Apr 3, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Emilio Bonifacio (1) throws out the baserunner in the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre. The Indians beat the Blue Jays 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Back Seat Managing

If you’ve been a fan of any baseball team for more than 2 days you can’t help but think of what you would do if you were the manager. It’s almost impossible to watch any game without thinking why didn’t he do this or that.

I’m already feeling that way so I’m going to talk changes I’d make if I were the Toronto Blue Jays manager.

First off Maicer Izturis is my every day 2nd basemen.

The AL East is going to be way to tight this year for the Jays to lose games because of Emilio Bonifacio’s defense. He’s missing routine plays and you just can’t do that. Emilio barely played in the infield last season so the Jays don’t have time for him to learn how to play 2nd base. Izturis is also a better defender so Bonifacio’s not exactly losing the opportunity to play 2nd to just anyone. If the Jays continue to play Boni at 2nd then hopefully he turns his defense around quick. He made some great plays at the position to so it is possible but I personally wouldn’t take a risk that he doesn’t.

I’d have Mark Derosa playing 3rd base until Brett Lawrie comes off the DL.

I’d have either Adam Lind or Emilio Bonifacio DH against right handed starters because they are the best options on the team. Like Bonifacio, Lind would be hitting as low in the lineup as possible.

I’d continue having Davis or Bonifacio as the center fielder against lefties which is what it is right now anyways because of Rasmus struggles against lefties.

The newly acquired Casper Wells would be the DH against lefties because he has a career 264/.349/.489 slash line against lefties in his career in case you thought the Jays claimed him off waivers just for the sake of it. Although there’s always the chance he’s designated for assignment before the Jays can get him an at bat. In every scenario Bonifacio or Davis would be available to pinch run late in games.

Henry Blanco would catch ALL of Dickey’s starts whether Arencibia bat is hot at the time or not.

And I’d get an update on Lawrie’s injury every 2 hours.

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  • gabrielsyme

    I agree with DeRosa playing 3B until Lawrie returns: while his range has looked poor, at least he looks like he understands the position, which is more than I can say of Izturis, and I have more confidence he’ll make the routine plays. He has also looked better at the plate than Izturis.

    Arencibia needs the occasional off-day, and having Blanco catch Dickey makes the most sense in allowing that to happen. If Dickey happens to throw near an off-day, I don’t have a problem with letting Arencibia have another crack at Dickey’s knuckleball – the reports were that he was fine in Spring Training with Dickey, after all.

    Casper Wells has immediately become our best bench bat against LH. Wells should start against every left-handed starter, either at DH or in centre. As a centre fielder, he’s probably our best backup defensive option there. Maybe the numbers are wrong and Bonifacio is better defensively in centre, but I wouldn’t bet on it. It is clear that Rajai Davis is currently our 4th-best defensive CF, and probably shouldn’t be played there normally.

    I’d agree that Rasmus should sit against most southpaws, but as his functional replacement would be one of Davis, DeRosa, Bonifacio or Izturis, I’m happy to let him have some starts against lefties.

    At second base, I think Bonifacio’s defense is likely to improve: it’s been about league-average until this year, and with a regular job I think he could become above-average. Given that his upside is much higher than that of Izturis, I’d keep giving Bonifacio the lion’s share of the starts at 2B for the time being – it’s not as if Izturis is playing so well that he’s forcing anyone’s hand.

    Against right-handers, we should expect Lind to be a better hitter than Izturis, Bonifacio, Arencibia and probably Rasmus. He clearly shouldn’t hit lower than 7th against lefties, and an argument can be made for 5th at the moment. While Lind hasn’t produced as yet, he’s drawn a few walks, hasn’t struck out, and has had reasonable strike-zone judgement. Lind’s current slump is less worrisome than almost every other slump by any other player I’ve ever witnessed.

  • Justin Jay

    I like your DeRosa idea. His bat has been pretty good so far and though his range is limited, he’s a better defensive 3rd baseman. His arm is much better than Boni or Izturis.

    Arencibia was ok with Dickey. Blanco would be better. Right now it’s hard to take JP’s bat out of the line-up when the only other person hitting is Reyes. Honestly, I wouldn’t let Dickey pitch at home games. And if they’re going to make him pitch home games, hopefully it’s a day they can open the roof. Check out the stats for most knuckleball pitchers in domes. It’s not good. I know 2012 disproves my thoughts on this, but for most knuckleball pitchers, the results aren’t good.

    When is the Colby Rasmus experiment going to end? The Cards were down on his bat because he wouldn’t make adjustments. Now he has and looks lost. Sure, there are glimpses and spurts of potential, but he never sustains it. He hasn’t looked like a major league hitting in 3 years. He’s another guy who has blamed Farrell for his problems. It’s one thing to blame Farrell, but he also went at it with Tony LaRussa. Try Gose. How much worse could it be?

    Everytime I go to defend Lind, he makes me look like a jackass. EVERY… TIME! So far it’s no different, but I think patience (I can hear the sighs, believe me I get it) is key with him. Only bat him against righties and consider him at 1B with Encarnacion at 3B. How much worse could that make the defense really?

    Gabriel is right about Wells bat becoming the best LHB off the bench. That should help… but the real problem is the pitching right now. Even with some unearned runs, the team has given up A LOT of earned runs. That needs to be addressed, quick! League worst ERA among starters is currently almost 8 runs per game. The Jays aren’t going anywhere with a stat like that.