Option #1- The first place I would start
As I said earlier, thankfully the Blue Jays have some outfield depth and that is even more important in light of the shaky health that George Springer has experienced again in 2022. For now the Jays are fortunate that Springer is able to play in the outfield as well as serving as the DH, so for most of the lineup configurations I’m going with I’ll be looking at him as a two-way player.
Regardless of what happens with Springer, I hope we see more of an opportunity for regular playing time for Whit Merrifield. It seems like the former Kansas City Royal was acquired in part to serve as an insurance policy in case Springer had to spend more time on the Injured List, but thankfully he’s not needed to cover centre field in that kind of capacity.
I’ll admit that it’s been a rocky year for the 33 year old, and things haven’t gone all that well since he became a Blue Jay as he’s slashed just .188/.246/.234 over his first 69 plate appearances with his new club, but his playing time has been fairly sporadic as well. Not that I’m making excuses for him by any means, but a more regular opportunity might help the veteran find a groove.
With the ability to play in the outfield, Merrifield could serve in a corner spot on a regular basis, and the lineup could look something like this:
1- Springer (CF)
2- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B)
3- Bo Bichette (SS)
4- Teoscar Hernandez (LF)
5- Alejandro Kirk (DH)
6- Cavan Biggio (2B)
7- Matt Chapman (3B)
8- Danny Jansen (C)
9- Merrifield (RF)
As the number nine hitter, Merrifield could act as a second leadoff hitter of sorts, which is a role that he’s more than familiar with from his days in Kansas City. That kind of lower lineup depth can win or lose games, especially when things get tighter down the stretch, and that’s even more important when you’re dealing with injuries to any regulars.
It’s not an ideal solution, but neither is losing Gurriel Jr. for any length of time. It might be a moving target, but the first place I would start is pencilling Merrifield’s name on the lineup card as a regular outfielder.