2017 was Ezequiel Carrera‘s third season with the Blue Jays. And it was, by far, his best, offensively. Defensively, by UZR, it was his worst.
He hit .282/.356/.408 with a career high 8 home runs and he tied a career high with 10 steals. He also had his best batting, on base and slugging averages of his career.
And what what’s his reward?
We sign Curtis Granderson, another left-handed hitting outfielder, who would seem to make Carrera redundant. I don’t know what the plan is, but I don’t really see the point of having Granderson, Carrera, Pillar, Pearce and Grichuk as well as Solarte, who can play outfield, all on the active roster. Add in Alford, Pompey, Hernandez and Smith, all likely to be in Buffalo, it seems like we are pretty deep in outfielders.
I would think someone will be dealt off for a starting pitcher, but I can’t see Ezequiel having enough trade value to get us a starting pitcher of any value, so I’d imagine he’ll be on the team
The problem we have is that, even in Carrera’s best offensive season, he still only gets us a 0.7 fWAR (-0.4 bWAR) because his defense is just so bad. In his three seasons with the Jays he’s had fWARs of 0.2, 0.7 and 0.7, with all the outfielders we have, we should be able to do better.
What are the odds that he’s that good offensively again?
Not great, but it could happen. He had a .358 BABIP, but then it isn’t all that much above his career .328 mark. I tend to think a guy having his best season at age 30 isn’t going to equal it at age 31.
I’d think it’s likely that his offensive numbers will drop off some, but maybe not all that much. ZiPS figures him to hit .248/.318/.366. That seems pretty pessimistic to me.
Well then, can he improve his defensive numbers some?
I’d like to think so. His UZR numbers have never been as bad as last year. He seemed to be making silly mistakes. He seemed to have trouble with balls near the wall. And, of course, he dives for balls hit in front of him way too much.
He played 76 innings in center field. That isn’t all that much, but we have a couple of better choices to spell off Pillar this year, so I’m hoping we won’t see him in center much. And we should have less need to use him as a defensive replacement.
How much will he play?
Ezequiel had 325 PA last year, 310 the year before. Last year I said:
If he was our 4th outfield, getting 150 or so plate appearances, I’d be ok with him. If he gets 300+ plate appearances (like last year), I really think we are making a mistake.
I’m not sure it was a mistake, I would have liked to see the young guys play more, but we had a few injuries and some disappointing play in the outfield. Ezequiel was hitting pretty good, playing him wasn’t a bad idea. But we should be playing him less this year. If there is 300+ PA laying around, I’d rather see Anthony Alford get them.
If the over/under on PA for Carrera is 200 I’d take the
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