Blue Jays: Anthony Alford will play a lot, and Montoyo’s excited

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22: Anthony Alford #30 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 22, 2019 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 8-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22: Anthony Alford #30 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 22, 2019 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 8-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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According to Charlie Montoyo, Anthony Alford will play a lot this spring and the Blue Jays’ skipper is excited about his season ahead.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t think that Anthony Alford would still be a Blue Jay by the time that spring camp opened up for the Blue Jays. It’s not that I don’t believe in him, or that I think the Blue Jays have written him off, it’s just that that he’s in a tough outfield battle, and he’s also out of minor league options.

Despite those complicating factors, Alford is in camp with the Blue Jays and looking to win a big league job before Opening Day. He’ll more than likely be competing for a back-up outfielder’s job, but for Alford the first goal has to be remaining on the roster. As mentioned above, his being out of minor league options means that he’ll need to be on the 26-man roster on Opening Day or the Blue Jays will have to expose him to waivers, where he would more than likely get snapped up.

It’s essentially the last go-around for Alford to prove himself as part of the future in Toronto, and fortunately his skipper is excited to give him every opportunity to show what he’s made of. According to yesterday’s article from Keegan Matheson of MLB.com, Montoyo has his eye on Alford in particular. When asked which player he’s most excited about seeing, Alford was the first name to come to mind for the 2nd-year bench boss.

"“I’m looking forward to seeing Anthony Alford. He’s going to play a lot, let’s see what he’s got. He had a good offseason working on his hitting.”"

He could have went with a safe answer like Hyun-Jin Ryu, or other new additions like Tanner Roark, or Shun Yamaguchi. Instead, Montoyo picked one of the guys who is on the fringe of making the team. In some ways, perhaps it’s a subtle challenge for Alford, hoping to see the long-discussed potential from the 25-year-old that has yet to come to fruition.

The Blue Jays have already publicly discussed their plans to move Randal Grichuk to centre field on a more permanent basis, but I don’t know that we should view that as a hard commitment. To me, that essentially meant that the club views Grichuk as a better option up the middle than Teoscar Hernandez, who looks to be headed toward splitting time between right field and designated hitter. However, if Alford were to push his way into the discussion for real playing time in centre field, that could change everything.

And the thing is, Alford arguably has the greatest ceiling as a centre fielder of any of the Blue Jays’ outfield options. It’s where he’s spent the bulk of his career as a defender, and his plus-speed could make him a real asset at the position. The problem is, Alford has never been able to stay healthy long enough to put together a consistent stretch. If he can finally find a way to do that in 2020 with the Blue Jays, he has the combination of speed and power to be a two-way threat.

I’m sure it’s that potential that has had the Blue Jays hanging on to him as long as they can, and why Montoyo wants to give him every opportunity during Grapefruit League play this year. I’m sure management wants nothing more than for him to grab ahold of a job this spring, which could also make them look good for not being able to land an upgrade in centre field over the off-season.

Next. Derek Fisher should get a pass on the Astros' scandal. dark

He didn’t get much of an opportunity down the stretch last season, but thankfully it sounds like the Blue Jays and Montoyo have changed their tune about giving him a last chance to be a part of the future of this team.

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