Chris Colabello Decision Looms for Blue Jays Brain Trust

by Danny Gallagher | Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2016
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Chris Colabello

Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have had close to three months to think about what to do with Chris Colabello. A long time.

By now, the Blue Jays’ executives have probably made their decision on what they will do with their suspended first baseman once he is re-instated from the restricted list.

They won’t announce their decision until on or about July 23, which is when Colabello is eligible to return from his suspension. What the Jays will do is all conjecture at this point.

Does the team want to have anything to do with someone who took drugs into his body? Colabello tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance dehydrochlormethyltestostorone.

Here’s what the Jays could do when they are permitted to contribute their own brand of team punishment. They could activate him from the restricted list and designate him for assignment just like the Rockies did with Jose Reyes, who was charged with spousal abuse.

On the other hand, the Jays could activate Colabello from the suspended list and then option him to Buffalo where he is scheduled to report July 18 to resume the second phase of his rehab assignment which began July 13 in Dunedin, Fla.

Designating him for assignment or demoting him to the minors send Colabello a lesson. The Jays can send him to the minors because he has one minor-league option left and it means he will likely not be eligible for Super 2 salary arbitration next season.

Colabello didn’t lose any service time during his suspension so I bet the team will do its best to make sure he doesn’t qualify for arbitration. The Jays will keep him in Buffalo long enough that his service time will not qualify for arbitration.

Colabello lost almost $228,000 out of this year’s salary of a little more than $521,000. This is a large amount off his pay cheque because he has little seniority.

John Rumball, one of my Twitter followers and an opposing player in my playing days in Sudbury, asked me, “Wonder if he can make it all the way back to the big show?’’

I answered Rumball by saying it would be interesting to see how the situation all plays out. It could be that Colabello’s future will be with another organization, if not this season, then next season.

As Atkins told reporters during a conference call Saturday, Colabello’s return to the Jays’ major-league roster is complicated by the fact that he isn’t eligible for post-season action. Atkins also talked about Colabello’s long time away from real competition. So many factors to consider.

Of course, the signing of first baseman Justin Smoak to a two-year extension Saturday is another roadblock to Colabello’s return because Smoak, as a switch-hitter, can bat right just like Colabello. Edwin Encarnacion can also play first.

My thought is that Colabello will be optioned to Buffalo and may possibly be a September call-up. Colabello was faring poorly at the plate at 2-for-29 when he suspended so that it is another excuse that he will be optioned to Buffalo.

Colabello was popular with his Jays’ teammates and was a good-feel story because he played independent ball for so long but that may not enter into the thinking of Shapiro and Atkins. Whether he knowingly or unknowingly took a PES, Colabello’s credibility has taken a big hit with management.

By sending Colabello to Buffalo tomorrow, the Jays give the Toronto media corps a chance to drive or fly the short distance and dissect the player from head to toe about his drug use, his loss of $228,000 and what he has done since April 22.

So many questions.

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Danny Gallagher
About the Author

Danny Gallagher played adult sandlot baseball in various cities across Canada for 27 consecutive seasons. He has covered MLB since 1988, writing three books on the Montreal Expos along the way. Follow Danny on Twitter @dannogallagher7.







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