FINAL ROSTER DECISIONS MADE
The Toronto Blue Jays made their final few decisions and the result caused a ripple effect on their minor league system. The Blue Jays decided to send down to the Chiefs pitchers Geremi Gonzalez and Brian Tallet, catcher Sal Fasano and designate pitcher Francisco Rosario for assignment.
The Chiefs roster currently looks like this with still a few decisions to be made:
STARTING ROTATION: Four kids and a veteran. Dustin McGowan, Josh Banks, Ty Taubenheim and Ismael Ramirez made 60 AAA-starts in 2006. They all should be improved in their second season. Gonzalez a veteran will anchor the staff with Jamie Vermilyea and Jason Scobie also available for long relief or spot staring.
BULLPEN: Tallet is the lone lefty and will be used in situational roles, while newcomer Blaine Neal assumes the closer role. Set-up men include former Red Wing Beau Kemp, who helped Rochester to the I.L. Governors Cup Finals, Matt Roney who recorded an ERA under 3.00 with Sacramento last season, Ryan Houston who pitched exceptional from April-June last year before a terrible month of July balooned his ERA and newcomer Brain Wolfe, who was acquired in the Corey Koskie trade last season and bounced around from A-Dunedin and AA-New Hampshire in 2006. Wolfe could be the sleeper in this group.
CATCHING: Veteran Sal Fasano backs up big league catching prospect Curtis Thigpen. A major improvement over last seasons defensively challenged duo of Mike Mahoney and Jason Phillips.
INFIELDERS: Kevin Barker returns for his third season at 1B, Russ Adams returns to Syracuse this time to play second base, Slick fielding Ray Olmedo takes over at shortstop while John Hattig returns for his third season at 3B. Ryan Roberts will man the utility role and is very good at all three positions 2B, SS and 3B. The Chiefs should be very much improved up the middle with Olmedo and Adams, both have played in the major leagues, while Barker is very good around the bag at first. Hattig’s range is average at best, but should make up for it with his bat (.277 with 30 doubles last season). Roberts had a great spring and will see plenty of action.
OUTFIELDERS: Three spots with five quality players. Jeff Duncan will see most of the action in center field and can play defence. His speed on the turf at home should make him a .300 hitter. Super prospect Adam Lind will play left field while veterans Mike Vento (AAA All-Star at Columbus two years ago) and Chiefs Fan Favorite Chad Mottola share time in rightfield. 2005 MVP John-Ford Griffin is healthy and will get most of the DH at bats.
The Chiefs still need to drop one pitcher and will add Francisco Rosario and Brandon League at some point in early April with more changes yet to be made.