Blue Jays should explore right-field options for remainder of season
The Toronto Blue Jays should consider moving on from Jose Bautista for the remainder of the season in order for the Jays to explore potential reight-field options for next season.
This will undoubtedly be the last month of Jose Bautista‘s tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays as the brain trust prepare for a younger, more athletic option to man the position next season. Bautista and the Blue Jays have a mutual option for 2018, however, the Jays will almost certainly walk away from their end of the option forcing Bautista back to free agency.
The Blue Jays have a trio of outfielders waiting in the wings to be handed the opportunity to carry the torch after the departure of Bautista. The newly acquired Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford, and Dwight Smith Jr. could all be viable options to win the right field position out of spring training.
Knowing of the pending Bautista departure the Blue Jays should utilize this time in September to audition the future crop of outfielders especially seeing how Bautista has struggled offensively and his defence has declined of late. The 36-year is batting .204 on the season and an uninspiring .165 in the last month as it appears Father Time has finally caught up to the aging outfielder.
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Hernandez was part of the first group of September call-ups and has looked impressive in his first stint north of the border. Both Alford and Smith Jr. made their respective debuts earlier in the season with the big club, however, Alford’s was cut short due to a hamate injury.
Hernandez slashed .265/.351/.490 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases between Fresno and Buffalo this season. While in 76 games this season Alford slashed .299/.392/.405 with 5 home runs and 19 stolen bases however his season was derailed due to the injury he suffered when with the Jays. Smith Jr. is probably the long shot of the three but he did hit an impressive .370 in 12 games with the Jays in 2017. On the farm with the herd, Smith hit .271/.349/.389 with 8 home runs and 8 stolen bases.
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There obviously is loyalty to Bautista as he is the longest tenured player on the team, but when does manager John Gibbons finally tell his veteran outfielder to take a seat on the bench so the audition process for next season can begin?
At the end of the day, this is a business and Bautista is no longer in the team’s plans moving forward so why not get a look at his replacement in game situations now.