With Devon Travis possibly being lost for the season, the Blue Jays have a little more than a month to evaluate second base, and their potential to contend.
Here we are in the latter half of June, and we still don’t really know who these Blue Jays are. They’ve had six chances to reach the .500 mark, but have dropped every game with that opportunity, sitting just one game below going into Monday’s series opener with the Texas Rangers.
As the season presses on and we get closer to the July 31st trade deadline, the Blue Jays’ front office will have plenty of decisions to make. They’ll need to decide over the next six weeks if they see this club as a buyer or a seller. With Devon Travis‘ injury likely keeping him out for most/all of the remainder of the season, the team will turn to a combination of Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney at second base, at least for the short term.
Looking at May on the calendar, both players had great months, especially the fan favourite in Ryan Goins. Filling in for the injured Troy Tulowitzki, Goins did his usual thing on defence, entering the highlight reel with regularity, and maintaining or besting the top shelf D that Tulo provides. He was also decent with the bat, cooling off near the end of the month to drag his numbers down a bit.
With that strong play, Goins wasn’t shy about his desire to remain a starter in Toronto, or potentially elsewhere. In an interview with the Toronto Sun on May 30th, Goins expressed the desire to be a full-time starter, while also stating his love for the Blue Jays’ organization. The problem of course is the Jays already have Tulo and Devon Travis entrenched as starters. In the case of the latter, Goins has his latest opportunity.
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With Travis’ latest injury, Goins will get another opportunity to prove his worth as a starter, and it’s likely that he’ll get at least the left-handed platoon half of the at bats at second base. At 29, this will likely be his last chance to prove he should be an everyday player in Toronto, and the audition could come to a close in a little over a month, if it doesn’t go well that is.
The Blue Jays have designs on contending, and with a strong bullpen, dynamic rotation (when healthy), and a talented lineup, they really only have a couple positions that need addressing. Left field has been an open debate amongst Blue Jays fans, but the greater pressing need could be at second, if Goins can’t handle the gig that is.
When we near the end of July there will be a few factors that determine Goins’ future in Toronto.
- Is the team contending? If not, Goins likely gets to start for the remainder of the year, giving himself another audition for the league, and potentially the Blue Jays for 2018 if Devon Travis continues to struggle with the health of his knee.
- Is Goins hitting? We know he’s going to play above-average defence, so it’s really just a matter of if he can hit enough to maintain the starting position.
- Who is available in trade at 2nd base? If Goins isn’t holding up his end of the bargain, the other factor will be what kind of upgrades are available on the trade market. Is there an upgrade to be had? Goins’ play will likely determine the answer to that question as much as anything.
This is nothing new to Blue Jays fans, or Goins for that matter, but the time is now for him to grab a starting job and make it his on a permanent basis. Travis’ injury gave him what appears to be one last shot at proving his worth as a starter, a position he’d love to hold with the organization that drafted him in 2009.
If he performs, the Blue Jays would be happy to spend their resources elsewhere at the trade deadline, but if he struggles, there’s a really good chance we’ll see Goins playing elsewhere in the near future. He’s got just over a month to convince the Blue Jays’ brass that he’s their best option.