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A rant about the 8-man bullpen

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Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Fun game last night, it really had everything, great defense, timely hitting and of course, some bad base running.

But, instead of talking about any of that., let's rant about the 8-man bullpen.

Last night, Gibby used  Danny Valencia at third base and Josh Donaldson at DH, giving Jose a day off from fielding. Doing that, he left himself with a bench of Dioner Navarro,  Justin Smoak and Ezequiel Carrera. You would think that that would win an award for the least versatile bench ever. You have Dioner who can only catch. And Carrera, who really doesn't fit with the other two, he can do more than one thing.

Early in the game, we had this:

hammy

Immediately, in mind, I'm trying to figure out how we can replace Reyes. There were only four possibilities that I could come up with:

  1. The most likely, Navarro comes in to catch, Martin goes to second base and Goins moves over to short. And, for the rest of the game, I'd be worried that Martin would get taken out, from behind, trying to turn a double play. I hate seeing a star (Martin) play out of position. There is so much more chance of injury. If Martin gets run into at second, and is injured, someone almost has to be fired.
  2. Move Donaldson from DH to third, move Valencia from third to second, Goins to short and we lose the DH spot for the rest of the game, getting the fun of watching the pitchers hit. I'd rather have pitchers hit than Russell playing second for 6 innings.
  3. Smoak comes in to play first, Encarnacion goes across to play third, Valencia moves to second and Goins to short. I actually kind of like this one. I'd also tell Edwin not to dive for balls, and that all I'd want from him is to catch balls that come directly at him.
  4. Move Donaldson from DH to short. You lose the DH, pitchers would have to bat, but it has the benefit of not having someone out of position trying to turn the double play at second base. Donaldson has the range (he might have more range than Reyes) and arm for short. I wouldn't put Josh at second, but, in an emergency, I'd be ok with him at short.

I really hate not having a middle infielder on the bench.

Now Gibby, I'm sure, had a plan for what would happen if Reyes (or anyone else) had to come out of the game before the game started. I'm pretty sure it would be number 1 on that list.

Beyond the 'what happens if Reyes gets injured' (which, let's face it, is always a possibility), this winter we were told that Reyes would get rested more this season. So, what do we do, make sure we have no one to take his place. Make it so that has to play every inning of every game. Yeah, it's only for a few day but still.

I've often said that, if it my job, I'd tell Reyes he's DHing once a week. I think that way, you could keep him rested and maybe keep him healthy and, hopefully keep him in the lineup.

The other thing I would do is take Reyes out of the game in the late innings of any game that's a blowout in either direction. I'd want a good fielding middle infielder on the bench and that any time we have more than a 95% chance of winning or less than a 1% chance, I'd take him out of the game. I know Gibby doesn't have the Win Expectancy number available to him all the time, but then, you have a guy who's one job is to check if plays should be reviewed or not, why not give him the job of txting the bench coach in between  innings any time the number gets to a certain point?

We can't do any of that because we have an 8-man bullpen. We needed to call up Phil Coke. Phil Coke who has pitched 2 innings for us. They were 2 good innings, but still.

This will get fixed when Devon Travis get activated, he says knowing that Travis could suffer another set back or that, the way things seem to go with the Blue Jays, we'll find a way to send down a batter and keep the 8 guys in the pen. But even for a few days, why leave your team without a spare middle infielder?