Should Blue Jays consider Dalton Pompey? Notes on Cecil, Morales

Mar 9, 2016; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Dalton Pompey (23) works out prior to the game at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2016; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Dalton Pompey (23) works out prior to the game at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Dalton Pompey is currently hitting .280 with the Blue Jays triple-A affiliate in Buffalo

With the recent diagnosis of Jose Bautista‘s turf toe, the Blue Jays may be without their star outfielder for several weeks (he’ll be reassessed after a “couple” weeks in a walking boot).

So far, the breakout season of Ezequiel Carrera has fit just fine in right field. The 29-year-old is hitting .314 with a .386 on-base percentage, and even providing real value defensively.

The recalling of Darrell Ceciliani to act as the Blue Jays fourth outfielder was not a knock on Dalton Pompey, who owns the highest MLB-ready ceiling among Toronto’s available options. While Ceciliani has followed a huge spring with .217 triple-A average coming off an injury, Pompey, who is due to come off the seven-day disabled list (concussion) by the end of this weekend, has turned up the heat lately and is hitting .280. Moreover, he’s excellent in the field.

So this clearly isn’t a performance issue, it’s a matter or organizational philosophy where the club would prefer to see Pompey stay at triple-A and taking everyday at-bats.

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If Carrera were to regress – which his career statistics and .367 BABIP suggest he might do – would there be enough “everyday at-bats” remaining before Bautista’s return to convince management to recall Pompey? This depends largely on the nature of Bautista’s injury, and turf toe is notoriously difficult to predict.

With both Bautista and Michael Saunders set to become free agents at the end of the season, committing to a full-year developmental season with Pompey does have merit. Again, it’s not a knock on his game. In fact, it could be a compliment, with the organization showing their belief that he can step in full-time next season if needed.

For now, though, Pompey needs to continue doing exactly what he’s been doing when he is activated from the DL. If Carrera stumbles and Bautista’s injury stretches on, then he’s likely to enter the conversation, but those things are out of Pompey’s hands (and things the Blue Jays aren’t necessarily rooting for). He’s holding up his end of the bargain lately, and should be ready if called upon.

A pair of lefties on the road back to Toronto

Some good news courtesy of the Dunedin Blue Jays’ box score last night, as both Brett Cecil and Franklin Morales worked a clean inning of relief. Morales walked one and struck out one while Cecil fanned a pair.

Despite churning through several options, including Aaron Loup, Chad Girodo, and Pat Venditte, the Blue Jays have yet to settle on a left-handed option since Cecil (and Morales) landed on the disabled list. Cecil is a shoo-in once he’s healthy, and given his guaranteed major league contract, Morales will be given every opportunity to land back in the Toronto bullpen.

Morales was a nice find for the Blue Jays just prior to opening day after he was released from the Milwaukee Brewers. Last year with the Kansas City Royals, Morales held left-handers to a line of .192 / .245 / .313 (.558 OPS). Having a truly dominant left-on-left option to pair with Cecil is very valuable as it frees up Cecil to be used in a more flexible manner by manager John Gibbons.

Next: Bautista diagnosed with turf toe. What's that?

If both are able to return soon, however, it could create a small logjam in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. With Roberto Osuna, Drew Storen, and Jason Grilli towards the back end, then Gavin Floyd, Jesse Chavez, and Joe Biagini rounding out three more spots, the Blue Jays could be looking at a good problem.