Friday, March 10, 2017

Buddy can you spare a left fielder?

Is this guy available?

The tweet from Arden Zwelling came as a surprise.

Just a few days ago the expectations were that the, newly signed, Steve Pearce would play the majority of time in left field with Carrera-Upton providing bench strength. Pearce confirmed this himself, just a few days ago. But something happened on the way to the Forum. It seems Pearce isn't that ready. The schedule, according to Zwelling, is for Pearce to continue to DH, then on March 19th, take the field at first base for a few games. If everything goes well, he'll take the left field position and be evaluated.

On September 21,2016 Steve underwent surgery to fix the flexor tendons in his arm. While no ligaments were touched, rehab was expected to take 4 to 6 months. March 21st is the 6th month anniversary of the surgery. Whether the Jays are exercising caution or perhaps the arm isn't responding to rehab as well as expected, it seems that, right now, Pearce won't be the Jays opening day left fielder.

The Jays 2015 opening day starting center fielder, Dalton Pompey, is the player most fans are wondering about. After a serious case of nerves in his debut, it appeared that he needed more seasoning. Despite being a September call up, used mostly to pinch run, the organization seems to be less than confident with the 5 tool player. Perhaps Shapiro and the team doesn't see a future MLB player? More of a AAAA player? Or does he need more development time? Has the rumoured interference of his father soured the relationship? Did the less than stellar performance in Buffalo prove that Pompey isn't ready yet? Does the fact that he has options and provides depth in case of injury factor into the equation? This story will need to be played out to find the answers.

At a recent Pitchtalks, Richard Griffin sat on stage and calmly declared that Lourdes Gourriel will be the Jays starting left fielder by June 2017. He last played in 2015, at age 21, posting an OPS of .967. He is mentioned mostly as a shortstop but according to this Baseball Reference page, he played most of his games in, you guessed it, left field. A player of impeccable pedigree, it was considered a coup by Shapiro when Lourdes was signed to a 22 million, 7 year deal, with an opt out as he reaches his arb eligible years. It's not implausible that the organization values Gourriel more than Pompey.

So with questions about Pearce's arm being 100%, Pompey's development and Gourriel's readiness, it seems that the fall back will be Carrera/Upton to start the 2017 season. I sorta understand with the "let's see how this all develops" stance.

And while you're thinking, why didn't they just sign Fowler? Maybe dream that all these young players do progress towards their ceiling and your 2019 outfield might consist of  Pompey, Gourriel and Alford. I might enjoy watching that.

Off topic fun. You can't make this up.