Mar 9, 2014; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Jose Bautista (19) stretches his back during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros in a spring training exhibition game at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Should Jose Bautista DH More for Toronto Blue Jays in 2014?

Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Much of the Blue Jays success in 2014 will hinge on the ability of players to stay healthy, which is something that Jose Bautista has struggled to do the past couple seasons. This team possesses the potential of being top five in many offensive categories and will rely heavily on contributes of our most recognized star, Jose Bautista. When healthy, Jose Bautista is one of the most feared power hitters in the game. Unfortunately, he hasn’t finished the last two seasons healthy, finishing 2012 with a wrist injury and 2013 with a hip contusion.

At 33 year of age, Jose Bautista’s skills will eventually start to decline. I believe the first skills affected by father time are durability and speed, speed in the outfield and speed up the first base line. To protect our most prized possession, the face of our franchise, and the engine that will drive our offense, Jose Bautista should be DHing more in 2014. I am not suggesting Jose should a full-time DH in 2014, more like 1-2 games a week or every 10 days, or whenever he appears banged up or tired. Jose played 9 games at DH over the last 2 seasons with 7 occurring in 2013, and that number should increase to 20 to 30 games. Bautista doesn’t think that he has suddenly become injury prone, but the hip injury that ended Bautista’s 2013 season was a result of repetitive impact plays which is concerning.

Having Bautista DH more would allow him to stay fresher, avoid potential injuries in the outfield, and start the transition to our everyday DH. Jose is signed through 2015, with an option for 2016. He is set to earn $28 million over the next two year and would make an additional $14 million if his option is picked up. Jose Bautista will be 35 years old at the end of 2016. Sure there are guys like Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano, and Torii Hunter that are over 35 year of age and continue to put up good numbers. I am not so sure that we should take a chance with a guy who led the major leagues in homeruns two years in a row.

There is a little wrinkle in my little suggestion….which is, what happens with Lind and Encarnacion when Jose is at DH and who fills the void in RF?

If Jose were to play 20-30 games at DH as I have suggested, than that mean Lind and EE would either have to play 1st base of have the day off. If both those guys are able to produce at 2013 level, that is not a situation I relish. On the other hand, a day off for Lind’s back and EE’s wrist is not a bad thing. As for who would play RF while Jose is enjoying a relaxing day at DH, that one has been made much easier by Melky Cabrera returning to health. A healthy Melky Cabrera opens up endless possibilities; with the simplest being a Moises Sierra playing RF or LF and having Cabrera shifting over to RF. John Gibbons even suggested that Cabrera may see time in CF this summer. EE and Lind could see some time in LF since both have played there in the past, but I am not too sure how much I would like to see this.

I know that Jose Bautista has an accurate cannon for a arm in RF, but I feel that this team would be better serviced with Bautista in LF. His best fielding attribute is his arm but he is barely average in the instincts, hands, first step, and speed attributes. These barely average attributes are the ones that will decline as Bautista continues to age, so a move out of RF or the outfield is inevitable. This will become more of an issue if Sierra’s bat continues to improve and force its way into the lineup.

What are your thoughts on getting Jose Bautista more rest through DH at bats?

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Tags: Jose Bautista Toronto Blue Jays

  • cjhowardo

    A lot of “if’s”, but I agree we need him top shape for us to have a chance. Bats leads by example though, and when guys see an all star laying his body on the line it lifts the whole team. Giving him some extra days rest could help him heal up, but that’s not going to stop him from throwing his body around to make a big play, the other 4-5 days a week.

    • RyanMueller

      Bautista is a guy that plays hard and like Lawrie, I wouldn’t want to take that away from him. I am sure that Jose wants nothing to do with the DH role and would fight it….just like a move to 3rd, but I hope that he would be able to see the benefits of DH every so often.
      Thanks for the comment

  • brad

    In principle, this isn’t a bad idea. The extra rest for his legs would definitely help him. At the same time though, he’s one of the better right fielders in the league so any substantial DH time would hurt the team defense. I like it as an interesting way to get Sierra involved. If you have a tough lefty starter, throwing Bautista at DH and Sierra in RF could both get Lind off the field against lefties and give Sierra opportunity in the OF… all while giving Bautista a little rest

    • RyanMueller

      Hey Brad,
      I am not sure that Jose can be considered ‘one of the better right fielders’. Like I said he his best weapon is his accurate cannon but he is average in all other aspects of fielding….but he is still better that me so I can’t be too hard on him. I agree that we need to get Sierra into more games to see what we have in him.
      Thanks for the comment

      • brad

        I dunno about average in all other aspects. Some of the jumps he was getting last year were Rasmus-esque. Regardless though, I was talking in terms of his entire defensive value. Fangraphs had him 6th among RFs in UZR/150 last year and 21st among all outfielders. I think Sierra is a big wild card on this team though. If he can give Nava like production the Jays will be a much better club

        • RyanMueller

          Don’t get me wrong I am not calling Bautista a bad rf. I agree moises has a chance to make a really impression on this team in2014. I hope he does.

  • SM

    I’d rather everyone play DH more often as long as they don’t go on the DL or day-to-day because they never seem to come back once placed on those lists.

    • RyanMueller

      That’s funny. It does seem that way.