Watching the Blue Jays play the Orioles today I was struck by a big question which, I’m sure, the Blue Jays management is also wrangling with.
In today’s game, Chris Getz, signed by the Blue Jays to a minor league contract this offseason, had a trio of hits (a single, double and triple) and provided some offensive spark to the Blue Jays. However, there were two plays that he didn’t make (but wasn’t charged with an error) in the field.
UPDATE: Since publishing the article, Getz was charged with an error on a play in the eighth inning.
The first was a slow roller in the third inning up the middle that he just didn’t to first in time and the second was a ducksnort into shallow center field. The question that I ask here is whether Goins gets either or both of those balls.
Clearly, with the amount of pop he showed with the bat, Getz’s offensive contributions in the game outweighed the damage done by those two missed plays. How does management view the same event? Will the Blue Jays be willing to give Getz the job if he shows much more with the bat than Ryan Goins does?
Are the Jays going to do something similar to what they did in 2012 with the “competition” for the left field spot between Travis Snider and Eric Thames? Despite a better spring in which he hit four home runs and drove in 16 runs, Snider was sent back to the minors and Thames, who wasn’t bad but didn’t do anything to beat Snider for the job, broke camp with the club. Rather than taking the guy with more upside (Snider) and letting him grow into the role, the Blue Jays went with the incumbent (Thames).
Is the 2014 battle for second base going to be a similar story with a similar outcome as the battle for left field in 2012? Goins is the incumbent with underwhelming career numbers at the plate while Getz has more major league experience but without a huge amount of success either with a .619 career OPS. Goins had an OPS of .609 in his stint in the big leagues last year.
Goins, the incumbent, may not have a lot of offensive upside but the Blue Jays (and Blue Jays fans) fell in love with his glove, which solidified the infield defense as he joined Reyes and Lawrie for the last part of the season. The questions that come up are fairly straight forward: How much offense are the Blue Jays willing to give up for great defense? Will the Blue Jays take spring training success with a grain of salt? While Goins hasn’t shown much so far, we’re only four games into the Grapefruit League season. If Goins doesn’t hit any better or looks overmatched at the plate do they give him the job if Getz is mashing all spring long?
My instincts are telling me that Goins has the job no matter what. While the Blue Jays are saying that he’s the front runner but that there’s still a competition, I have a feeling that Goins will be the guy in the lineup when the Blue Jays open the season in Tampa on March 31.
Don’t forget about The 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook, available March 31 as an ebook at Smashwords.com, Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo and other fine retailers for $7.99. Come back in early March for pre-order information.