Outfielder Jon Jay will be part of the Diamondbacks’ 30-man roster on Opening Day, the team announced. A future transaction will need to take place to officially select Jay’s minor league deal to the active roster, but the 35-year-old will be on pace to play in his 11th Major League season.
As per the terms of the contract Jay signed with Arizona in February, making the MLB roster will guarantee him the prorated portion of a $1.5MM salary. Prior to the league shutdown, Jay was already making a strong case for himself by posting a .947 OPS over 28 Spring Training plate appearances, though Jay’s ability to play all three outfield positions is probably more of a factor than a bat that has been increasingly shaky in regular-season action.
Jay hit .267/.311/.315 over 182 PA with the White Sox last season, though he was slowed by hip problems that eventually required surgery last August. Overall, Jay generated a negative (-0.9) fWAR, thanks in large part to his struggles against right-handed pitching — over his career, the left-handed hitting Jay has been a decent (.286/.348/.389) if unspectacular performer against righties.
Jay and Tim Locastro will be Arizona’s primary backup outfielders behind the starting trio of David Peralta, Starling Marte, and Kole Calhoun. Second-year player Josh Rojas still has a shot at making the team as a utility player, while Ketel Marte may get the occasional start in center field when he isn’t in his primary second base spot. Trayce Thompson is also still an option for the outfield, though he was sent to the Diamondbacks’ minor league camp today.