Blue Jays Positional Off-Season Overview Part 2: Left Field
Jun 26, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
So you see from part one that it is, at this point, pretty cut and dried that Colby Rasmus will be patrolling centre field when the 2014 season opens under the dome in Tampa Bay. who will be flanking him remains an underlying intriguing story that has many factors to consider: who is tradeable, who is a lame duck but most importantly who gives the team the best chance to win? I guess it depends on if you want to look from within or elsewhere. Who will be in left along side good ol’ Colby?
This guy is a complete wild card. I don’t know if you remember watching Melky “running” down balls in the outfield but it was obvious he was not right. Now that the benign tumour has been removed from his spine (which was the source of the nerve pains he was experiencing) he should be ready to go for spring training. His numbers were ok but he was nowhere near the same player he was before he got suspended for PEDs in 2012 playing for the San Francisco Giants. So who exactly is Melky Cabrera? I am guessing somewhere in the middle of the stud hitter he was in San Fran and the pitiful mess he was in 2013. He definitely tried and showed flashes of his capabilities but with one year left he may be the left fielder by default. It all depends on how he looks in spring training.
This may be a better fit than trying to push Colby out of centre. If Cabrera isn’t healthy then Gose seems to be next in line. He does have the capabilities but you know things did not work out in the off-season if Gose is starting in left. He held his own during his time with the team at the end of the season but if they want to truly be the contenders the Blue Jays are claiming to be, he is not the answer….yet. He would be a defensive upgrade over pretty much anyone else the Jays have but is it enough to counteract the suspect bat?
When he has been in the outfield mix he has more than held his own…offensively. He has proven, in these eyes anyway, that he is a capable major league hitter. His major drawback seems to be a lack of definitive outfield position due to the fact he is a pretty bad fielder in left and right. On a team looking to be a contender I would put Sierra in a DH position and/or fourth outfielder. Work with him on his defense but keep him for the extra base power he possesses.
No I haven’t gone mad. Going into the 2013 season we all wondered whether Lind had the offensive capabilities to contribute or if his Silver Slugger award was just a one-year wonder. One of the best managerial moves that John Gibbons did during the season was easing Lind back into the line-up by batting him only against right handers. Once in a while he was made to face lefties and once he proved he could handle them he was given a starters job platooning with Edwin Encarnacion. So how does this put Lind in the left field mix? Well if Cabrera proves he can still hit but his legs are still giving him issues he should become our DH to keep his productive bat in the line-up. Since EE has entrenched himself at first this would leave Lind without a position. He has played left field before but that just shows how good he was since the team decided to hide his defensive liabilities at first. It is a long shot but stranger things have happened.
This will turn out to be a very interesting battle that will be settled if Cabrera proves his health. We renew Lind to keep a platoon going with Cabrera until he is 100% and perhaps use Sierra as trade bait with another outfielder I have in mind. Look for Alex Anthopoulos to look all over hell’s half-acre to find a better player than all four mentioned above. In an ideal world it would be the status quo as it was. Melky has no trade value and his contract isn’t a killer. Look for him to spend a chunk of the season on the DL and for Gose to step up and lay down his claim for the spot.