Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays linked to super-utility man Kelly Johnson

aweisdorf
Aug 18, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets third baseman Kelly Johnson (55) is walked by the San Francisco Giants in the seventh inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 18, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets third baseman Kelly Johnson (55) is walked by the San Francisco Giants in the seventh inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /
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Now that we are beyond the “Ides of March” and ever closer to opening day, the stakes are subtly raised, the injury and depth concerns of the front office are bouncing around the echo chamber that is the Jays media.

Specifically, I speak of the latest rumour sprouted by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that the Jays have taken an interest in aging super-utility man Kelly Johnson.

The obvious and simple conclusion here is that the club doesn’t want to get caught with their proverbial pants down in a very real potential scenario whereby we are absent two second basemen – 1 because of a nagging injury, the other due to the risk of being grabbed by another club while trying to pass through waivers.

That’s really just the start of issues that could arise, though. I know we are trying to be optimistic, but really: how far has Steve Pearce’s elbow come along? How is Josh Donaldson’s calf? Will it flare up again? And most recently Jose Bautista’s back has tightened up. Not to mention Dalton Pompey sustaining a concussion.

The spring injury bug has hit hard and rapidly, no doubt furrowing the collective brow of Jays Nation. The front office’s water to this fire is acquisitions of utility types like Pearce and now potentially Johnson. It’s not exciting or flashy but the likes of Johnson might, in fact, be a necessity.

It’s demoralizing to have to consider bringing back former Blue Jays like Brett Lawrie and Kelly Johnson. I mean, this was clearly not the plan. Before all this reality came roaring at us, we had a pretty damn strong team on paper, but the prospect of a patchwork of journeyman filling in key holes for indeterminate amounts of time does not exactly breed faith.

In all likelihood, though these are temporary concerns, but from a Blue Jays front office standpoint, one can see the how and why of these types of rumours. The ‘what ifs’ simply need to be addressed. Contingency planning is just a reality of the game.

Donaldson’s calf should be alright – he’s still hitting moon shots, albeit in minor league camp. Bautista’s back tightness is nothing new, and I don’t think anyone expected him to play 162 games.

Hopefully, Ryan Goins can stay with the big club because at this point, even with an anemic bat, he’s very much needed, especially with the uncertainty of Devon Travis’ recovery.

Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins should be adequate depth from within, rather than having to go out and get a Lawrie or Johnson.

We’ll have to see how it all pans out. Although it might not seem like it, I’m am an eternal optimist. Especially when it comes to my beloved Jays. Heck, I’m hopeful that Justin Smoak will surprise with some consistency at the plate and curtail the K’s. I’m even hopeful that Melvin Upton will do the same.

Beneath the surface, looking at the embattled club, it would be a disservice to the fanbase not to at least acknowledge how precarious things really are, and at least contemplate the true reason names like Lawrie and Johnson have been bandied about.

At the very least with Kelly Johnson though you could have another lefty bat you could sprinkle in the bottom of the Blue Jays line-up, plus the fact he’s well acquainted with the A.L. East.

It’s possible we might not have our ideal lineup on opening day but we can weather the storm with a 25-man roster built from within. Let’s not hit the panic button quite yet and go scurrying for has-beens and never-was’.

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