Monday, 29 July 2013

Long range plans at 2nd base for the Toronto Blue Jays.

This past off-season the Jays basically told Kelly Johnson that he wasn't good enough to be their 2nd baseman and decided to go in another direction at 2nd base. Looking back at it now, that may have been one of the larger mistakes made during the 2012 off season.  The Jays then went out and gave Macier Izturis a 3 year (+ an option) contract with the intent that he would be the 2nd baseman for at least the 2013 season.  The Jays then made their big trade with the Miami Marlins and picked up Emilio Bonifacio a guy with much of the same skill set (just not the bat, or eye at the plate) as a Jose Reyes to split time with Macier at 2nd base.  As another depth move the Jays also picked up Mark Derosa a guy who can fill in every now and then at 2nd.

Personally I was pretty much convinced that Emilio was going  to be the guy at 2nd.  Given his previous offensive output and his speed, I convinced myself he was going to be the guy at 2nd and pretty much put Izturis into the super utility role.  Well I was wrong...Emilio has been a big disappointment, but that being said Izturis hasn't been that much better himself.

Right off the bat both guys had a hard time getting used to playing 2nd base on artificial turf (side track....Why doesn't the Jays organization make an effort to bring new players who haven't played on artificial turf  to get used to the surface before the season starts?  Could they not make one of the practice facilities in Dunedin on a turf field?  Could they not fly some of the infielders into Toronto during the off-season to take drills on the surface?) and both bats were cold up until very recently to boot.

The play of both these guys has made me ask what other options do we have?  Internally we don't have much. Jim Negrych in Buffalo has had a great year, but has cooled off considerably in the last 2 months. If the Jays weren't going to call him up when he was hitting over .400, I really don't think the Jays are prepared to make him their 2nd baseman going forward.  Going deeper into the minor league depths, it doesn't look pretty as most of the 2nd baseman in the minor's are more long shots than real prospects.

The Jays have also toy'd with the option of making Brett Lawrie their new 2nd baseman, although the experiment has come to a crashing halt with the Jays saying publicly that Brett will spend the rest of the year at 3rd,  could we see him moved their eventually?  I don't think the team is going to make that move, but to be honest (even though it's not the popular stance) I like him better at 2nd.  I find his bat could end up being a + at 2nd rather than an average one at 3rd.  Sure his defense is unlike many in the league at 3rd, but with time I think Lawrie could bring that same + defence to 2nd plus a bat that plays better at 2nd.

So if the Jays don't choose to either stay with one of the two guys playing 2nd right now or look to someone else from the organization, we would end up looking at another short term fix either through trade or FA. Some of the trade options that have been rumored are interesting.  Gordon Beckham could be a good fit, but the question would be the price that the Jays would have to pay in order to get him and do the Jays have the pieces to make something like that happen? Chase Utley sounds like he may end up re-singing in Philly,  but  it's probably best for the Jays to steer clear of Utley.  Nothing good could come from Chase Utley playing on turf.  Could the Jays Sign Robinson Cano?  Could you imagine?  Well stop imagining cause that ain't happening.

With another busy off-season around the corner for Alex Anthopoulos I really think that he is going to focus some time around finding an 2nd baseman and eliminating a 2nd base by committee.  It's not the popular choice, but I think that the Jays 2nd Baseman is already on the team.

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