The Blue Jays have released outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. and designated right-hander Mike Bolsinger for assignment, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (Twitter link). The team has also placed closer Roberto Osuna on the 10-day disabled list. Meanwhile, infielder Ryan Goins, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and righties Ryan Tepera and Dominic Leone have earned roster spots.
The fact that Toronto has moved on from Upton is no surprise, as ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Saturday that he wouldn’t crack the club’s 25-man roster. The Blue Jays had been working to trade Upton, whom they acquired in a deal with the Padres last summer, but weren’t able to find a taker, leading to his release. This is certainly a fall from grace for the 32-year-old Upton, who looked like a good bet to serve as a platoon left fielder with Ezequiel Carrera at the outset of camp. But a rough spring training and, more importantly, a .196/.261/.318 showing in 165 PAs with the Blue Jays led the club to bail on him.
Upton will make $16.45MM this season, the final year of the $75.5MM deal he signed with the Braves in 2012, but the Padres are on the hook for most of that. San Diego ate all but $5MM of the remaining $22MM left on Upton’s contract when it traded him. Upton was a useful player as a member of the Padres, with whom he slashed .257/.313/.435 with 21 home runs and 29 steals in 602 PAs and earned positive marks in the field (nine Defensive Runs Saved, 2.9 Ultimate Zone Rating). Not far removed from that production, he could catch on elsewhere as a low-cost option for an outfielder-needy team.
The 29-year-old Bolsinger came to the Blue Jays from the Dodgers last summer in a one-for-one swap involving righty Jesse Chavez. Bolsinger didn’t reach the majors with Toronto, instead throwing 25 1/3 innings with Triple-A Buffalo. He amassed 189 1/3 innings with the Diamondbacks and Dodgers from 2014-16, almost exclusively from the rotation (37 appearances, 36 starts), and posted a 4.61 ERA, 8.13 K/9, 3.38 BB/9 and a 50 percent ground-ball rate.
Osuna, whose DL placement is retroactive to Saturday, is on the shelf thanks to a cervical spasm. The star reliever’s loss, even if it’s brief, should be a notable one for a Toronto club that’s lacking in high-end bullpen weapons. Osuna has been just that during his career, having pitched to a 2.63 ERA and registered 9.84 K/9 and 1.88 BB/9 in 143 2/3 frames over the previous two seasons. The 22-year-old has also combined for 56 saves, 36 of which came last season. Either Jason Grilli, who has plenty of ninth-inning experience, or Joe Biagini will take over the ninth inning in Osuna’s absence, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network.