Offering a risky solution to the Blue Jays' 1B/DH logjam that's so crazy it just might work

What can the Jays do with the excess of proven players occupying the same position?

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

For the Toronto Blue Jays, they have had quite the active offseason in which they have signed players with varying pedigrees to add to their lineup. But in doing so, it has created a dilemma for their first base and designated hitter situation heading into the 2024 regular season.

When the Blue Jays had Brandon Belt last season, he slotted seamlessly into the lineup since he was the team’s primary designated hitter and also served as Vladimir Guerrero’s backup at first base when needed. However for this year, after adding the likes of Justin Turner, Daniel Vogelbach, and most recently Joey Votto to the squad, it has inadvertently created a logjam at the first base and DH positions for the Jays lineup. Especially when they have all performed quite well thus far this spring, it will be hard to not give them valuable playing time for this coming season.

We all know Guerrero will be an everyday player for the Jays, but how do we fit the remaining trio into the lineup without wasting them on the bench for most of the game days? If the three of them already appear to be roster-locks heading into 2024, we will likely need to get a little creative, and some crazy in a way, to make it work.

With the third base role still potentially an unknown for the Jays, it would make the most sense to put one of the four aforementioned players in that position. Both Turner and Guerrero have experience there and should be the prime candidates for the position. Turner, a career-long third baseman, has seen his defence regress quite considerably the past few seasons, including registering an .842 fielding percentage and -3 DRS in 57 innings in 2023.

As a result, Guerrero may have committed 17 errors in his first and only year at third in 2019, but perhaps moving him back over to the hot corner where he all started may be the high-risk, high-reward way to go. Given that he's improved immensely in his defensive game the past couple of seasons, along with his increase in athleticism as a product of it, the shift back over to third might not be as far-fetched as it seems. Most importantly, Guerrero should provide more upside there than Turner at this stage in their respective careers.

In doing so, the vacated first base position can go to Votto, as among the remaining three, he is the one who can still play a consistently solid game in the field, not to mention he is also a former Gold Glove winner. Then with Turner’s right-handedness and Vogelbach’s left-handedness, they can platoon in the designated hitter role and everyone can be happy.

But if one believes that Turner’s bat is the most consistent of the remaining three and thus should garner more at-bats than the other two, then he can get the call for first base while Votto and Vogelbach share the DH duties. Most importantly, by being flexible with some thinking outside of the box, it helps keep all of their potent bats in the lineup for the Jays. At the same time, hopefully the added offense can more than make up for some of the sacrifice in infield defense resulting from it to make the daring configuration worthwhile.

To think of it, manager John Schneider and the Jays have done much more riskier and crazier things in the past, so maybe, just maybe this is a solution they can seriously think about that might produce unexpectedly strong results in the end.