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Improving the Blue Jays bench

Tom Szczerbowski

We really have to do something about the bench...not that it would change a 10-19 record into something that would put us into contention, but having Henry Blanco, Maicer Izturis, Rajai Davis and Mark DeRosa on the bench doesn't exactly lend itself to having someone available to pinch hit.

Personally, I think it is time to cut bait with Blanco and DeRosa. Blanco is hitting .125, 2 singles. You wouldn't use him to pinch hit for anyone. DeRosa is hitting .156, with 2 doubles, 1 home runs and 4 walks, he's called more team meetings than he's had hits. Neither of them have any value off the bench, they can't pinch hit or pinch run. If you only have 4 men on the bench they are going to have to be useful.

They don't have any on the field value and clearly the 'veteran presence' stuff isn't helping, not that I think it ever really works. I think having veterans on the team is a good thing if they can contribute, but it is pretty hard to lead if you can't play. I always think your best players should be your leaders, and if someone else thinks he's a leader, you get rid of him.

I think it's time to bring up Josh Thole. Josh is hitting .379/.438/.569, in just 58 at bats in Buffalo. It is a small sample and all, but he'd have to be better than Blanco. He has caught R.A. Dickey before, he could handle that part and he is a left-handed batter, which might be a nice thing to have on the bench in the 9th inning. Thursday night, in the 9th inning, we had Rajai Davis pinch hitting against a right handed pitcher and then there was no one to pinch hit for Munenori Kawasaki. I don't mind Davis pinch hitting against a lefty but he shouldn't put into that spot against a right-hander. Thole won't turn the season around but he's better than what we have.

And I'd call up Jim Negrych. I know he isn't as good as he's looked in Buffalo, but neither of Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonifacio are doing anything at all with the bat and they aren't impressing with the glove either. Negrych is another lefty batter, he's hitting .429/.,486/.683 in 63 at bats in Buffalo. I know, it doesn't mean much and the guy is 28, hasn't played in the majors before and has never hit like this. He's no prospect, he's likely this years version of Randy Ruiz, but why not give him a call up, and see if he can give us a bit of a spark.

Let's face it, he can't be any worse than DeRosa. If you are so desperate to keep Mark around to watch over Brett Lawrie, make him a coach, but he isn't helping us on the field. I'd rather Davis as a pinch hitter against a lefty.

I know, it is just moving the deck chairs around, but what reason do we have to keep these old guys around?