So, you think Moises Sierra wants to make a case for a roster spot with the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays or what?
Though the team’s outfield is largely set for next season with Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista presumably slated to reprise their roles (though all three are health question marks at this point), there is a bit of a competition for a fourth — and perhaps fifth outfielder to join them next year.
And if you were to look at his numbers through his 30 games and 102 PA this season, you might say that Sierra is a front-runner over the likes of Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis. In fact, his .297/.363/.495 triple-slash might even make the 32-year old Davis outright expendable, as the team could just let him walk away in free agency.
In some ways, that .857 OPS he’s exhibited this season encapsulates all of his positives. He’s young, talented and toolsy, and if he can maintain his improved plate discipline from September going forward, he deserves a shot.
What the numbers don’t tell you, however, is the biggest reason why he might end up being the odd man out: he’s not very good at playing baseball.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to any Blue Jays fans who have watched the outfielder over his two brief stints in the majors thus far. Call it a lack of focus, laziness — it doesn’t matter, really. The point is that any time Sierra is on the field for the bluebirds, he’s a wildcard … and that’s putting it nicely.
Does he have a rocket arm? Absolutely. Does he always know where he’s throwing to? Well …
The same can be said about his fielding, baserunning, and just what you’d probably call general baseball acumen. At 24-years old and having been a professional since 2007, you’d think he’d have tightened some of these issues by now. However, his inability to play the game at a big league level is still wildly apparent at times, and I can only imagine that it must be source of frustration for the team, given the amount of talent he demonstrates.
In short, Sierra is capable of being a game-changer in the best and worst ways. As the team doesn’t really have a way to find the regular playing time for him that will help keep him focused, he might be destined for the minors.
The problem with that, though, is the fact that he’s already had two full seasons at triple-A already, and though his results weren’t particularly great this season in Buffalo, there just isn’t too much left for him to prove down in the minors. The Blue Jays could hope that one more season might cure some of his … inconsistent play, but if he doesn’t do so in his age-25 season, then what?
Much of his future will be determined by what happens with Davis (and Adam Lind as well) in the offseason, but given Gose’s versatility and speed despite a lack of on-base ability (Rajai Jr., basically), he still has as much upside as Sierra going forward without the added wrinkle of frequent mental errors.
It would not be surprising for Toronto to leverage one of these outfielders in a trade his offseason, and given his surge at the plate but murky future, Sierra maybe be the best candidate for it.