3 ways the Blue Jays can shake things up, 2 moves they need to avoid

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2. Shake Up the Lineup

The opposite end on the drama spectrum from taking a flamethrower to the front office, changing the way the lineup is constructed seems like the absolute bare minimum which is needed for the Jays right now.

It is no secret that George Springer seems to be in a tussle with father time at the moment, or that Guerrero and Bichette have come crawling out of the gate. Add to this the metamorphosis of Alejandro Kirk from Silver Slugger to offensive black hole, and a plethora of Punch and Judy just about everywhere else in the order, and what’s left is a lineup which simply isn’t working.

The most popular suggestion as it stands today is moving Springer out of the leadoff spot until he finds his stroke. This was actually something the Jays did last year, temporarily moving Whit Merrifield into the role and capitalizing on a hot streak which momentarily turned around an offense stuck in the mud.

Even better though, how about playing Davis ‘Babe’ Schneider every day? Yes, his numbers have declined from the highs of his breathtaking debut last year, but the fact remains that he still has the fourth highest OPS on the team (behind only Varsho, Turner, and the recently returned Danny Jansen), while putting up the same number of home runs and RBIs as Cavan Biggio and Isiah Kiner-Falefa put together in less than half as many games. Add in his apparent flair for the dramatic, and why not put ‘Babe’ somewhere he can drive in runs and let him have at it?

Of course, a potential reorganization of the lineup is directly related to the option for a shakeup discussed in the previous section. Right now, Ross Atkins doesn’t want to walk away from the slot machine and see the next guy walk up and win the jackpot on their first pull. In other words, when the analytics insist that a turnaround is coming at any moment, the flexibility to make changes based on what’s actually happening is all but erased.

Fun fact: as the Jays opened up a weekend series with the Washington Nationals on Friday, they faced a lineup which had just moved red-hot rookie Jacob Young into the leadoff spot in an effort to get his surprising .300 average more opportunities to impact the game. The series before that, the Jays ran into a Kansas City Royals team which had just dropped the highly touted MJ Melendez down in the order due to his early season struggles. Yes, it may seem obvious that tinkering with the lineup is something that baseball teams do to respond to hot and cold streaks, and indeed it is … just about everywhere outside of Toronto.

Nobody is saying that Schneider must be penciled into the cleanup spot for the next ten years, or that Springer should forever be banished to the bottom of the order. But with the offense struggling the way it is right now, it might be time to start building the lineup based on performance rather than expected outcomes for the next little while.