After battling injuries for most of his MLB career so far, Devon Travis really can’t afford to be dealing with knee issues this spring.
As the Blue Jays embark on a rebuild this season there are a lot of things to figure out for the GM Ross Atkins and his staff. They’ll be evaluating the play of their youngsters as they progress to the big leagues, but they’ll also be watching the more veteran players too.
One of the players that fits the latter description is Devon Travis, a 28 year old entering his fifth season as a Blue Jay. There have been ups and downs through his brief career so far, and the downs have mostly been due to injury issues. He’s dealt with shoulder problems, and more recently it’s been his troublesome knee, which is apparently causing him some issues at the moment as well according to Sportnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.
The 2018 season was a nice break from injury problem from Travis, as he played the entire season between both the Blue Jays and a short stint in Triple-A Buffalo. His numbers weren’t as good as they had been in the past, but the hope was that now that he’s finally healthy that he could build on that success and get back to the .300 hitter he showed he can be earlier in his career.
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Unfortunately it’s not going that smoothly for him at the moment, and it remains to be seen how troublesome the knee issue may be. The problem is, Travis really can’t afford to deal with this right now, especially as the Blue Jays continue to develop quality middle infield options.
Currently the Jays are likely looking at a middle infield that includes Freddy Galvis, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Brandon Drury and Travis. There are others that are capable of playing at the highest level as well, and several more on the way that will start the season in Triple-A, including the #2 prospect in the system, Bo Bichette.
Already there has been talk of expanding Travis’ role to include playing in left field, which would be an effort to give him another way to get into the lineup. However, the Blue Jays also have a plethora of outfield options as well, and Travis would need to show that he’s capable on defence, and would have to hit well enough to justify sitting down another option.
In my mind, it was very important for Travis to have a solid spring and a great start to the year if he’s going to fit into the Blue Jays long term plans. We haven’t heard a lot to that end so far, however, the writing is subtly on the wall that the Blue Jays may not have roster room before long.
Right now that quest is put on hold, at least for the time being, but hopefully we’ll get to see the best of the second baseman sooner than later because he really can’t afford to be on the shelf right now.