Yes, the time has finally arrived — Jose Reyes is set for his return to the Toronto Blue Jays after what is expected to be his last rehab game in the minors on Monday.
And considering that he’s posted a cool .400/.400/.440 line with six runs scored and two stolen bases over six games across two levels during this stint, I think it’d be fair to say that the excitement among Blue Jays nation is palpable … of course, winning 11 games in a row will do that too.
That said, what happens to the group of infielders that’s helped get the team to this point?
Between Munenori Kawasaki, Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio, (and I suppose Mark DeRosa too) the Blue Jays are facing what is a looming odd-man-out situation that will have to be settled potentially be the end of Monday. Fortunately for the team, they could simply let the numbers dictate their decision at this point.
The player facing the biggest potential change is Kawasaki, who will obviously not be manning shortstop for very much longer. But the fan favourite has played second base, and has posted a .281/.378/.531 triple-slash — yes, you’re reading that .909 OPS correctly — over the last two weeks, so he’s not going anywhere.
Ditto Izturis, who has a impressive .330/.360/.542 line of his own over that same span and has been a valued contributor to the team’s winning streak, so you’d have to think he’s likely to stay, especially when the team favoured him as the second baseman in Spring Training.
So that leaves Bonifacio, he of the .459 OPS over the last 14 days.
Perhaps sensing that this time may be coming up soon, even the struggling utility man demonstrated some signs of live on Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a successful bunt (finally!) and adding a stole base to boot. Now, one good game does not change his terrible .207/.233/.316 line, but is cutting ties with his $2.6 million salary going to be that simple, considering that he can also serve as a backup outfielder?
And the thing is, Reyes returning is just the beginning too.
What happens when Brett Lawrie is due to return to his usual spot at third? Considering that he was scuffling with a .209/.268/.374 triple slash line before landing on the DL, could the team really justify keeping that kind of production in their lineup when he’s healthy, especially when the expected backups are getting hot and the team in the middle of a potential franchise-best run?
These are all questions that will have to be answered in relative short order, and one thing is for sure: Alex Anthopolous is going to have some tough decisions to make — even if they happen to be the best kind.