Since the Blue Jays expended a big ole load of prospect capital to swing last off seasons big trades it leaves the team with much less flexibility both in terms of prospects, and available money to fix the myriad of issues that the club has to deal with. However like Jedi powers and Dorothy’s ability to go home, sometimes what you need is inside you all along!
And that is where my radical positional adjustment plan comes into play. I examined the parts that the Blue Jays currently have available to them and looked at a way to fill the most holes with those parts. I’ll break down each move individually so if something seems to not make any sense just wait till you’ve read all the suggestions because there will likely be another move that makes it acceptable.
1. Lawrie to the Keystone.
My first and likely most controversial decision is to move Brett Lawrie to second base. Offensively if Lawrie continues performing as he has since returning from the disabled list he would be the best upgrade the Jays could get at second unless Robinson Cano gets persuaded to accept several trucks full of Rogers’ money, which likely isn’t even available to be given to him. If you’re one of the people that just picked up your Ryan Goins jersey I’m sure you feel that the Jays don’t need to fill a hole at second base, however this is incorrect. The Blue Jay’s fan base propensity to pitch a tent over defensive wizard types who can’t hit but try hard needs to end and we shouldn’t be so willing to accept the status quo at any position.
Defensively the way Lawrie plays at third he would clearly have the athleticism to be a plus defender at second base as well, and while there would be somewhat of a drop off at third base defensively I think when all the dust has settled it would work out that any defense lost at third would even out in better offense around the diamond and great defense at second.
2. The Return of E5
While there are still many cringe worthy memories of Edwin Encarnacion‘s defense at third base in all of our minds, Encarnacion is not the same player he was in those days. With his spot in the lineup secure Encarnacion is mentally able to take on third base at this point in his career. He acquitted himself quite well at the position in brief appearances this season and has a bat that would definitely play at the position. While clearly he wouldn’t provide the elite defense that we’ve become accustomed to from Lawrie, Encarnacion would be more than adequate to fill the position.
3. Bautista to Corner Infield/DH Rotation
Jose Bautista‘s time in the Blue Jays outfield should come to an end in my opinion. Nothing against his performance in the field I just feel that with the players the Jays have in the organization and the way Bautista’s last few seasons have gone the team might be able to get more out of him in a different position.I think first base and or designated hitter would be the best place to park Bautista. Over the last three years Bautista has often been sidelined by neck, wrist, and ankle injuries, and then of course the hip injury that brought his 2013 season to a premature end. If it’s possible to put Bautista in a position that is less physically demanding it may help the Jays keep his bat in the lineup more. Although he has the plus throwing arm the Jays tools happy front office has provided the system with lots of strong armed youngsters available to man right field, and anything that will keep Bautista from having to make plays like this one should be looked into. If Encarnacion couldn’t cut it at third base we also know Bautista could play there but that would mostly negate moving him to avoid wear and tear. With Adam Lind, EE and Bautista in a rotation between DH and the corner infield spots the Jays would be able to keep all three fresh.
4. Keeping Adam Lind as DH/1B
Adam Lind not only deserves to stick around but is a very good option for the Jays. A little while back Drew Fairservice at Getting Blanked did an excellent job pointing out the merits of Adam Lind. Truth is Lind is one of the best choices available at DH. Currently in Fangraph’s DH leaderboards Lind sits fifth, ahead of him, is fellow Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion, Red Sox Slugger David Ortiz, and then two players who really shouldn’t be counted as DHs the Indians’ Carlos Santana and the Twins’ Joe Mauer. So for the Jays to find any sort of upgrade at DH would seem highly unlikely especially when you consider the buyout money the team would need to pay to Lind. And although Lind’s new beard isn’t exactly in Mike Napoli or Jayson Werth territory yet it definitely should be a factor in assessing where Lind can fit on a club that is sorely lacking in beard power.
5. Melky Returns to the Outfield
Unfortunately for all you Melky Cabrera haters out there I am proposing he returns to the Jay’s outfield not to be confused with the musical geniuses of the same name. With Cabrera having the tumor removed from his back he should be expected to have somewhat of a bounce back 2014. While he likely wont reach the heights of his PED fueled 2012 he should be at least a viable option for the team. The tumor Cabrera suffered from had a direct impact on not only his mobility but as well sapped power from his legs. Now that we know Melky’s steep decline this season wasn’t due to being on turf I think we can expect a solid season out of Cabrera. In the beginning of the season he was one the teams few consistent contributors at the plate, and defensively this is a player who is only two seasons removed from patrolling center field at the spacious Kauffman Stadium, so he should do just fine in a corner spot for Toronto.
6. Sierra and Gose Platoon
On their current development path Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose are both flawed players. However they both have their own upside. In a perfect world the team could put Gose in the outfield have Sierra take the at bats and then Gose replace him on the base paths, but obviously that is not possible, however the two of them splitting time in right field would be an adequate solution for now. Both have strong throwing arms which will play well in the position, and their left right splits would play well for a platoon situation. Sierra has an 1.146 OPS against lefties this year, and although that number reeks of small sample size last season he put up a respectable .815 so he can still get the job done. Having Sierra to start against tough lefties would help Anthony Gose‘s offensive deficiencies not be exposed quite so much. They also are the perfect compliments for each other in late game situations. If Gose is in the game and the opponents bring in a lefty specialist Sierra can come in to pinch hit. And on the flip side, Gose would be an excellent pinch runner and or defensive replacement for Sierra in a late game situation in a close game.
So that concludes my six steps the Jays should take to adjust their roster. With this shuffling of the roster the Jays would have an infield of Bautista, Lawrie, Jose Reyes and Encarnacion ,and an outfield of Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, and Sierra/Davis with Lind at DH leaving only the suck hole of production that J.P. Arencibia provides behind the plate to be dealt with…. oh yeah and the pitching.