We are 63 games into the season and sitting 1 game below .500, which, considering how April went, is darn near a miracle. And we have an off-day. It might be a good time to step back and consider what we’d do if we ran the club (it is nice of MLB to schedule us an off-day with the draft starting tonight).
A few trouble spots have worked themselves out over the first 2 and a half months of the season:
- Luke Maile has been a pretty acceptable backup catcher, even though he isn’t hitting much: .132/.173/.211. Considering what we got from Saltalamacchia, his offense hasn’t looked so bad, and he’s looked great behind the plate. He’s even been on a bit of a hot streak, over the past two weeks he’s hit .292/.292/.417.
- Justin Smoak has gone from player most likely to be run out of town by pitchfork wielding fans to possible All-Star.
- The rotation is working it’s way back towards healthy. Aaron Sanchez is still on the DL, and likely won’t be activated any time soon but Stroman, Estrada, Happ, Biagini and Liriano are healthy and doing a pretty good job.
- The front end of bullpen has been pretty terrific. Osuna, Smith, Tepera and Barnes have been good. Loup has been pitching better of late. And you really couldn’t expect better from Dominic Leone. I’ve been feeling sorry for the Dominic, bouncing back and forth between the Jays and Buffalo, when he’s been very good.
- And most of the lineup is healthy. The one exception being Devon Travis (and Steve Pearce, remember Tom: Steve Pearce is on the team). Josh Donaldson is doing Josh Donaldson type things. Jose Bautista had a great May, and is getting on base a lot. Kevin Pillar has had hot and cold stretches, but the hot moments have been very good. I’m waiting for Kendrys Morales to go on a tear and Troy Tulowitzki has been terrible at the plate, but I’m expecting him to figure things out soon.
But we do have rather glaring trouble spots.
With Travis out, second base has been a offensive black hole. Ryan Goins, no matter how many times Buck and Pat tell us he’s figured things out with playing time, is hitting .210/.272/.333 and Darwin Barney is even worse at .218/.256/.277.
I’d love them to give Jason Leblebijian a chance. He’s hitting .310/.380/.518 with 8 home runs, 19 walks and 47 strikeouts. I don’t know much about his defense at second, but he’s played 21 games there for the Bisons. Since Travis looks to be out for an extended period, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t take a look at Jason.
Chris Coghlan has been the forgotten man on the Jays bench (for good reason), why not swap the two?
As Matt Gross put it, left field has been a disaster.
I’ve never been a fan of Ezequiel’s, he doesn’t do any thing well enough that I’d want him on my team, but I don’t remember him looking this awful on defense in the past. If he gets through a game without a costly mistake, it is news. His bat has been pretty ok, .292/.363/.410, but I’d love someone that could made the plays in the outfield.
I don’t know why we haven’t given Dwight Smith a real chance. He’s hitting .305/.364/.447 and, not that it likely means much, he has no errors in Buffalo. With all the days off we’ve had, I’d much rather have him up and go with a 7-man bullpen. I’d rather a 7-man bullpen anytime really.
Steve Pearce should be back by the weekend, but I’d like us to take a look at Smith. And, of course, when (if?) he’s ever healthy, I’d like them to hand the job over to Dalton Pompey.
And the team needs to figure out what to do with Jason Grilli and J.P. Howell.
Howell has been DLed, and I’d imagine they will use every day of the allowed rehab time to see if he can figure things out, and Grilli has been buried in the back of the bullpen. But to be carrying Grilli, when we could be trying out Dwight Smith or Jason Leblebijian is some sort of sin. Actually, carrying Grilli while sending Leone back and forth between Toronto and Buffalo is a crime.
The second lefty thing might be a running problem for the season. I’m all for trying Jeff Beliveau in the spot, but it is tough to find moments to use him. Yesterday’s 4-0 lead seemed as good a time as any, but he didn’t get out the one lefty he was to face. It is pretty tough if we are only going to use Beliveau and Grilli only in blow outs. Your 8-man pen suddenly becomes a 6-man pen.
Last year, Mark Shapiro and company reworked the bullpen mid-season. This year the needs aren’t as serious, but it would be nice to have second lefty we could trust. I’d imagine there might be a trade out there somewhere.
This was to be a quick post asking you what roster moves you would make, if you were GM for a day, and I turned it into a long rambling thing, but the question remains the same.