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Blue Jays Spring Battles: Left Field

Maybe Angel Pagan is the answer?

World Baseball Classic - Championship Round - Game 1 - Netherlands v Puerto Rico
If we sign him, we need a contract clause forbidding blond hair dye.
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Last night, while sitting around missing the WBC, I got an alert that the Blue Jays and the Phillies were connected to Angel Pagan.

On to Twitter I go and found this:

It does make sense. For the most part, we have been pretty lucky, we haven’t had much for injuries this spring. No one has wrecked their knee on a sprinkler head or tore their ACL during fielding practice. But, what injuries we’ve had center around our potential left fielders. It isn’t like left field looked to be a team strength, but it seems like most of the players on the depth chart have been out of action because of, seemingly minor, injuries.

Let’s take a look:

Ezequiel Carrera: He was having a very nice spring, hitting .296/.424/.481 in 27 spring at bats. Coming into camp it looked like he was likely to the be left-handed hitting half of a left field platoon, and his play pretty much cemented him in that role. Then a collision with Darwin Barney resulted in a ‘contusion’, a baseball term for a bruise. If it is a bruise, it must be a bad one, because they are talking about the possibility of him on the new 10-day DL to start the season.

Melvin Upton: Melvin (I’m pretty sure I have never met a Melvin) was expected to be the right-handed half of the left field platoon. Unlike Ezequiel, he hasn’t been hitting this spring, just .174/.208/.304, with 1 home run, in 23 at bats. Even with that, his job seemed safe. But he’s been out of action, with a sore shoulder, for the last few days. They say it isn’t serious, but pretty soon he’s going to have to get playing or he could start the season on the DL.

Dalton Pompey: Dalton didn’t get in much action before going off to the WBC. He seemed to be Team Canada’s one player who was having any offensive success. Then a bad slide into second base and he’s out with a concussion. He missed a fair amount of time with a concussion last season. Second concussion in a calendar year is not good. It sounds like it is recovering well:

But his slim chances of making the team, out of spring training, have pretty much dropped to none.

Steve Pearce: The good news is he is playing, hitting .296/.355/.370 in 27 at bats. The bad news, he’s been limited to DHing. They say he’ll play first soon, maybe today, but left field would be harder on his shoulder than first. I don’t know if he’ll be up to playing left when the regular season starts and I’m sure he won’t be ready to play it day after day.

Darrell Ceciliani: The one guy who is actually healthy and has been healthy all spring. He’s hitting .275/.288/.451 with 1 home run, 1 walk and 15 strikeouts. Until I saw that 1 walk and 15 strikeouts, I was thinking I wouldn’t mind him making the team. 15 strikeouts in 51 at bats is, what’s the technical term, not good.

You can see why the Jays would be interested in Angel Pagan.

Angel is 35. A switch-hitter, last year he hit .277/.331/.418 with 12 home runs in 129 games as a Giant. And he stole 15 bases. Career he has been slightly better vs. RHP (.751 OPS) than LHP (.709). FanGraphs has him at a 5.1 UZR/150, so he’s pretty good on defense.

He hit .286/.324/.371 in 8 WBC games.

I would think Angel would bat leadoff, which would allow Devon Travis to bat further down in the order. I think that would make the batting order stronger.