Jays From the Couch brings you the latest Toronto Blue Jays news & links. This edition: Brett Lawrie, Jose Bautista, Steve Pearce & more!
While a lot of attention has shifted to the World Baseball Classic, and rightfully so, there is still Spring Training going on for the Toronto Blue Jays. While things haven’t exactly worked out as far as wins and losses, there is a bigger picture to think about. Health and preparation are the name of this game. The season starts in about a month, so there is lots of time still to go. Until then, we should really just be sitting back and enjoying the baseball chatter that has come back with a vengeance in 2017. We present the latest Blue Jays chatter!
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* So, apparently, there has been a lot of chatter about the possibility that recently released Brett Lawrie could be of interest to the Blue Jays. It all started with this tweet:
Royals, Jays, Mets and Rays are among the teams that have interest in Brett Lawrie according to sources. https://t.co/mZsHgE9wz8
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) March 5, 2017
Since Jim Bowden clicked the “Tweet” button, Blue Jays Land has been in a tizzy with lots of arguments for and against the idea of reuniting the explosive Canadian. The term “explosive” can be used to describe his style of play as well as his overall intense personality. Whether you love him or hate him, there are definitely arguments for both sides on this one.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi says that a deal is unlikely for the former White Sox second baseman. While it might make sense that the club could consider Lawrie due to the uncertainty around the immediate future of Devon Travis and his return from knee surgery, Morosi feels that this would be a surprise.
Other teams are interested in Lawrie as well and at NJ.com, they look at the possibility of Lawrie being insurance for David Wright, who has been plagued by injuries for what seems like an eternity. The versatility that Lawrie brings very well could be serviceable to the Mets. But, as we hear at Scout.com, Lawrie could be of interest to the Rays as well – for the same reasons – but he is coming back from an injury, which means he likely won’t be going anywhere for a while.
* Apparently, the narrative of Jose Bautista playing the 2017 season with a chip on his shoulder (even Troy Tulowtizki thinks Joey Bats could be sporting an extra chip), trying to exact some sort of revenge for a disappointing offseason, is still a thing. I mean, if he were going to play a season trying to prove value, why wouldn’t he have done that in 2016 before he entered the offseason? That would have made his experience more enjoyable, no? Anyway, John Perrotto of Fanrag Sports brings us the story that includes Bautista’s assertion that he, in fact, is not playing like he has something to prove.
He says: “The market was what it was. I’m not angry about it. It was all a matter of timing. There were a lot of players like myself on the market at the same time. That’s the way it went. I didn’t want to be in situation where I was playing in a lot of meaningless games in August and September, putting up numbers that didn’t really matter. When you have had a taste of winning, it’s hard to give that up.”
You kind of get the feeling that Bautista has been asked to talk about this a million times and is getting tired of it. Maybe some people feel like if they ask just one more time he’ll admit that he was upset and had to settle and he was asking for a billion dollars. But, that isn’t going to happen. At the end of the day, he’s a Blue Jay and is off to a hot start in Spring Training.
* With the World Baseball Classic underway, Marco Estrada is still unsure as to whether he will play for his native Mexico due to his back. He says his focus is on the Toronto Blue Jays. If his health is an issue, he doesn’t want to participate in the tournament. He says: “I’ve got to be ready for the Blue Jays first. If I do play in the Classic, I want to be 100 percent for that. I don’t want to go in at 75 percent or whatever, because I want to pitch my best.”
* Rob Longley of The Toronto Sun brings us the story of Steve Pearce and the progress he’s making toward being an everyday player for the Blue Jays. While we once thought he would be the first firstbase option for Toronto, things are starting to look like he is a horse in the LF race also. And, that suits him just fine: “That’s the plan [referring to him playing LF] I’m a very versatile player. I’ll play all over the diamond and that’s where I feel I bring value. I’ll take whatever and I’ll do whatever’s asked of me. Being able to play other positions should open that door for me.”
The question is whether his arm is healthy enough to be able to consistently throw from LF. And, he’s making progress in that regard. He has been wowed by the training staff the Blue Jays have put in place. No longer is working out about pumping weights. Their new approach as many a player singing its praises. Pearce is no exception.
Pearce in LF would certainly change the narrative around the club’s defensive alignment. Assuming he is a LF first and 1B second (as well as having the ability to fill in at 2B in a pinch), the Blue Jays may have to make a decision on what to do with the likes of Ezequiel Carrera, Melvin Upton Jr.and even Dalton Pompey.
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