Blue Jays Trade Deadline: Position Players Still Needed
When Toronto Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos addressed the masses at a press conference on Tuesday, he was doing so to discuss the shocking trade he orchestrated for Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins. Sending Jose Reyes to the Rockies (or anyone) was something that didn’t seem possible. Sending Jeff Hoffman anywhere didn’t seem likely. But, that half of the package along with Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco are now in our rear view mirror. That may sound cold, but baseball is a business. And, AA still has some of it to do.
One of the comments that stood out to me during his semi brief interaction with media was this:
The fact that the Blue Jays are still looking into pitching should come as no surprise. They need it. They might even need two starters. No, what is interesting is the idea of talking to clubs about position players. This might come as a bit of a surprise. Not that it doesn’t make sense, but we’ve become so focused on pitching woes and the potential solutions, that we may have overlooked this issue. But, if you had, Tuesday night’s series opener against the lowly Philadelphia Phillies might have served as a gentle reminder. Two of them, in fact.
Toronto Blue Jays
Devon Travis was removed from the game after his shoulder acted up again. This is the same shoulder that he’d been dealing with on the DL for over a month. Brendan Kennedy of The Star tells us that Travis felt similar pain as when he first hurt his shoulder. No decision has been made as to whether he’ll hit the DL again. Right now, Travis has other plans: “If it’s nothing that can hurt me too bad long term, I have a job to do on this team,” he said. “I have to play through it if that’s what it takes.”
Not enough for you? Jose Bautista also left the game with an apparent injury. Now, he says that it was just a hamstring cramp. But, when he came out of the batter’s box grabbing at his leg, Blue Jays fans feared the worst. A hamstring is nothing to mess around with. Just ask the Boston Red Sox about Dustin Pedroia‘s hamstring. He’s on the DL again because of it. This is not meant to raise alarm bells. If Bautista says it’s just a cramp and that he’ll be fine, we’ll believe him. Players don’t understate injuries just to play, do they?
What all of this actually does is point to what Alex Anthopoulos already knows. He’s talking to other clubs about position players because he knows that if an injury were to occur, this Blue Jays club gets awfully shallow in a hurry. With Travis out of the lineup, who would play second base? Normally, Ryan Goins would slide right in. But he was filling in at short stop while we await the arrival of Tulo. So, then many started to panic. What would happen to the lineup in the event of injuries?
On its bench, this club has Danny Valencia, Chris Colabello, Justin Smoak, Ryan Goins, Ezequiel Carrera and Dioner Navarro. Carrera is really the only one who can play the outfield. Despite that, manager John Gibbons has been using a mixed bag of Carrera, Valencia and Colabello. Heck, even Goins has seen time out there. This in and of itself should point to a lack of depth. And, you see the results when you haven’t got the right depth. The train wreck of defense in leftt field exemplifies the point. Every day, though the Blue Jays are forced to use some combination of these players to fill one position. Every day.
So, then what happens in the event of injury? Most of the above options are really 1B/DH options in a normal situation. Valencia can also play third. Navarro is (and should be limited to catching). We’ve seen Russell Martin play second this year. Which is another example of just how shallow the depth on this team is. When the bench is occupied by filling a position it probably shouldn’t even be playing, then what is left? Gibby is forced to use guys in roles they are not able to fill.
Also from Jays Journal: Don’t Forget LaTroy Hawkins!
If this team is hit with a major injury, or two, they will find themselves in trouble rather quickly. We hold our breath when it looks like an injury happens not just because we’re losing a Jose Bautista. We hold our breath also because of who will be forced to fill in for him. While the Ninja GM scours the earth for a pitching deal that “makes sense” to him, he also needs to find a position player that he can fill in a spot that makes sense. Is there a guy out there who can play acceptable defense in every position? No. Ben Zobrist is off the market. But, that doesn’t mean that the Blue Jays, and their fans, should have to be stuck watching a shallow team try and make a run at the playoffs.
Next: The Benefits of Having Troy Tulowitzki