Jays Move Edwin Encarnacion Back to 3B in Preparation for Brett Lawrie?

Although Gregor Chisholm’s article about Jose Bautista heading back to RF and Edwin Encarnacion getting another shot at 3B doesn’t say so, this move has to be made in preparation for Brett Lawrie‘s arrival at 3B in May or June, doesn’t it? Bautista had said many times before spring training started that he wanted to spend the entire season at one position if possible. So, when Brett Lawrie came into camp and proved he could so easily adjust to playing 3B, the Jays suddenly had options. If they “suffer” through a few months of E5 at 3B, albeit he is now thinner and apparently more adept defensively as a result, they can rest assured that help is on the way if he struggles at the position in the form of Lawrie.

Moving Encarnacion back to a primary DH and backup 1B/3B role once Lawrie is up with the club must be in the cards and it’ll be interesting to see what the Jays do with Juan Rivera and Scott Podsednik at that point. Both will become trade chips that could be sought after by clubs in need.

In all honesty, I actually believe this is the best option for the Jays at this point. Juan Rivera can spell both Travis Snider and Jose Bautista once a week or so to help keep them fresh through the long season, and the guy he replaces can simply DH so the Jays don’t lose the bat in the lineup. Getting Bautista’s gun back into RF makes the Jays better than they would be with Travis Snider there, and Snider in LF instead of Rivera is also an upgrade. So despite the defensive woes the Jays may face with Encarnacion at 3B, the Jays will know that it shouldn’t be for long and that he could prove to be a very useful option as a 1B/3B capable infielder if he proves that he can actually play 3B at a decent level in 2011.

The Jays will have some interesting trade chips on their hands come June. If any of those chips can be spicy hot, expect Alex Anthopoulos to turn them into golden nuggets!

- MG

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Tags: Brett Lawrie Edwin Encarnacion Jose Bautista Juan Rivera

  • Mylegacy

    Basically, I agree.

    What I think they really wanted – after Lawrie showed he just might be a 3rd baseman – was for Rivera to be trade worthy. Clearly his spring time audition as the “Garden Gnome” in RF just didn’t do the trick – though in his defense he showed a good arm on occasion. In addition, EE showed less weight, a bit more range and a new dedication – clearly he wanted the chance to earn another shot at 3rd. He did it.

    Now Bautista is happy, EE is happy (and still basically in his prime – so even if he’s not a great 3rd baseman he just might be trade worthy) and Rivera is what he is – a 5 million dollar sunk cost that will DH for a while.

    What I see happening is at some point this year is that EE will be traded OR Rivera will be cut, Lawrie brought up to play 3rd and Loewen given a shot at DH or at least as the left handed platoon with EE or Rivera being the right.

    • Mat Germain

      I don’t know how I missed it, but you could be entirely right on making EE a trade piece by proving that he can play 3B and 1B defensively. With Oakland and Seattle being power starved, EE would be a credible option for them to trade for. I’m not sure what the returns would be, but it’s an interesting thought.

      With the Garden Gnome name really sticking to Rivera, are we going through the season with a GG and an EE?

      • John Havok

        I just shudder at the thought of E5 throwing to the new E3 in Lind.

        The corner IF defense could be very comedic.

      • JayTeam

        The reason AA managed to sign EE is that he promised EE that he would be an everyday player. How would that promise extend to his new team if he traded him? All indications are that AA is going to great lengths to show that he is a man of his word. I’m positive EE will be a Jay for the balance of the year unless EE asks to leave.

  • George

    I know Lawrie impressed in Spring Training this year, and moved his timetable up to some extent, but I’m pretty sure The Jays will let him prove his worth in AAA for a while. There is a lot more to playing third base than what he showed, and they will want to see him hit at AAA as well. It’s easy to get warm fuzzies in Spring when anybody can hit. The Jays will want him to hit the ball when pitchers are actually trying to get him out.
    If AA7 can’t pull the string on a suitable trade for Rivera, we may not see him as soon as everybody thinks.

  • George

    I’m pretty sure they will want to keep EE and trade Rivera if they want to make room for Lawrie. Last year, recovering from a broken wrist, playing hurt, on the DL and all, he was on a pace to hit 35 homers. This year, 35 homers would more than make up for a few extra miscues at third base. He’s a bargain at $2 mil/year.