Blue Jays left-field job: Michael Saunders’ to lose?


The Blue Jays left-field battle will be one to watch entering spring training, and Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi says that it could be Michael Saunders‘ to lose

Michael Saunders versus Dalton Pompey. Day by day, and game by game, this will be one of the Blue Jays most prominent storylines over the next month and a half.

Speaking with Hazel Mae yesterday on Sportsnet, Blue Jays insider Shi Davidi suggested that the veteran Canadian has the initial edge over his younger countryman. 

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“At this point, it really seems like it’s Michael Saunders’ job to lose,” Davidi said.

The most important takeaway from this is the continued suggestion that Pompey, should he not beat out Saunders for the major league job, could still begin the year back with triple-A Buffalo to continue his development. That represents an entire conversation of its own, one that we’ll don a helmet and dive in to in the coming days.

Pompey’s 2015 was a mixed bag. After an unsuccessful stint with the big club to begin the season, he stumbled in Buffalo before dominating at the double-A level and quickly returning to the Bisons. Now 23, how much development does Pompey have remaining that cannot be accomplished at the major league level? And how would a potentially limited bench role impact that?

Furthermore, the Blue Jays options for a fourth outfielder need to be considered, as that will play a heavy hand in whether the club truly takes the “best” 25 players north. Names like Junior Lake and Ezequiel Carrera will be given every opportunity, so in a way, their success could work directly against the roster chances of Pompey.

As with any one-on-one roster competition, I come back to the same question: Who would win the job in a dead tie?

Keeping in mind that Pompey is still four years younger than Kevin Pillar, perhaps the organization tilts in a direction where they would prefer Saunders to win the job and focus on fine-tuning Pompey to man the “outfield of the future” with Pillar and top prospect Anthony Alford.

The deeper you look, the more variables emerge.

More blue jays: A look at the Blue Jays second-tier middle infield depth

So as spring training begins to unfold, it will be just as critical to watch the fifth and sixth names in the outfield picture. If Saunders can perform to his potential and another candidate emerges to keep the primary backup job stable, Pompey may have his launch date pushed back once again.

— Have your say below: Who wins this starting job if Saunders and Pompey run a dead heat?