Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Some of the best moves that Ross Atkins didn’t make

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays addresses the media after completing a trade earlier in the day that sent Kevin Pillar #11 to the San Francisco Giants during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays addresses the media after completing a trade earlier in the day that sent Kevin Pillar #11 to the San Francisco Giants during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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May 5, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Randal Grichuk (15) hits a RBI single during the eighth inning O| at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Randal Grichuk (15) hits a RBI single during the eighth inning O| at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

Thank goodness Grich is still kicking around

We’ve already talked about this topic here at Jays Journal, but it’s worth mentioning again and again how crucial Randal Grichuk has been for the Blue Jays so far in 2021, and how fortunate they are that they didn’t trade him over the winter.

Not only has he covered for the injured George Springer in centre field, he’s been one of the top threats in a talented lineup, and a huge part of why they’re sitting two games above .500 at the moment. After another great game against the A’s on Thursday, the 29-year-old is slashing .306/.345/.514 with six home runs and 26 RBI. Those 26 RBI also have him second in all of baseball behind just J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox, and it’s hard to imagine where this team would be without him.

Grichuk has taken a far more patient approach at the plate this year, and really looks like he’s settled into the role as a veteran leader on this team. It’s helped that he’s been playing every day to start the season, and that he was able to establish himself as a guy that needs to be in the lineup on a full-time basis. There was a lot of speculation, including from yours truly, about whether he’d ultimately lose at-bats in a battle with Rowdy Tellez if the roster had been fully healthy. Instead, Tellez is now in Triple-A (although he’ll likely return this weekend), and Springer has become one of the most reliable players on Charlie Montoyo’s lineup card.

It wasn’t as if the Blue Jays didn’t like Grichuk, but with a seemingly full outfield that included Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Teoscar Hernandez, there was a lot of speculation that he could be dealt in order to upgrade the rotation and maybe even clear up some more money to spend on pitching. Instead, not trading Grichuk has turned out to be one of the best decisions that Atkins made over the winter, and hopefully he can keep up the good work over 162 games.

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