Truth be told the Jays have never really had a 3rd baseman on the team that has been seen as staple in the organization. Sure we had Gruber, but he only really had 2 productive year and then was plagued by injury. Scott Rolen is probably the best all round 3rd baseman to be a Jay, but he was only around long enough to catch the next train out of union station. Troy Glaus was great, but again....not here long, only 2 years.
So all that being said we thought we had that 3rd baseman that would be there year in and year out putting up all-star numbers....It seems now that this may be a changing....When Brett Lawrie was summoned from his latest DL stint the Blue Jays brass has decided to move him back to the original position he was draft as.
So what does this mean? Does it mean that the Jays have given up on him at 3rd base? Do the Jays think it's easier to fill a hole at 2nd base by putting him there rather then looking either within the organization, the trade market or the free agent market for a 3rd baseman? Do they think they can build more trade value for him by giving him more position availability? or do they think he's just better suited at 2nd base?
I'm not sure what they are thinking, but let's look at the possibilities...
For me personally I like 3rd baseman to have some power and still hit for a decent average, and it's not that Lawrie can't hit 20 home runs in a year, but to say he can do that year in and year out while still keeping up on a decent average. Lawrie's swing to me is probably best suited to not be swinging out of his boots on a night by night basis.
What's coming up in the minor's or already on the MLB club to play 3rd base? On the minor league front there isn't much coming to play 3rd base right now, and in the bigs if we expect to get to the post season with Macier Izturis playing 3rd we got some big problems. Could they convince Jose Bautista to play 3rd? I would hope not. Joey Bats cannon for an arm is reason enough to keep him in RF and plus I don't think he really wants to play 3rd base.
What`s available in the trade front? Michael Young maybe? would he come to TO? Would have a chance at re-signing him? Do you want to at his age? Could the Jays put a package together that they could lure the untouchable Chase Headley away from the Padres? I do not think they could come close to what other's could offer. Could they get Mike Olt for say a guy like Josh Johnson if the Rangers don't get Garza?
What's available at 3rd base or 2nd base in the offseason? 1st let's talk 3rd. Would you look at a guy like Mark Reynolds? Guy can hit jacks, but that's about it. Would the dome be a good home for a guy like Reynolds? Could you lure Young at the end of year? Not sure he would want to come here. There's alot of other run of the mill 3rd baseman available, but nothing great. Now at 2nd....Is there an alternative universe where all the Dominican players on the Jays could convince Cano to come to the Jays? Yeah I can't believe I just wrote that. Utley could be another possibility, but his knee issues scare the hell out of me especially playing on turf.
Is he better suited as a 2nd Baseman? Above all else Lawrie is an above average defender no matter where you put him. He has athletic ability unlike most in the league and given enough time to get accustomed to the major league level he and Reyes could make one of the best 1 2 punches up the middle. So let's assume that his offensive numbers this year are a bit of an anomaly and his OPS, OBP, SLG and Average are closer to his 1st two years in the bigs. His offensive numbers +his defence would then make him one of the elite 2nd baseman in the league. **One concern could be the dude's temper...wonder if he would snap if someone went into 2nd hard and he took exception to it.
I may have been painting my thought a little too much, but i'm for Lawrie at 2nd. I think his offence plays better as a 2nd baseman and his defense and athleticism over time will make him a + defender. I also think it's easier to find another 3rd baseman closer to what he brings to 3rd rather than finding a 2nd baseman who could bring what he brings to that position.
All that being said Lawrie needs to find himself as a player first before he can be considered among the elite young baseball talents. Go Jays Go!