The Blue Jays’ roster may have gone through a lot of recent changes, but that doesn’t make Charlie Montoyo’s job of managing playing time any easier.
It has to be an interesting feeling as a MLB manager and looking at your lineup card one day before the trade deadline, and then dealing with a drastic change the next.
The vast majority of the overhaul with the Blue Jays this year came with the pitching staff, and it should be an interesting challenge for Charlie Montoyo and his staff to manage for the remainder of the 2019 season. However, I believe he’ll find a more difficult task juggling the playing time of the position players on his roster, especially with a few new tweaks.
The biggest change has been the promotion of Bo Bichette, who has hit .444 (8-18) through his first few games as a big leaguer, collecting a hit in each of his four starts and even adding a home run for good measure. Bichette has to be in the lineup every day even if he’s not playing like this, but that’s not as easy as it sounds as Montoyo juggles the rest of his roster.
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I was surprised that the Blue Jays didn’t end up trading Freddy Galvis, even if they do like him, and he’s on a very cost-effective contract option for next year. However, Galvis is the type player that needs to be in the lineup almost every day, and the 29-year-old’s recent track record includes two seasons when he didn’t miss a single game. He’s not going to take kindly to becoming a regular bench piece, and I really don’t think that’s an option for Montoyo.
The good news is that Galvis can also play second base, but that means that Cavan Biggio would have to move somewhere else. The talented 24-year-old has the ability to play all over the diamond, but it feels like he should be getting regular starts at second base to see if that’s going to be his ultimate fit. Maybe the Blue Jays want him to be more of a utility player as well, but that’s even a tough thing to make work as well. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is going to get regular starts at third base, and I doubt Biggio is going to become the full-time first baseman.
If you try to move him to the outfield that gets complicated as well if everyone is healthy. Right now the Jays’ outfield includes Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in left field, Randal Grichuk moving around, and Teoscar Hernandez playing fair well in centre. My guess is the Blue Jays will want to get a good look at Hernandez for the rest of the season to determine whether they’re comfortable with him up the middle going forward, but I don’t think Gurriel Jr. or Grichuk are going to sit much unless they’re hurt. Admittedly they’re both a little banged up at the moment, but I don’t think either situation is going to last long.
The only outside addition to the lineup would be Derek Fisher, who is capable of playing all three outfield positions. That will be helpful to Montoyo, but he’s still dealing with four players for three spots, and that’s without even considering Billy McKinney.
I’m sure the Blue Jays will make use of the DH spot, as they have with Guerrero Jr. and Bichette over the last couple of games, but it’s going to be a challenge for Montoyo to make sure all of his young players are getting the experience they need, veterans like Galvis, Justin Smoak, and Brandon Drury aren’t left out in the cold completely, and that they can properly evaluate those they need to see such as Hernandez, and even Fisher.
It’s not exactly a bad thing when you have more players that you want in the lineup regularly than you have spots, but it will present a challenge for the Blue Jays’ coaching staff for the rest of the year.