Blue Jays: Where does Rowdy Tellez begin the 2019 season?
With the Blue Jays having picked up Justin Smoak’s option for 2019 and Kendrys Morales having one year left on his deal, will we see much Rowdy Tellez this year?
One of the better stories for the Blue Jays in September was the play of first baseman, Rowdy Tellez. The kid flat out raked in his first big league experience, and it was a wonderful end to a tough couple of seasons for the talented prospect.
Tellez had formerly been considered one of the top prospects in the Blue Jays’ system, but after a difficult 2017 campaign his star lost some of it’s shine. However, for many Blue Jays fans, we learned that the reason probably had more to do with what was going on off the field than what he was doing on it. With an ailing Mother and a big family responsibility and burden, baseball took a bit of a backseat, even if he was still out there doing his best in the midst of a nightmare at home.
That backstory made it even easier to watch and be elated for Tellez’s success in September. In 70 at bats he slashed .314/.329/.614 with four home runs, 14, RB, and an impressive nine doubles. It was a small sample size to be sure, but Rowdy reminded Blue Jays fans why the scouts believed he had the hitting skills to be a big league first baseman, and a good one at that.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
Much like Teoscar Hernandez and his September performance in 2017, there are many Blue Jays fans that now want to see Tellez on the big league roster in 2019, and understandably so after his strong showing. However, there’s a good chance we’re going to have to wait at least a little while longer before Rowdy will be a regular.
Things can change over the winter of course, but right now the Blue Jays are slated to have Justin Smoak back as their everyday first baseman. He had a very reasonable eight million dollar option for 2019 that was a no-brainer to pick up on the Blue Jays’ end, as they did. There is an argument that Ross Atkins could look to trade one of their best veteran sluggers with the full season left on his current deal, but after the Rays designated C.J. Cron last week, it’s apparent that the market isn’t kind to veteran first basemen and the Blue Jays may be better off to hang on to him anyway.
They also have Kendrys Morales with one year left on his current deal. He got off to an ice cold start in 2018 but eventually turned things around enough to post a pretty decent season overall. He showed enough that the Blue Jays are probably happy to keep his veteran bat around for one more year, especially because of his ability to mentor the young Latin players that will be on the roster in their youth movement. He’s also got a pretty tough contract to trade, so he’s likely got more value staying put as well.
The Blue Jays could choose to keep Tellez around as an additional bench piece, but without any positional flexibility that’s probably a long shot. They also need to find room for their glut of infielders, as well as a pretty decent crop of outfield options too. Finding space on a 40 man roster for Tellez is pretty easy, but a 25 man roster is a different story.
The most likely scenario is he’ll start the season in Triple-A Buffalo again, at least as long as both Smoak and Morales are healthy. Otherwise he’ll likely have to wait for either an injury to take place, or maybe a July trade, which is possible for both veteran hitters that stand ahead of him on the current depth chart.
While the Blue Jays have some youngsters that will push their veterans out of the way (i.e.- Danny Jansen, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.), it’s possible that the 23 year old could benefit from one more year of minor league seasoning anyway, and be ready for a big league call-up when the right situation comes along next year. One way or another though, there’s a good chance we’ll see Rowdy Tellez in 2019. It just probably won’t be on Opening Day.