Blue Jays one step ahead to help cover George Springer’s absence?
While you can’t just replace a player like George Springer, fortunately the Blue Jays brought in some depth on Sunday that could help cover his absence.
On Saturday the Blue Jays acquired Mallex Smith to provide some depth for their outfield. The 28 year old came over from the Reds in a deal that happened before Springer’s injury had taken place, but the timing could be helpful. Smith is a five-year MLB veteran and last played in the big leagues for the Mariners in 2020, and had spent time in Atlanta and Tampa Bay as well.
For now I imagine the Blue Jays will roll with a starting outfield that includes Randal Grichuk in centre, and flanked by some combination of Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Corey Dickerson. If Springer’s ankle injury turns out to be bad enough that he’ll need to return to the Injured List again, which is appears that way, it wouldn’t be surprising if Smith was called up to the big leagues to provide an extra outfielder for the roster.
His biggest calling card would be his speed, and in a lot of ways Smith would be filling the depth role that Jonathan Davis used to play for the Jays prior to being claimed off waivers by the Yankees. He’s stolen 120 bases over the course of his big league career, and that could speed could give him a role as a pinch runner and late-inning defensive replacement.
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He’s not known as much of a hitter at the highest level with a career .255/.325/.361 slash line over 442 games, and in some ways might remind Blue Jays fans of another player acquired in a trade a few years back in Ben Revere. Like Revere, Smith doesn’t offer much in the power department with just 13 career long balls, and instead relies on his speed as his best offensive weapon.
Because the trade was agreed to after the July 30 deadline, Smith will not be eligible to be added to a postseason roster should the Jays qualify. They obviously have to get there for that to matter, and after Saturday’s second straight loss to the Mariners they’re now 4.5 games behind the Red Sox for the second Wild Card spot. With 46 games left in the regular season they’ll have their work cut out for them in order to catch up, but it’s certainly within reach for the talented young roster, even if they may have just lost one of their best hitters to the IL again.
The hope is that Springer won’t be out for long, and perhaps the Blue Jays will use his roster spot in another way if he’s going to be out for a while. However, if they feel the need to bring an extra outfielder to the 26-man roster, thankfully the front office was one step ahead by acquiring a player who at least has some big league experience on his resume.