As many of you may know, spring training is winding down and the rosters of each team are starting to take shape. Some teams have questions at one or two positions and some teams have questions at multiple positions. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, there are only questions at left field and first base. However, given the regular season is about to kick off in just over a week the fan base, the media and the players themselves need some answers and the question that is a hot topic as of late is at first base.
One move Shatkins (Shapiro-Atkins, if you don’t know by now) can pull off is signing Angel Pagan right the
fuck now to play left field. They need to stop fucking around and get it done. Then they can start Steve Pearce to first base as an everyday starter and BOOM the lineup issues are fixed.
…But, that’s in the perfect world and for damn sure we do not live in one. As a result of this imperfect world, I will focus on the players we have at our disposal now.
The starting first baseman should be Justin Smoak, not a popular choice in the eyes of the media and many fans. I mean we have sports radio personalities calling for Rowdy Tellez, one of the team’s top prospects to start the season at first base. Where the
fuck have these radio personalities been the last fucking 20 years? Any hardcore baseball fan knows that the team has a knack of exposing young talent to the big leagues prematurely and in turn hurting their development. Given the makeup of the Cleveland Indians, I am confident Shatkins will not let any outside pressure force their hand in building this team. Besides, Shatkins are the ones who decided to give Smoak a contract extension, I highly doubt they’re going to deviate from their plan and rush a prospect.
In defense of Justin Smoak, the man has not gotten consistent playing time during his tenure with the Jays. Some will say he hasn’t earned consistent playing time when looking at his statistical output with the bat. Since joining the Blue Jays in 2015 he is averaging 16 homers, 46 RBI while providing 66 hits in 298 at-bats. Those people could be right, despite those numbers I would put forward that maybe what Smoak needs is consistent playing time to build confidence since it is reported that he is making adjustments to his approach at the plate during this spring training. If you look at his time with the Seattle Mariners between 2012 to 2013, as per baseball-reference.com; he averaged 18 homers, 52 RBIs along with 104 hits in 455 at-bats. Not too terrible for a defensive wiz in a division riddled with pitcher’s parks and who was not considered a top bat for the team. These numbers are definitely not what is expected of the prototypical first baseman.
However, with the of rest of the talent, the Jays have in the lineup and with a little more consistent playing time, Justin Smoak’s shortcomings with the bat could be manageable for at least one more season. Also, don’t forget that the Jays have shown an ability to help veteran players realize their potential. So give Smoak a chance to succeed or fail and we will go from there, after all the season is long and ever-changing.