The Toronto Blue Jays need Anthony Alford to prove himself, but they aren’t giving him the opportunity to do so
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The Toronto Blue Jays entered the 2020 season with some serious question marks in their outfield. The jury is still out on whether those questions remain, or new ones have popped up. But, what hasn’t changed is the fact that Anthony Alford is on the outside of the outfield rotation. With Randal Grichuk, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.and Teoscar Hernandez getting the bulk of playing time, and Derek Fisher filling in when they aren’t, Alford has been relegated to pinch runner status. This is not going to help him at all.
IF the Blue Jays are about developing players and helping them improve, then it is confusing why Alford is put on a shelf. So far in 2020, he has been put into 8 games for a total of just 7 plate appearances. In that time, he has put up a wRC+ of -26 while slashing .143/.143/.143 with a lone hit, an RBI and 3 stolen bases.
The cold among us would point to a former MVP saying that MLB is the ‘get it done’ league and one has to perform in order to see more playing time. For those people, Alford has done very little in the big league time he has seen over the last few years. The current longest serving Blue Jay (who still holds rookie status) hit .145 in 66 plate appearances. It’s tough to argue against that. He sure seems overmatched at the big league level.
But, in fairness to the player, even though he battled injuries, he has not seemed as lost in AAA in 2018 or 2019. The talent is there. We’ve known this for years. The former football star chose baseball and we’ve been waiting for that talent to translate into big league success. Alford is a very easy guy to cheer for, liked by everyone, so there is no shortage of people waiting for him to grab a job.
The problem is that he hasn’t been getting that chance. There is a school of thought that says you have to let a player play to work out any issues, or to develop their skills. So, why is Alford relegated to Dalton Pompey status? There has to be a reason. People who know more and get paid more than I surely have the answer to that question. Has manager, Charlie Montoyo, seen enough in Spring and Summer Training to say that Alford is only a pinch runner? Has upper management decided this?
The reason this comes to mind is that Alford is out of options and will be in an uncomfortable situation. At some point, the club will decide to keep him on the roster or not. Sending him down will expose him to waivers. With his performance to date, it is difficult to envision a team claiming him. That would put him in Blue Jays limbo, not knowing if he is ever going to see playing time in the big leagues ever.
Whether it is through the waiver wire, or possible free agency, other teams are going to need to see what Alford can do. Right now, a late inning pinch runner only has so much value. I know baseball is a business, often based on the ‘what have you done for me lately’ mentality (and this is very much a touchy feely post coming from someone who really wants good things for a player) but for the sake of the player’s future, the Blue Jays need to give him a real chance to show what he can do. 2020 is the perfect time to do that, even if they feel they have a shot at the postseason.
*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.