David Cooper Released By The Blue Jays, Raising Questions

Aug 14, 2012. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that is genuinely surprising (considering the uncertainty of Adam Lind), the Blue Jays have released David Cooper from their club. The 26 year old had a relatively short MLB career with the Blue Jays, appearing in only 72 games and 226 plate appearances over 2 seasons, sporting a .270/.310/.441 slash line, a dismal 4.9 BB%, almost league average wRC+ at 103, with sub-par defense and speed. Not that Lind or Edwin Encarnacion are shining examples of those aspects either, but are at least capable of consistently hitting something other than singles and the rare 9th inning home run. Apparently his lower back injury is far more serious than once thought.

The release of a young player under team control begs the question; what is Alex Anthopoulos planning at first base depth? With David Cooper gone,  it appears that the next in line for 1B depth is newly acquired Lars Anderson. Not a typical power hitter either (the most HR’s he hit in a single year of minor league ball was 14 over 577 PA in 2011), Anderson seems to be your typical replacement player who would look to bounce between AAA and the majors over the years to come, similar to David Cooper’s role with the team. The Blue Jays could also use Luis Jiminez, that huge guy you see getting some AB in Spring Training. He’s relatively unproven in the majors as well, but has has multiple 20+ HR seasons in the minors. However, he is 30 and is definitely not a long term option. Finally, the team could always bring up Canadian outfielder Adam Loewen. A former Orioles starting pitcher before elbow injuries forced him into the outfield, Loewen has some considerable outfield experience, but could always play as a DH/1B/OF option if an injury were to arise, providing more that what David Cooper offered in the past. The Blue Jays’ best option, unfortunately, might be to have Adam Lind stick it out for as long as possible, then addressing the DH issue in the off-season were he not to return to grace.

What’s next for David Cooper? According to a Joel Sherman tweet that was sent just as I was about to post this article, David Cooper might be out rehabing his back for the entirety of 2013, with the Blue Jays potentially resigning him to a minor league contract in 2014 with a potential return to the majors later that season. But with a back injury so severe that it will take most of a year to recover from, the already light-hitting option might not be the Blue Jays’ best first base option for the future.

Topics: David Cooper, Toronto Blue Jays

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  • Kyle Franzoni

    Anderson is an interesting prospect, as he was once rated as high as #17 by Baseball America, but his power never developed and he’s bounced around quite a bit in the last year plus. That said, he has made a decent impression in camp since joining Toronto, so hopefully there is something there.

    • http://jaysjournal.com/author/mcdougles Daniel G.

      I think I’m just tired of our 1B/DH option being so lackluster for the past few years. Edwin Encarnacion moving over to 1B has made half of the option look at least enticing, but right now there’s no guarantee to have a power DH for the Blue Jays, not with Adam Lind living outside of 2009.

      • RyanMueller

        What about having Joey Bats be our full-time 1st baseman next year. I know everyone loves his arm but he is that good a field in RF. This would open the door for Gose and Sierra or any other OF prospect that turns up this summer. Lind will never be able to handle the physical aspect of 1st base and Edwin…well he is Edwin.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          Not a bad idea. Sierra would be a good possibility in that case, with Gose likely tied to Center Field moreso than right.

          • RyanMueller

            Or if Rasmus has a good year than he can slide over to RF Gose can take over in CF and Melky can continue to man LF until the end of 2014. Side note…..haven’t hear if Sierra and Gose have eliminated the hitch they had in their throw. Have you hear anything this spring that indicates whether or not this has been solved??

          • Kyle Franzoni

            I haven’t heard much about it, but Sierra had registered a few assists this spring before departing for the WBC.

          • RyanMueller

            Thanks for the update.

        • http://twitter.com/Offthecuff1 EvilGenius

          Jose doesn’t want to play 3b or 1b, he feels his value is in RF and quite frankly he has earned the right to make that choice. It’s not like he’s a liability out there, he’s still very solid obviously. Sierra is a NL defensive replacement player unless he can figure out how not to strike out 1 of every 2 AB’s. His arm isn’t just good it’s borderline great. He was however doing a hop, 2 step launch to set up his throw, the Jays have been working hard with him to correct this and get ready quicker. With his current set he’s losing all the time he gains by the strength of his arm. Time will tell.

          • RyanMueller

            I think that by next year Jose will be ‘an’ important piece of this team and not ‘the’ important piece of this team. That being said he should play in any position that helps make the team better, that is not to say he will. You are correct he has earned that right. If I remember correctly Gose also had the same hop. Recently asked one of the guys on this site if they had heard if this hitch had been corrected. He was not sure if it had. As for labeling Sierra a NL defensive replacement, well I think that might be slightly premature, lets hope you are wrong.

      • http://twitter.com/Offthecuff1 EvilGenius

        Why do you need a power DH? Give your head a shake, if you have legit 3-4′s + not to mention 3/4 of the lineup has 20hr potential you don’t need a power bat, you need somebody to get on base, whose not a DP machine. The platoon of Lind and Davis is as good as it gets… throw in some bonnie AB’s and it’s better then any DH you’re going to trade for or sign

        • http://jaysjournal.com/author/mcdougles Daniel G.

          Lind has had 4 300+PA seasons with a sub .315 OBP, including the last 3 consecutive seasons. Davis hasn’t had a season like that since he was on the Athletics. Neither player has produced a wRC+ at or above league average (100) since 2009.

          The entire point of a designated hitter is to hit, get on base and produce runs. Neither Lind nor Davis is capable of doing that anymore, unless Lind miraculously turns it around this season. You never want to give up power and OBP, especially at the DH spot, a position given to the power-hitting option that lacks in fielding. A power DH =/= a player that only hits HRs and strikes out a lot.

          • http://twitter.com/Offthecuff1 EvilGenius

            Now, take Lind’s numbers only against RHP and Davis against LHP, you can glance at Iz’s numbers and Bonnie’s as well against LHP and its easy to see why making the best out of a bad situation (being stuck with Lind) isn’t such a bad thing. **for the record I appreciate a stat based argument, they seem to few and far between but it doesn’t need to be that deep when it’s obvious vs’s the alternatives and we’re max payroll anyways its not a bad compromise if Gibby juggles it well. (I also dislike lind nearly as much as cecil and that’s saying something lol)

  • Justin Jay

    Before we go Lind bashing, you do realize Dan that Lind batted over .280 since his re-call from the minors. New Jays hitting coach Chad Mottola really worked on Lind as I’m sure you know, during that time in AAA. Having Mottola as the club’s hitting coach now should only benefit Lind even more. Everybody is also on the same page when it comes to hitting this season. Last season, old hit coach Murphy preached aggressiveness and Farrell was constantly talking about being patient, which was sort of against the farm system, as well as Gaston, philosophy. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Lind rakes this year. Especially with all that line up protection. He’ll see better pitches to hit

  • Justin Jay

    Lind struggled against lefties even in his best season. And while you’re point of Price, Sabathia, and Lester being lefty staff aces is spot on, there is the possibility that Lind doesn’t see any of them all that much during the season if the rotation doesn’t match up with the schedule (being a Blue Jays fan in Rhode Island, trust me… I would get pissed at how often the Red Sox dodged Halladay on the schedule back in 2009.) Even so, that’s still 1 game out of a 3 to 4 game series where Lind doesn’t play.

    I agree with line-up protection being a farce and after I wrote that, I actually kind of regretted using it to make my point.

    I hate WAR. I think it’s a great tool for GMs to make a roster decision, but stat wise, I think it’s awful. Brett Wallace and Mike Jacobs were Lind’s comparable replacements. Vegas is a ballpark where the ball is known to fly, so the numbers are inflated. Both guys thrived there, but where’s Mike Jacobs now? He didn’t make Seattle this season, and would you rather have Wallace over Lind? His WAR last season was -0.3 for the Astros, and for his career is -0.2. He hasn’t been anything close to Lind’s production, even when Lind’s been bad.

    Could they use an upgrade over Lind? Yes. But I’m not sold that he’s done because when he came back up, he did somewhat salvage what was the beginnings of a very bad season. I think he bounces back. Time will tell