The Toronto Blue Jays have an interesting choice to make regarding who will play right field for them in 2021
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With the Toronto Blue Jays landing George Springer, their outfield is a little crowded. Of course, this could change by the time Spring Training starts with one trade, but as of right now, Charlie Montoyo will have some figuring to do. CF is locked up by Springer, LF is where Lourdes Gurriel Jr.will call home, but RF is not so clear.
The Springer signing allows Gricuk to return to a corner outfield job, for which he is better suited. But, the fly in the ointment there is that RF is where Teoscar Hernandez has been relegated. This move was likely out of necessity since Toronto tried just about every other option they had (Billy McKinney, Derek Fisher) there and it didn’t work out.
The degree to which Teoscar “worked out” in right field is up for debate, but he put up -2 DRS, a UZR/150 of -9.2 and was worth -4 OAA. He was certainly their only choice, when you consider the offensive production they saw from him. Even the most skeptical observer (guilty!) surely has bought into whether Hernandez’ bat is for real. So, it made sense to play him in RF to the tune of 325 innings.
However, now that Grichuk has been bumped from CF, Hernandez shouldn’t be guaranteed the RF job. This might be a good time to point out that there are a number of people out there who feel Grichuk will be traded, but with his $10M/yr salary, hat may not be an easy slam dunk. And, we should also mention that Toronto is NOT trading Hernandez unless the return is huge. So, as of today, Grichuk will be encroaching on Hernandez’ glove time. He has to be.
For his career, Grichuk has put up -6 DRS, a UZR/150 of 4.3 and 16 OAA in 2196 career innings. Since 2016, he has never put up a negative OAA value. In isolation, he is the guy you want in RF over Hernandez. But, will Montoyo see it that way?
Of course, the DH spot is one that can, and will, be used as a way to cycle players in and out of the field and rest days. It is entirely possible that both guy see significant time in right. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr.kind of between positions and the relative flexibilty the roster has (there could be even more if the club signs a guy like Didi Gregorious, Marcus Semien or Kolten Wong) However, it says here that the majority of DH at bats should go to Teoscar Hernandez.
All of this means that someone like Jonathan Davis could be bumped off the roster, waiting for an injury. Davis would be the perfect late inning defensive substitution for the Blue Jays, but depending on the rest of the roster make up, they may not be able to carry a 5th outfielder. And, none of the above addresses whether a guy like Fisher, who is out of options, remains with the club.
What it does do is give Montoyo some options to play with. However, if the Toronto Blue Jays are serious about contending in 2021, they should not waste too much time playing around with obvious decisions. Teoscar Hernandez has cemented himself in the heart of this lineup, but as a DH. The right field job should go to Randal Grichuk…if he isn’t traded first.
*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.