Tagged: Rajai Davis

The Trials of Spring Training

The excitement over the start of Spring Training is still lingering but we really need some games to start. Pitchers and Catchers have  reported, and now the position players are in camp.  There are nice stories coming out on new contracts (Bautista), top prospects experiencing their first spring training (Hechevarria) or with the Blue Jays (Lawrie, Gose), John Farrell at the helm for his first Spring Training and players adapting to new roles and fighting for roster spots.

However the writers having skimmed the cream off the top with those early stories, are starting to dig for stories.  Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star who was starting to actually write some positive stories about the Blue Jays instead of ranting about the previous G.M., the ownership and shifting t.v. broadcasts to other channels, ticket prices etc. etc. However, he’s back today complaining about how John Farrell handled the communication about the Travis Snider injury.  Farrell noted that Snider had been held back from workouts due to tightness in his core area and denied it was anything serious. When questioned, Snider admitted he had a core-muscle strain from golfing last week and that was it.  Griffin maintains that Farrell deflected the question about the injury. Now I think that’s digging a little deep here given a “tightness in the core area” and “strained core-muscle” are awfully similar in my opinion. If we were in a court of law then maybe we could break down the semantics of each statement and convict Farrell of being ‘secretive’ but we’re not here. You have two people speaking to the media and used slightly different language to describe what, is in effect, a minor nagging type of injury that should not affect Snider being ready for opening day. It’s not 2007 where the then GM for the Blue Jays admitted he lied to the media about a major elbow injury to B.J. Ryan. This is just a minor injury that doesn’t need much attention!!! However Richard Griffin basically has the attitude that if the Blue Jays don’t act in a manner consistent with the way the Montreal Expos acted when he was employed by them, then it’s completely wrong.  Sorry, I’m ranting so much on Mr. Griffin but I find his “holier than thou” attitude and his need to look for problems/issues when there aren’t any very irritating.
Now onto a real injury story that may actually have an impact on the Blue Jays roster on Opening Day. Scott Posednik has re-aggravated the injury to his foot that kept him out of the last 20 or so games in 2010. He has plantar-fasciitis and that tends to be a nagging injury that is hard to treat and can be very painful. This is not good news given that Posednik is there to bring speed to the line-up.  However, it’s not the end of the world given that Posednik was not slated at an opening day starter but rather as a fourth or fifth outfielder. They still have Corey Patterson in camp as well as Rajai Davis as their starting centre fielder so they can afford to wait on Posednik getting healthy.  Perhaps they decide to not even take the risk and release Posednik before the start of the season (he’s only inked to a minor-league deal).

Rajai Davis and John Buck

Well Mr. Anthopolous has made a deal for Oakland’s Rajai Davis.  This deal didn’t make me jump for joy but I think it was another good pick-up for the Blue Jays.

I’m not quite sure the exact impact Davis will have on the team as it’s not clear what Davis’ role will be. Will he be an everyday outfielder with Wells and Snider and bat lead-off? Or will he be the team’s fourth outfielder ala DeWayne Wise? Either way this is a positive addition for the Blue Jays because of Davis’ speed.

The 2010 Blue Jays lacked speed, that was clearly evident.  Fred Lewis provided some speed and guys like Bautista, Wells, Hill and Snider aren’t slow on the basepaths but there was no player who would, when on base, really provide a clear base-stealing threat. Davis will provide that.

If Davis is a starting outfielder on opening day, then Jose Bautista could become the team’s everyday third baseman.  Not terrible as Bautista plays a decent hot corner. However, you lose Bautista’s arm in right. 

If Davis is the fourth outfielder then there is still a hole a third base that will need to be filled.

Speculating at this point as to who will play third, or first next season is really fruitless as the offseason has just begun and AA has not finished making moves for 2011 so I will not elaborate any further.

We do know one thing and that is John Buck is no longer a Blue Jay.  I liked Buck behind the plate last year and he did hit 20 homeruns but am glad the Jays did not re-sign him.  The Marlins signed Buck to a reported 3-year, $18 million contract which is extremely high in my opinion. As was the case with Marco Scutaro last off season, it was best to let Buck go as there is little chance the Jays would get full value for the salary they would have to pay to retain him.  The Jays have Jose Molina under contract for 2011 and it is hoped J.P. Arencibia can step into the starting catcher’s role. 

I must say, I was a little frustrated in September when Cito kept inserting Buck into the line-up everyday so that he could reach 20 homeruns when Arencibia was left to rot on the bench.  It did nothing for Arencibia’s development and left a bigger question mark as to whether Arencibia is ready for a starting catcher’s role at the big league level.  Now Alex Anthopolous has to decide whether to hand the reigns over to Arencibia or go out and sign a guy like Miguel Olivo to platoon with Molina behind the plate.