That nucleus of course being Jose Bautista.
The Blue Jays just announced Wednesday’s starting line-up against the Chicago White Sox, and once again Bautista will be on the bench for the start of the game.
Tonight’s @bluejays lineup:Davis-RFCabrera-LFArencibia-CEncarnacion-1bLawrie-3bRasmus-CFDeRosa-DHIzturis-2bKawasaki-SSHapp-P
— Blue Jays-Official(@BlueJays) April 17, 2013
This will mark the sixth game that Bautista has missed this season, having previously missed the 3-game Red Sox series with an ankle injury, and now the first three games of a four-game set with Chicago with back spasms. Oh, and mixed in there somewhere is a fever and an ear infection.
As if the loss of Reyes were not enough, the lack of Bautista’s bat in the line-up (and production from Edwin Encarnacion) has forced the likes of J.P. Arencibia and Colby Rasmus to carry the brunt of the run production to this point. Now while I am happy to see the pair stepping up and feigning productivity, there is not a part of me that that does not worry about the inevitable wheels falling off at least one of them for a prolonged period of time.
That said, the loss of Bautista’s bat in this line-up is more meaningful than is the loss of Reyes. While not ideal, the Blue Jays could find a working lead-off man to make the loss of Reyes easier. They do not, however, have another big bat to throw in the middle of the line-up to replace Bautista’s. And miscasting Arencibia as a number three hitter is not going to get the job done.
Could a big trade being coming down the line, as Jeff Blair at the Globe and Mail discusses? Probably not, unless we start talking about the infield shift of Bautista to third and Lawrie to second as a real alternative, which would bring Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez into play. But the costs of adding either player, at least in terms of farm depth, would likely be prohibitive for Toronto.
So instead, we will likely just sit and wait, clinging to the hopes of the winter to pull us through the hiccups of health that Toronto is presently trying to overcome. And who knows, maybe that will mean a return to health for the team’s stars and a prolonged run by those left to carry the torch.
Some good karma has to even all this out at some point, right?