Blue Jays: New veterans bringing a fresh identity to the Jays
Now fully healthy, Kevin Kiermaier knows his role
When the Blue Jays announced the signing of Kevin Kiermaier, many fans were left wondering why they would sign the long-time rival who seemed to be on the decline and was coming off season-ending hip surgery last year.
The 10-year veteran feels he still has more to offer and knows what it takes to win, having been to the postseason four separate times with the Rays.
While Kiermaier "leads with non-stop energy" according to Ethan Diamandas of Yahoo!, he also understands the culture that the front office is attempting to build. He understands that winning championships requires not just talent but "talented players who care."
"It's a great privilege to play for such a great organization and for a country. No other team in the big leagues can say that. I'm thrilled. I can't wait to show everybody what I bring to the table and what I offer. I promise you, I'll care more than anybody in that clubhouse. I'll do whatever it takes to win. I want to pop a bunch of champagne."- Kevin Kiermaier, via Keegan Matheson
Now that the 32-year-old center fielder is fully healthy he knows what he can bring to the table on the field. Per MLB.com's Keegan Matheson, Kiermaier understands his role. Hitting at the bottom of the lineup, his job is to get on base, cause havoc and set the table for the top-of-the-order.
So far, so good for Kiermaier, who is slashing a healthy .400/.438/.567 through 12 games with three doubles, a triple and five RBI.
The three-time Gold Glover is also focused on regaining his place as a premier center fielder and has looked good early on.
He's leading a vaunted outfield defense, with Daulton Varsho and fellow veteran George Springer by his side and has already put his stamp on the new-look outfield.
David Singh of Sportsnet reports that Kiermaier has introduced a new outfield communication method. Kiermaier told Singh that he "figures his 'unorthodox' method will flourish with the Blue Jays' talented alignment."
At the plate, in the field or behind the scenes, Kiermaier has found a leadership role with his new club and will find multiple ways to contribute to the team's success this season.
Next: Brandon Belt brings World Series clout to the Blue Jays.