toronto:

Outfielders

  • George Springer, RF
  • Daulton Varsho, LF
  • Kevin Kiermaier, CF

Two-thirds of Toronto’s everyday outfield has been revamped after a series of trades sending out Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Of course, these three aren’t the only players set to feature in the outfield this season. Still, they’ll be mixed in by a series of utility players rotating throughout Toronto’s lineup (see below).

Infielders

  • Bo Bichette, SS
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
  • Santiago Espinal, 2B
  • Matt Chapman, 3B
  • Brandon Belt, DH

Catchers

  • Alejandro Kirk
  • Danny Jansen

There’s not much to say here that isn’t known: Kirk made last year’s American All-Star game and will take the starting job, while Jansen will serve as his backup. After trading away top prospect Gabriel Moreno this offseason, it seems like the Jays have their catching duo in order for this season.

Utility

  • Cavan Biggio
  • Whit Merrifield
  • Otto Lopez

Whit Merrifield, a former All-Star in 2021, might be the most likely “bench” player to actually win a regular spot in Toronto’s starting lineup. It just might not be 100% clear exactly where he’ll play on any given day.

Meanwhile, it’s a pivotal season for Cavan Biggio, who is on a one-year, $2.8 million contract as he looks to crack his way back into the regular starting lineup.

Starting rotation

  • Kevin Gausman
  • Alek Manoah
  • Chris Bassitt
  • José Berríos
  • Yusei Kikuchi

While there’s an Opening Day starter debate over whether the team should go with Alek Manoah or Kevin Gausman, Toronto has a shot of having one of the deepest rotations in the American League. Hyun Jin Ryu is expected to rejoin the team in mid-July following elbow surgery last season, which could add even more competition to Toronto’s starting mix.

Bullpen

  • Jordan Romano
  • Erik Swanson
  • Yimi García
  • Adam Cimber
  • Anthony Bass
  • Tim Mayza
  • Trevor Richards
  • Mitch White

Closer Jordan Romano is the highest-profile name in Toronto’s bullpen, while Erik Swason (acquired as part of the swap for Teoscar Hernandez) is the only new face expected to make up the Jays’ relief staff.

Everyone else:

The Blue Jays have 14 other players on their 40-man roster (as well as a series of non-roster spring training invitees) who could make the Opening Day roster but appear on the outside looking in as of right now. In alphabetical order, the remaining players left on the 40-man roster are as follows:

Pitchers (9): Hagen Danner, Chad Green, Thomas Hatch, Nate Pearson, Zach Pop,  Zach Thompson, Trent Thornton, Yosver Zulueta

Batters (5): Addison Barger, Spencer Horwitz, Leo Jimenez, Orelvis Martinez, Nathan Lukes

The first pitch is set for 4:10 pm ET for next Thursday’s opener. Batter up!

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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