The Toronto Blue Jays will face some tough decisions once shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Casey Janssen return.
With the offense exploding on Sunday afternoon (the Kevin Seitzer philosophy seems to be working) and the pitching staff holding down the fort, the pieces are now beginning to fall into place. The main questions the team is facing are: who will be the odd man out when Reyes is inserted back into the lineup; Ryan Goins or Jonathan Diaz? Also, with Sergio Santos performing at a high level, does Janssen immediately regain his job?
Toronto has recently made a series of moves; Maicer Izturis has landed on the DL, a list J.A. Happ has since been activated from (now in a bullpen role), and fan favorite Munenori Kawasaki has been called up. Both infielders seem to be in the clear from packing their bags, as backup catcher Erik Kratz has been sent down.
The issue now becomes the playing time devoted to each. Goins is batting a paltry .083, with an even more embarrassing .120 OBP. Diaz doesn’t get off the hook that easily however, as his .211 BA and .611 OPS doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either. The difference is the quality of the at-bats, which Diaz wins by a landslide.
Defense is where each has paid their bills, but again, Diaz’s pedigree of defensive wizardry has outshined the Blue Jays’ original choice at second base. I’m afraid this just might be the beginning of the end for Goins, at least for 2014. Look for a Kawasaki-Diaz split going forward.
As for the squad’s stopper, does the old adage that one shouldn’t lose their job to injury apply in this scenario? This has a chance to get ugly as the season goes along. It’s ever so tempting to promote Santos to full-time duty and take away the interim closer tag considering how nasty his slider can be, but his checkered injury past brings up red flags. Still, the power righty has never received a full-blown chance at the job, and he could achieve greatness with his arsenal.
There is that elephant in the room called loyalty however, as Janssen was one of the lone shining stars of a dismal 2013 season. He is not your “traditional” closer by any means, but it’s also what aids his performance. Santos’ slider has the bigger impact, but Janssen’s cutter is marvelled at across MLB.
A closer by committee? Nah, that would be the easy way out. The team should go with what they’ve got here. Janssen should not only slide right back in, but he also deserves the gig. At least fans know now that Santos is ready and willing to finally break out. The Jays actually caught a break when a Santos trade fell apart at the last minute in the offseason.