The Toronto Blue Jays are going to have to figure out how to solve the Randal Grichuk problem that has been created
The Toronto Blue Jays brought Randal Grichuk in to replace Jose Bautista in right field. Obviously, he would have a hard time replacing the legend that is Jose Bautista, but it shouldn’t be that difficult to improve upon the .203/.308/.366, 80 wRC+ season that Bautista saw in 2017. No, the bar has been set fairly low for Grichuk. And, at the time he was dealt for Conner Greene and Dominic Leone, Blue Jays fans were excited about seeing Grichuk’s natural power move to the AL East. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but he’d put in work this offseason…and that power…
Nick Ashbourne writes that Grichuk finds himself in a great situation in Toronto. He finds himself comfortable, which is apparently something he didn’t feel in St Louis. But, that feeling has to be on shaky ground with his performance to date.
Here we are at the end of 20 games and Grichuk has made Bautista’s 2017 season look rather good. In 58 at bats, the 26 year old Texas native is hitting .086 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and an OPS of .430. Now, I have written previously that it is not time to panic about such a poor start to the season. 58 at bats is certainly nothing to dismiss, but it a fraction of the 300 to 400 he would see in a regular season. That said, it is enough to say, “Oh, man. Something needs to be done!”
And, that is the issue. Randal Grichuk presents a problem for the Toronto Blue Jays. Do they sit him? That makes sense. John Gibbons has done that. I’m sure lots of efforts is going into video breakdowns of his at bats and extra swings and all that. But, that might be doing more harm than good. It has been mentioned that Grichuk appears to be squeezing the bat a bit tight, trying too hard. In baseball, when you do that, you’re screwed. His 0.88 BABIP suggests a larger share of “bad luck” than a normal player sees. Trying harder isn’t going to fix that.
Maybe he needs to see an extended break. Can the 10 day DL be used to clear one’s head? I’m kidding…sort of. In all honesty, that is what seems to be needed. If this were July, we’d be saying Grichuk needs the All Star break to clear his head and come back fresh. He hasn’t had that opportunity, even with a day on the bench. If any player needs a break to clear their head, it might be Grichuk.
Matters are made worse by the likes of Teoscar Hernandez coming up and tearing the cover off the ball.
Tesocar Hernandez has put up 0.6 fWAR and 0.5 bWAR already#BlueJays
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) April 21, 2018
Hernandez forcing his way into the lineup creates a problem for Grichuk. Gibby is very much a manager who rides the hot bat and there are fewer as hot as Hernandez’. If the team were to give Grichuk a break, it appears they wouldn’t suffer in the least. Heck, Lourdes Gurriel Jr made his MLB debut and drove in three runs. It seems there is so much depth that Grichuk is going to need to turn into some incarnation of Babe Ruth or Ted Williams to take control of the everyday job.
But, how does the team let him? In order for a player to come out of a funk, they have to play through it. But, can they really let Grichuk do that? With Kendrys Morales returning from the DL, the roster flexibility the team had (for 10 days) has taken a hit, which means that there almost too many pieces for too few positions. And, if Grichuk is not the hot bat, he may find himself on the bubble.
For the Toronto Blue Jays, they’re going to have to figure out how to solve this dilemma. How do they help Randal Grichuk turn things around? What is the solution? How do they configure their roster to allow this to happen? Or, do they? Do they consider a demotion for the guy who was supposed to be their everyday right fielder? There are a lot of questions surrounding the problem Grichuk has created for the Blue Jays. The answer mightn’t be so clear.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.