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.