Blue Jays Internal Options: Second Base
A couple of days ago I wrote a post suggesting a few internal possibilities if the Blue Jays were unable to sign/trade for a more established pitcher. In keeping with that theme I decided to do something similar with the current vacancy at second base.
Lets be honest, the current crop of available second baseman is pretty thin, so it’s not an unreasonable suggestion that the Jays may decide to fill the spot from within. Most of these players are familiar faces that Jays fans have seen in some way shape or form over the past couple of years, so there won’t be a whole lot of surprises here. In no particular order the nominees are:
Of course I had to mention Lawrie here. He is a tremendous athlete, and has spent some time at second over the last couple of years (38 games total). I think he’s more than capable of doing the job if necessary, and having that capability provides Alex Anthopolous with more options as far as off-season acquisitions go. I have reservations about putting him there long-term. Lawrie has said he prefers playing third, and his defensive abilities there make up for the declining range of Jose Reyes. There is, I think, a more important factor to consider, and that is keeping Lawrie on the field. Up to this point in his career he’s averaged only 86 games per year, and that’s playing third base primarily. Having him play second, a more physically demanding position, may result in more missed time. I would prefer it if they keep him where he is.
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The elder statesman of this list. Izturis got off to a pretty good start last year before forgetting how stairs work and ending his season just as it was beginning. Whether he would have kept up the pace he started with in 2014 we’ll never know, but this is a guy on the wrong side of 30 who’s skills in the field and at the plate have diminished over the past couple of seasons. There is an upside though, he doesn’t strike out a lot and he has demonstrated an ability to take a walk in the past (.331 career OBP). Overall I think Izturis is best suited to a bench role. His versatility plays well there and I think he’ll perform better if he’s not subjected to the rigours of playing on turf day in and day out.
Is there a more frustrating player on the Jays right now than Goins? I doubt it. The smoothness of this kid in the field is something to behold. It’s almost Alomar-ian. The problem is that his bat is more Mario Mendoza (for you young kids who don’t know who that is, click the link, I dare you). He’ll be 27 on opening day, and I doubt he’s going to suddenly figure out how to hit. If he could just hit a bit more he’d be the perfect solution. Alas I don’t think it’s meant to be.
He’s getting on in years (turned 31 this month) and he played more games in the majors (109) last season than he did in the rest of his career combined. Don’t get me wrong, I like Tolleson, he provided a lift at the position early in the season and game up with some big hits during the Jays’ run in May. In my mind, like Izturis, his versatility plays better coming off the bench. In 2014 he saw playing time at 2B, 3B, SS, LF, RF and he even pitched a couple of games (0.00 ERA, thank you very much). He is the exact type of guy you want on the bench, he plays a ton of positions and he can get a hit for you occasionally. Although, now that I think about it, a left/right platoon of him and Goins would be…interesting.
I’m pretty sure Travis starts the year in AAA, but in the interest of full disclosure I’m including him. I’ve never seen a prospect with such a wide array of conflicting reports. When the Jays traded for him there was a lot of discussion about what kind of player this kid is. The scouting reports run the gamut. Average fielder, below average fielder, plus bat, swing won’t translate well into the majors. No one seems to be able to agree on what this kid is capable of. On the face of it his stats in the minors seem promising, but we all know that doesn’t mean he’ll be a productive major leaguer. He’s a wild-card for now. Leave him in Buffalo for now and let’s see what happens.
In a perfect world Travis would develop into a solid major league second baseman in a year or two and the Jays only need to pick up a short term solution for this year. Unfortunately the Blue Jays rarely operate in a perfect world. What do you think? Did I miss anybody? Leave a commenbt below.