Thursday, March 17, 2011

I don’t know...third base.

The corner infield positions for the Jays should be looked at closely. Third base is what I will look at today. Jose Bautista is slated to be the everyday bagman with Johnny Mac as backup. So, ok, that sounds good. But is that the best choice for this season? If this happens you don’t have Bautista’s arm in right and have only Johnny Mac’s glove when the regulars are out.

Johnny Mac is hitting .292 with an OBP of .320, this spring and last season he had an AVG .250 and an OBP of .273. MacDonald is one of the best gloves in the infield. No doubt, but at bat he has been consistently weak. Jose Bautista needs to be utilized where he is best suited, in right.

So where does that leave us with bat and glove in the needed hot corner? It seems that Alex Anthopoulos has decided that the most obvious choice is moving Aaron Hill to the corner. Hill should be back in his normal fine form this year. His recovery from concussion should not affect him further, either at bat or on second. No real need for him to be moved. He should stay at second.

I will go out on a limb here and suggest that Brett Lawrie should be assigned to a spot at third base. He is very young and might be better served in the minors but I think he is ready. He has playing time in the minors and has had one of the best springs for the Jays this year. In his 28 at bats, his AVG is .357 with an OBP of .400. Great stuff. In A and AA ball for Milwaukee he had an AVG .280 and an OBP of .343. He has also made terrific defensive plays with the glove this spring. The Jays got him in a trade that sent Marcum to Milwaukee. We traded well, I thought, for such a prospect. Brett Lawrie is 21 years old with two years experience in the minors. Maybe it’s time to let the standard model for development be put aside.

You might remember names such as Cal Ripken, debuted at 21 years old and played for 20 years with the Orioles. Al Kaline debuted at 21 years and played 21 years with the Tigers. Mickey Mantle debuted at 20 years and played 18 with the Yankees. Maybe it’s time for Lawrie to be assigned the third base spot and put right into the show. I don’t know if he is in this league but if you don’t put him in you will not find out. Let’s move faster to get more competitive. The Jays need to and the fans want it.

John the Tomahawk


Rick Blechta said...

I think you make a very good point, John. I'd like to see the Jays give Lawrie a chance at starting the season with the team. They may be a little gun shy because they want him to be as Major League-ready as he can be before they bring him up. Some elite athletes have trouble accepting failure, and the Jays brass want probably to give him the best chance to avoid this.

What they might do to mitigate that is to sit the lad down and say, "You've convinced us to give you this chance. But you need to know that, if things don't work out because you're not really ready for The Show, we will not hesitate to send you down. We want you to be completely aware of that scenario and what it means. Are you okay with this? If you are sent down, will you work as hard as you can with no complaining to earn your way back?"

I'm sure someone of Lawrie's undeniable skill and temprement will say he's ready, but the Jays will have made their position absolutely clear. If Lawrie is a player of real substance and character, if he is sent down (as Doc Halliday was), he will use his demotion as a learning tool.

If this is the case, then my feeling is that they have to give him this chance.

Larry Toman said...

Hey John,like your blog. I like the idea of throwing Lawrie into the fire. If it doesn't work, it can be changed. A laser arm like Bautista has is a rare commodity,and it most certainly strikes fear into opposing runners. That is his true comfort zone,even though he won't balk about third base. Just hearing the mention of moving Aaron Hill to 3rd made me cring. We need him back the way he was, and the best way to make him comfortable is right where he belongs - 2nd base.It's too bad about Johnny Mac's bat, but as you said his defence is stellar. Let's roll the dice and start the season aggressively. Play ball!!