Robert MacLeod in the Globe and Mail has a story up talking about the 5 stories to watch this spring for the Jays. The first four questions really didn't interest me much:
Can Adam Lind transition to first? Yes.
Is Kyle Drabek ready for the Majors? Yep.
How will Arencibia do behind the plate? Just fine.
How will the team score runs? Stepping on the plate, just like always.
Then we get to the fifth one: Can Jose Bautista be happy and productive at third?
This is the question that I've been thinking about for awhile. I mean, the real answer is 'yes he can'. But the question should be 'will he be happy moving back to third and, if there is any question, why do it? Jose has said that he would rather play RF though he would play 3B if he team wanted.
It has always been my feeling that you put your star players in a spot and leave them there and move the other guys around to accommodate the stars. Put your star in one spot, make him as comfortable as possible and leave them there. Jose clearly was our offensive star last year.
Jose, can play both positions and, though he won't be willing any Gold Gloves anytime soon, he is ok at both. I think, in the long run, he'd be a better defensive player in RF.
The question is, why move him around each year? He seems more comfortable in right. He seems to hit best when he plays the position more. But most importantly, he is the star, don't move him around.
For an example of why not, look at Paul Molitor when he was a Brewer. Paul came into the league playing second base and shortstop for his first three seasons. He was clearly their best player. In his third season, Jim Gantner came up to majors. He was a 2B, so the Brewers moved Molitor to CF. For Jim Gantner! Gantner was a fine player but you don't move Molitor for him, you move him to make Molitor happy. After an injury filled year in CF, the Brewers moved Paul to third. A couple of years playing third, they started to bounce him around from 3B to DH to 2B. Then it was 1B. Then back to DH. This was a Hall of Famer and they couldn't decide what position to play him. Maybe that had something to do with why he had so many injuries with them.
Anyway, for me, I'd rather the Jays put Jose in RF and leave him there. Tell him "for the rest of your career with the Jays you are a right fielder" and work everyone else around him. There is no way I move him out of RF so that Juan Rivera can play there. I'd prefer EE at third, Jose in right and Juan DH or fourth outfielder, but the Jays seem set against EE at third. I wonder if they will give Brett Lawrie a real chance at winning the third base job this spring to let Jose play right. I wouldn't be against that either. Anything to keep Jose in one spot and happy.