Blue Jays: So much for too much depth in the lineup
Awhile ago the debate was around how the Blue Jays would be able to find enough room for all of their players. Fans should be thankful for the depth now.
If you ask me, the Blue Jays front office did an excellent job of addressing their needs this offseason, and we’ve witnessed it on full display so far in 2018. Whether it was the acquisitions of Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz to cover for Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki, or the new faces added in the outfield, the depth was greatly improved.
A couple weeks ago that depth looked like it had the potential to become a problem for John Gibbons and the Blue Jays. It’s the good kind of “problem” to have, but if everyone had gotten healthy at the same time there would have been some serious decisions to make. As it was, Devon Travis was unexpectedly sent to Triple-A last week, in part because the Blue Jays needed the bodies who were capable at shortstop (Lourdes Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz), and in the outfield.
Fast forward to today, and suddenly that depth is starting to get tested. The outfield picture has changed a great deal as Randal Grichuk is on the DL and is expected to miss at least a few weeks, and Steve Pearce had to leave the first game of Thursday’s double-header as well and looks like he’ll miss some time. He was unavailable earlier in the week after experiencing some tightness in his ribcage, so who knows how long he’ll need in order to get right.
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Pearce was already placed on the disabled list after the first game of the DL, and a move that may have been hurried by the need for pitching. Add in that both Kevin Pillar and Teoscar Hernandez were a little banged up as well and suddenly there’s no issue finding playing time for the healthy bodies.
The Blue Jays called up Dwight Smith Jr. to play in the double-header, and it’s possible that he sticks with the club for a bit with Pearce out. They could also elect to use guys like Anthony Alford or Dalton Pompey from their minor league system, so they’re not in critical trouble here, but the picture has definitely changed. As things stand, I would think that the outfield will be Pillar-Hernandez-Granderson in the short term, with Pearce and or Grichuk forming the other half of the platoon in left field with Granderson when they get healthy.
In the infield, the Blue Jays are fortunate to have gotten Josh Donaldson back, as they had two scary situations come up in the double header as well. First Yangervis Solarte had a horrific slide into third base, but he was ultimately able to shake it off and have a career best day at the plate, bandage and all. Aledmys Diaz jarred his wrist pretty badly in the first game as well, but fortunately for the Blue Jays he was able to shake it off and stay in the game. With Tulowitzki not coming back any time soon and Devon Travis currently in Triple-A trying to find his swing, the Blue Jays can’t really afford to lose either infielder.
Maybe there could be a time later in the season when the Blue Jays will have some tough roster decisions to make, but right now they are more focused on finding guys to bring in than finding enough room for everyone. Things can change in a hurry in baseball, and we’re seeing that first hand with the Blue Jays these days. Thankfully, they should have the depth to survive a few injuries to the lineup.