Left off the September call-up list, it looked like maybe Dalton Pompey’s days in Toronto were numbered, and yet he remains on the 40 man roster.
While there is still work to be done for Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays before Opening Day, there have been quite a few changes to the 40 man roster so far.
They’ve added a few spare parts like Matt Shoemaker, Clayton Richard, Eric Sogard, and Trent Thornton, and have already moved on from several veterans as well. Aledmys Diaz was traded to Houston, Yangervis Solarte was non-tendered and released, and the Blue Jays decided that they’d rather pay Troy Tulowitzki 38 million to try and continue his career in another uniform.
As Atkins and Mark Shapiro begin the rebuild they’ve been waiting to execute for a while now, the Blue Jays have quietly gathered a pretty talented collection of players. I don’t mean to suggest that they’ll be contenders in 2019 by any means, but this team should be better than a lot of people expect, and could have a short rebuild if everything goes according to plan.
As a result, space on the 40 man roster is starting to become pretty important, and that’s one of the big reasons the Blue Jays were willing to eat the remainder of Tulowitzki’s salary in order to open up a spot that they’ve had to keep open for the perpetually injured veteran. As they’ve added and subjected from the roster this winter, some of the decisions have been pretty easy to see coming, like the non-tendering of Solarte for example. On the flip side, some of the things I expected to happen, haven’t, at least not yet. Near the top of that list for me is that I expected the Blue Jays to have done something with Dalton Pompey by now, and yet he remains on the 40 man roster as of this writing.
The talented Canadian outfielder has had a rocky road the last couple of seasons, battling health issues that have kept him from realizing his full potential. He’s still just 26 years old, and while the shine of his prospect status has worn off quite a bit, there’s still reason to believe he could be a useful outfielder. That said, it just didn’t seem like that was going to happen in Toronto, especially because he wasn’t given a promotion for September when the rosters expanded.
I expected that the Blue Jays would be shopping him this winter, and it’s entirely possible they have done just that but haven’t found a deal that makes sense just yet. It’s also possible that Atkins wants to hang on to his outfield depth until some other situations play out, like a potential trade of Kevin Pillar, which has been rumoured at times this winter. In that scenario maybe Pompey would be given a chance to compete for the centre field job in Spring Training, but otherwise it seems like a long shot that he’ll get to factor into the outfield plans. One would assume that at least Pillar, Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, Billy McKinney, and maybe others like Dwight Smith Jr. Anthony Alford, or Jonathan Davis.
It’s clear the front office still values Pompey, otherwise they would have designated him for assignment when they acquired Clayton Richard a few days ago. Instead they chose to remove a potential bullpen piece in Oliver Drake from the 40 man roster. There will be some tough decisions that have to be made before Opening Day, but so far the Blue Jays value Pompey enough to keep him protected on the roster, and hopefully still in the back of their minds.
For what it’s worth, I’m a big fan of the Mississauga native, and I’d love nothing more than to see him force his way into the new generation of Blue Jays. It might be a few years later than many of us thought it would be, but I’m still rooting for Pompey to find a starting gig in the big leagues, and hoping that it could still happen in Toronto. If not, it looks like the Atkins still believe he has enough value to hang on to, at least for now.