DINGERS FROM THE 6IX
by Quinn Sweetzir
Only a few hours remain in the extensive wait for the Jays first real game since October. As a result of the season starting, the Jays released their 25 man roster, a roster which featured several questionable decisions which has sparked massive debate among Jays fans on Twitter. The way some people were arguing could leave you to believe that Melvin Upton Jr. was Jose Bautista, or that Ryan Goins was Robinson Cano. Seriously, there was some extreme arguments from both sides, some of which were stronger than others, however I'm here to set the record straight on some of these decisions and reach a conclusion on why the Jays roster.
In all honesty, the decisions the Jays front office made will end up having a very insignificant impact on the team on the field. At most, the decisions will impact the season by 1 win. But for a team that projects to win somewhere around 87 games, that one win becomes critical, as the projected win total is right around the cut off point of the second wild card spot.
The debate on the inclusion of Ryan Goins vs Melvin Upton Jr. is puzzling, and if we are to reach a conclusion about who is more valuable, we need to look at the facts. So consider the WRC+ of the pair, which will help explain why I supported the inclusion of Upton Jr. over Goins.
That sums it up really. Upton at is worst, is still about as good at hitting as we can really expect Goins to be. This should honestly be reason enough to keep Upton Jr. over Goins, but the front office decided otherwise so we're stuck with Goins until a roster move happens. (By the way, if any Goins supporters wants to suggest that I'm hiding something by ignoring the career highs of Goins and Upton Jr., I would point out to you that Goins' career high WRC+ is 84, and Upton Jr.'s is 137.
Now the biggest argument for keeping Goins over Upton Jr. is their respective defensive skills. If we consider their defensive value last season, Upton Jr. recorded a UZR/150 of 3.7, while Goins managed a UZR/150 around 8 (the exact value is difficult to determine, considering the total variety of positions Goins played last season). What this means is yes, Goins is better than Upton Jr. defensivly. What this actually means is that Goins is going to be about 4 defensive runs better than Upton Jr., a number which fails to make up for the vast difference in the pairs offensie skill.
Although the Goins vs Upton Jr. debate was the far more discussed debate among Blue Jays fans, there is an equally puzzling decision made on the pitching side of things which has confused me to an equal extent. What I am referring to is the decision to DFA Mike Boslinger, and call up Dominic Leone to the majors.
The reason this move is so puzzling, is the fact that both players project to play at a relativly similar level, and yet the Jays elected to DFA Boslinger, effectivly guarenteeing he ends up with another organization instead of keeping the out of options Boslinger in the majors. Before Roberto Osuna was placed on the DL, the fact that Boslinger was out of options already caused me to wonder why the club elected to keep Ryan Tepera over him, however the repeated decision to do the same with Leone is more puzzling and questionable. In essence, Boslinger gets to go to a new organization while the previously sent down Leone gets to make the big league club.
Plus, the decision to DFA Boslinger leaves the Jays without a true long reliever in their bullpen, and although this is not a major concern, it is something to consider.
The best argument for keeping Leone over Boslinger is that Leone might have slightly more long term upside, and although this might be true, the Jays could keep Leone in the minors until someone struggles or gets injured. The Jays could than recall Leone, without losing overall depth to other organizations. Another argument for keeping Leone is that someone needed to be DFA'd to make room for Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the 40 man roster, and the Jays decided Boslinger was the most expendable. However I counter that Boslinger has far more upside than several players on the Jays 40 man, including Ryan Borucki, Darrell Ceciliani, and especially Chris Smith. If you decide that putting on Boslinger is not worth exposing to waivers, while DFAing someone else, than Boslinger should be on the big league roster instead of in the minors.
(This is an aside but I hope Boslinger gets picked up by the Padres or Reds, and pitches 150+ innings as a starting pitcher. He is probably better that whoever those teams have as their 5th starter).
Anyway, the decisions made by the Blue Jays front office can be considered questionable at best, and should have been made with differently in order to help the club long term. The fact that Ryan Goins and Dominic Leone are on the opening day roster, and Melvin Upton Jr. and Mike Boslinger are out or basically out of the organization is a decision which was incorrectly made. The long term impact of this on the Jays may be insignificant, but could end up costing the club dearly in the first few weeks of this season.