Sep 20, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Anthony Gose (43) doubles to deep center during the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Anthony Gose - Ghost In The Outfield

If there was a silver lining to the Blue Jays suffering so many injuries and then falling out of contention, it was the ability to see some of the prospects that we have been hearing so much about over the last few years. Players like Aaron Loup and Adeiny Hechavarria made enough of an impression on the Blue Jays and their fan base that both have made a decent case for being with the big league club to start 2013, especially Loup.

However, one player that saw significant action in 2012 that did not take advantage was Anthony Gose.

Gose generated a lot of hype at the time of his promotion, as Blue Jays fans were excited to see what the fleet-footed outfielder could do in Toronto. Gose had a solid campaign in 2011 at Double-A New Hampshire, hitting .256 with 16 home runs, 59 RBI, 70 stolen bases, and a .763 at 20-years-old. He followed that up with a decent start to the season at Triple-A Las Vegas. While a .286 average and .785 OPS can be taken with a grain of salt in Vegas or the PCL for that matter, Gose has shown that he could put back-to-back seasons together in the high minors.

So when Gose got his promotion on July 17th, fans has understandably gotten fairly familiar with what to expect from him.

However, Gose failed to get his feet off the ground much during his first trip to the majors. From July 17th through August 23rd, Gose compiled just a .499 OPS, with only 15 hits in 92 plate appearances and striking out 36 times during the process, something that was a red-flag in the minors as well. Toronto sent him back down to Las Vegas for a two-week buffer before the rosters expanded on September 1st.

The demotion seemed to help out a bit, as Gose was a significantly better player during his second turn. In 97 plate appearances from September 4th through the end of the season, Gose put together a .740 OPS with and limited his strike-out to just 23. He also showed greater patience at the plate, walking 11 times as compared to just 6 in his first stint. Still not great, but a definite improvement.

Ideally, the Blue Jays will find themselves a solid contributor in left field in 2013. However, the bigger need for the team is starting pitching, with one or two decent players needed to plug into the rotation. That may leave Toronto looking at internal options to fill the void in left field.

Toronto could pick-up the $3 million option on Rajai Davis if they feel inclined, but that move only makes sense if they intend to use him as the starter. That would enable the Blue Jays to start Gose at Triple-A Buffalo in 2013, a place where Gose can work on making more contact (and perhaps bunting for base hits) and Toronto can get a better gauge on what kind of hitter he will be. If they do not, the money could be better utilized toward the aforementioned pitching needs.

If the Blue Jays opt to keep Gose in Toronto in 2013, they may look to find a platoon partner for him. Moises Sierra is an internal option there as well, but despite his better power potential, his plate discipline leaves something to be desired as well. Still, if the Blue Jays cast Rajai Davis to the wolves, Gose will fill the speed void left by Davis.

It is a decision the Blue Jays will need to make before the onset of free agency, as this is a team that needs to move quickly to fill its many voids. They no longer have the ability to sit back and play silent audience as the rest of the league strips the market of valuable pieces.

That starts with knowing what they’ve already got in hand and how much that is worth, particularly in regards to Anthony Gose.

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  • Anonymous GM

    I believe that 3 million option for Rajai is going to be picked up, with the idea that he will be the 4th outfielder. He is a good late inning base runner and can play all three spots in the OF. Also he would have some value on the trade market. Gose probably needs another year in the minors but his defence might be good enough to make him the default opening day left fielder if AA can’t upgrade this offseason.

  • EvilGenius

    This article is awful as is most of what AnonymousGM is saying:
    First 3mil for Rajai is a “steal” heck Ben Fransisco was getting 2mil, why he wasn’t moved at the trade deadline is probably more because of his value to the Jays as much as lack of a good offer. Lets be honest, he can’t play any outfield positions let alone all 3 as Anon suggests. (-def value) in anything more then a pinch but there in lies his value. Top teams have good bench players and as is this Jays team lacks speed on the paths. (& a solid bench) No matter who they get to play LF (OF) next season somebody is going to get hurt, somebody is going to need rest and McCoy isnt the answer. Davis at 3mil provides a ton of versatility even if in short spurts. The reason the article is bad is because the Jays need to make no decision on Gose and Sierra absolutely doesnt belong in the ML right now either. Love AA or question him, there is just no way they break camp with D’Arnaud either with the team or mid season away, Hech and either of those OF kids. 1.5 out of the 4 maybe but 3/4 no way!! 1 year LF flyers are too easy to find. I’m not ranting because “Im right, I’m right” rather because this is common sense and I expect more from JJ then this!

    • Kyle Franzoni

      I don’t know, I kind of like the option of Hech breaking camp with the team and possibly pushing Escobar to second.

      The problem with Davis is that he’s dreadful in the field and he’s spurty at best offensively. The speed is great to have, but if he can’t get on base consistently, you aren’t gaining anything either.

      I agree he’s worth more than Francisco, easily, and that’s not to say Gose is the answer either. The point of the article was simply to articulate that the Blue Jays need to seriously consider what they have in Gose and then use that to help determine where they go in LF for 2013.

      • EvilGenius

        Fair enough
        Its pretty doubtful even draped in his magic cloak and shallow Rogers change purse (man bag?) AA will be able to address the SS / SB issue. Theres nothing out there and Scutaro leaving the Giants for the Jays is as unlikely as trading for Andrus so Hech breaking Camp / Esco 2b is fair and realistic (though underwhelming) KJ wasn’t the reason the Jays season was what it is but add Aaron Hill’s numbers or April KJ numbers and its going to make a big difference. Taking the sum of KJs numbers, transferring them to Hech, it leaves a lot on the table. Where are those numbers going to be made up? To come full circle, any combination of Gose/Sierra/Davis isn’t going to cut it, not with Cooper as DH/1B or dare I say Lind?!

        Now traded, breaks camp or waiting in the wings, D’Arnaud, say what you want about JP he’s growing/adjusting on the job, Travis would be getting his feet wet. All of these reasons and a rotation that at best includes Sanches (is he really worth 12-14per? no) Happ and 1 isn’t going to get the WC. Gose needs another year and Sierra needs a team that can let him slug 20hrs and strike out 200x.

        The answer to all of this is Hamilton (or Pappi whose bff w Jose) I know saying that is just like screaming for Prince last year like the rest of the delusional sportsnet fans but he’ll only get 5-6years. I know he doesnt want to come here but Rogers has enough money, he’d play LW for the Leafs if they wanted lol hope Rasmus does better and move him next off season, add Gose, save 5mil+3 on davis call it a day. Their pick is protected (got lucky) the fanbase is restless and losing momentum, they have to chase players who would otherwise cost a pick (type A under old system)

        • Anonymous GM

          Where to begin…

          First, IF Hech makes the big league club it will be as their starting 2nd baseman, they are not going to move Yunel over to 2nd. Only way Hech is their starting SS is if Yunel gets traded. Also Hamilton coming to the Jays is hilarious, might as pencil in Grienke as the opening day starter as well. Rogers will not be spending big money this year, maybe a Scutaro signing but even that is doubtful, he is going to have a lot of teams trying to sign him. AA can’t make a big signing, he has zero track record of convincing guys to play in TO (ex. Carlos Beltran last off-season) and Rogers is too cheap to make a big splash. Only chance of the Blue Jays getting better is through trade. I can see Yunel getting traded at 50 cents on the dollar, and some prospects but other then that I wouldn’t hold my breath. Anyone still believing the things that AA is telling the fans deserves to be disappointed when they open next season with pretty much the same roster as this year.