Blue Jays bullpen still taking shape as regular season looms

GM Anthopoulos remains open to adding arms through trade or signing

Blue Jays bullpen still taking shape as regular season looms

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays finalized most of their plans for the 25-man roster Tuesday morning but the club has yet to make a final decision on its bullpen.

One reason behind the delay is that general manager Alex Anthopoulos is still exploring possibilities outside his organization. The Blue Jays remain open to the idea of adding another reliever either through a trade or signing.

Anthopoulos cautioned that he doesn't expect anything that would be considered a major move, but if another piece is added then it could have repercussions for the entire bullpen.

"You get to the last week of camp, guys are getting their releases ... and guys that are out of options are becoming available," Anthopoulos said. "There's a scenario that we add someone.

"Not that I'm trying to foreshadow or predict that we're going to make a move, but we're going to have some discussions and you don't want to pull guys [into the office] and say, 'You're on the team,' and then two days later tell them, 'Look, we just acquired someone.'"

The Blue Jays also would like to add another starter into the mix, but that's likely someone who would factor as a depth option at Triple-A Buffalo. As usual, Anthopoulos declined to get into specifics, but Jhoulys Chacin and Paul Maholm are examples of two starters who became available earlier this week.

Toronto also is technically still deciding whether to carry seven or eight relievers on its 25-man roster. It appears the organization is strongly leaning towards starting the year with eight, which would result in infielder Ryan Goins beginning the year at Triple-A Buffalo after Steve Tolleson was informed Tuesday that he made the team.

Left-hander Brett Cecil will be the closer while left-hander Aaron Loup and Marco Estrada also have guaranteed jobs. It's believed prospect Miguel Castro also has a spot locked down, while the remainder of the bullpen likely would be comprised of rookie Roberto Osuna, left-hander Colt Hynes plus long-relievers Todd Redmond and Liam Hendriks.

Even if the Blue Jays begin the year with eight relievers, it's a scenario that likely won't last for a long period of time. There has been a long-standing belief in the organization that it's easier to get a player through waivers once the regular season begins and other teams have finalized their rosters.

Redmond and Hendriks are two pitchers without options remaining on their contracts. They cannot be sent to the Minors without first clearing waivers.

"We'd much prefer to have a seven-man bullpen, no doubt about it," Anthopoulos said. "We may go with eight for a certain amount of time and then adjust, but ideally we'd have a seven-man bullpen. I think at some point we will get to seven; it could be Opening Day, it could be a week into the season, it could be a month into the season. We don't know yet."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.