Who’s On 2nd Anyways?
March 16, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Maicer Izturis (3) and second baseman Emilio Bonifacio (1) against the Baltimore Orioles at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Have you come down to the Roger Centre recently and noticed that #12 banner hanging next to the multiple Championship Banners?
Have you then gone on to watch the team play and wish that we still had that Hall Of Fame player at second base for us?
It seems like it’s an every year occurrence that the Blue Jays run a team out and the opponents attacks the middle infield because they know it’s the weakest defensive position.
Lets quickly review the best Blue Jays 2nd basemen over the past 20 years;
The Best (HOF Player)
- Roberto Alomar, 5 Seasons (Games 703, BA .307, SB 206, RBI 342)
One Year Wonder
- Aaron Hill had that 1 season(2009) (RBI 108, OPS .829, HR 36)
Our Most League Average
- Orlando Hudson 4 Seasons (Games 462, BA. 270, RBI 201, OPS .752)
Keep in mind a few things;
- That these numbers do not indicate anything about their defense. while Alomar was one of the best fielders to ever play, these other two players mentioned were very solid for the Team.
- When we had Alomar on the team we were Wold Series contenders.
- Aaron hill played multiple years with the team but could not maintain that magic swing from 2009.
While some teams find success without HOF or top-tier 2nd basemen; there is a true connection between winning teams and a strong middle infield.
It’s the moment the team needs a big hit or turn a challenging double play, that this teams 2B always seem to come up short. The truth is that it is these crucial plays that get overlooked teams lose close games.
The 2013 Blue Jays have had major problems at 2B. So far the batting stats combining Emilio Bonifacia, Mark Deroza and Maicer Izturis while playing 2B is;
This sort of production can not continue if this team wants to contend.
Therefore, lets look at some future options starting with what the Blue Jays have in their system;
#12 prospect Christian Lopes (20 years old)
"“The Blue Jays went over-slot to sign Lopes out of the Southern California high school ranks after a so-so senior season. He didn’t make his pro debut until 2012, heading to the Appalachian League after working in extended Spring Training, and then moved up to Class A short-season Vancouver in August. When he’s locked in, he’s an offensive-minded middle infielder with good bat speed and power, especially for his position. He has good hands and feet in the infield, but as he’s slowed a bit with physical maturity, some have thought he’d be more of a second baseman than a shortstop. He’s played a bit of both at the start of his professional career.”"
The team can also look in free agency after the season;
Best player available: Robinson Cano
- Sorry Blue Jays fans but he will price himself out of what the team can spend. Probable destinations are back with the NY Yankees, or with the L.A Dodgers
More realistic possibilities
- Chase Utley (Age and injuries should lower his price tag)
- Kelly Johnson (Upgrade in the field and a slight improvement at the plate)
Trades are also a possibility but also too hard to predict who is available and at what cost.
It’s important that the team improves up the middle and the best way to do it may be to bring in some experience like Chase Utley or resign former Blue Jay Kelly Johnson to bridge the gap until Christian Lopes is ready for the big time. This Bridge technique will still be an improvement as this team 2b needs an upgrade both at the plate and in the field.