During the 2021 season, the Blue Jays had one of, if not the top offensive teams in all of baseball. This was thanks to career seasons by Teoscar Hernandez, Marcus Semien, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr to name a few. The offense was so strong that they were overflowing with home run power that there was not enough playing time to be shared.
The club had four capable everyday outfielders in Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr, George Springer, and Randal Grichuk, as well as two everyday first basemen in Guerrero Jr and Rowdy Tellez. What this meant was the Blue Jays had six players vying for five spots, the problem being is Tellez and Guerrero Jr were limited to first base, while the four other players could shift throughout the outfield.
The player that suffered from a lack of playing time was the 26-year-old Tellez. Through the team’s first 68 games, Tellez was only able to slot into 50 games (34 starts) which limited him to just 151 plate appearances. Over his last 25 games, Tellez was able to post a slash line of .241/.343/.414; with the team lacking in bullpen pitching, the front office used the opportunity to trade from a position of strength and improve on a weakness. As many know, Tellez would be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for prospect Bowden Francis and reliever Trevor Richards in an exchange that would help both clubs.
Once Tellez was removed from the fold, this left Guerrero Jr to be the everyday first baseman and have some rest days as the designated hitter. It also made things easy for manager Charlie Montoyo, as when healthy, the club could go with the four outfielders in the line-up and each could share the designated hitter role. Springer would lead the group with 38 games at DH due to his injury concerns early in the year, with the others following with Gurriel Jr’s 14, Grichuk at 12, and Hernandez at 11.
Coming into the 2022 season, it appeared that the team was going to go a similar route for the campaign with the four-outfielder/designated hitter swing. However, midway through Spring Training, Ross Atkins traded Grichuk, along with his two remaining years at $10.33 million per season to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Raimel Tapia and prospect Adrian Pinto.
Grichuk was a proven everyday power-hitting outfielder that you could consistently rely on to hit 20+ home runs a season and play each of the outfield positions. However, he had his flaws, which included his hefty contract, along with his strikeout to walk ratio. In Tapia, the club was getting more of a fourth outfielder type of player that could get on base and made half the salary. Over the previous three years, Tapia had a slash line of .282/.327/.394 compared to Grichuk’s .242/.286/.448. So, the club was giving up power for a cheaper fourth outfielder that got on base a little more.
Have the Blue Jays made the right move by moving on from power hitters and hoping the cheaper light hitting Raimel Tapia will have a better impact
Like 2021, the Blue Jays have had injury issues this season in the outfield, which has seen Hernandez miss over 20 games already, which has thrust Tapia into a full-time role until his return. Unfortunately, Tapia has struggled at the plate to start the season and leaves you wanting more out of him. The question now is would the club have been better suited to keep one of Grichuk or Tellez over acquiring Tapia.
As of May 17th, Tapia has provided very limited success at the plate and is well behind both Tellez and Grichuk in almost every offensive category:
Rowdy Tellez – 36 games, .236/.304/.504, 17 extra-base hits, 29 RBI
Randal Grichuk – 27 games, .276/.325/.448, 8 extra-base hits, 21 RBI
Ramiel Tapia – 32 Games, .229/.261/.284, 4 extra-base hits, 9 RBI
Are you ok with both moves or would you have rather seen the Blue Jays keep one of Tellez or Grichuk for the 2022 season?