DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays claim the years of keeping players on their roster because they are out of contract options have come to an end.
Toronto has been notorious in the past for allowing players to head north with the club when they cannot be optioned to the Minor Leagues. It happened two years ago with lefties David Purcey and Jo-Jo Reyes, and to a much lesser extent, Luis Perez in 2012.
The options supposedly won't be an issue this time around, as manager John Gibbons and general manager Alex Anthopoulos will pick the best possible squad to begin the season.
"It's an important year for us, so we're going to go with the best team," Gibbons said Tuesday afternoon.
That's the official stance from the club, but it remains to be seen whether that will end up being the case. Esmil Rogers, who is out of options, already has been guaranteed a spot on the club, while fellow relievers Jeremy Jeffress and Brett Cecil are in the running for the final two spots.
Both players would have to pass through waivers before being optioned, and it's hard to imagine a scenario where Toronto would part ways with Cecil that easily. A more likely scenario would see him making the club over second-year hurler Aaron Loup, who was one of the Blue Jays' most valuable relievers in 2012.
The same could apply to Jeffress if he performs well this spring. Jeffress will receive competition from right-hander Brad Lincoln, who is a candidate to begin the season in the starting rotation for Triple-A Buffalo.
Morrow gets call for Grapefruit League opener
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Manager John Gibbons unveiled his tentative pitching schedule on Tuesday afternoon for the start of the Grapefruit League season.
Brandon Morrow will open the Grapefruit League season on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV against the Tigers. The following day, the Blue Jays will play a pair of split-squad games, with lefty Mark Buehrle getting the call at home against the Orioles while J.A. Happ will go on the road to face the Yankees. Both games are at 1:05 ET, and Toronto's game vs. New York will air on MLB.TV.
That's as far as the Blue Jays have planned so far. Toronto needs to appropriately schedule No. 1 starter R.A. Dickey so his starts line up on schedule with an upcoming appearance at the World Baseball Classic.
Dickey might get the call on Monday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. against a split-squad Red Sox club, but if not, the start will go to right-hander Josh Johnson. That decision is expected to be made in the very near future.
Quantrill joins Blue Jays as consultant
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays brought another member of their alumni back into the fold on Tuesday afternoon by hiring Paul Quantrill as a consultant.
Quantrill appeared in parts of 14 seasons at the big league level -- including six with the Blue Jays -- while recording a 3.83 ERA. He led the league in appearances on three separate occasions and was one of the most durable pitchers of his era.
The former reliever also has a wealth of experience working with the Baseball Canada program. He was a coach with the 2009 World Baseball Classic Team and also the '08, '09 and '10 junior national team.
Quantrill joins Cito Gaston and George Bell as consultants with the Blue Jays' organization, while Roberto Alomar serves as a special assistant to the team. Quantrill, Bell and Alomar all played for the Blue Jays, while Gaston has managed more games than anyone else in the club's history.