Friday, October 5, 2012

The Mystery at Second Base

At this point, we can all agree that the Kelly Johnson project in Toronto has been a failure, and that his time playing for the Blue Jays is over, at least I hope you think that way.

Kelly is approaching the franchise record for single season strikeouts(at the time of this writing). He plays defense rather half-heartedly. His demeanor is almost as if he doesn’t want to be playing professional baseball. He plays with little passion, and passion is something that this era of the Blue Jays is built around. (Not everyone is Brett Lawrie, but you guys get the point.) Now, enough ranting about how bad Kelly Johnson has been with the Jays, I think we have all heard it enough, I’m here to crack the case at second base.

There are a few options at 2nd next year for the Blue Jays, but none of them involve a superstar. There isn’t too much elite talent out there this year, but I do think I have the best solution for this problem right now.

The most talked about option is to start Adeiny Hechavarria next year. I, for one do not want this to happen. Adeiny Hechavarria is a plus plus defender. There’s no doubt about that, but he needs one more year in Buffalo, his bat isn’t very productive right now, regardless of how much Buck and Pat Tabler praise how much progress he has made. I am not expecting him to ever be a star with the bat, but I don’t think he’s ready for Major League pitching. His average was inflated in AAA this year, playing in the PCL, and I think a year in Buffalo will be very telling.

Another thing about Hechavarria is, that although us fans love him, he is not as loved by scouts. They believe his bat is a huge liability, and he can only start in a very good lineup, which fortunately, we have. Hech wasn’t even on the Baseball America Blue Jays top 10 prospects list, which tells you a lot, considering that in the same feature, they ranked him the best defensive infielder in the system. When SBNation’s “Minor League Ball” ranked the Jays prospects before the season, Hechavarria was ranked 17th, behind the likes of Matt Dean, Joseph Musgrove, Dwight Smith Jr, and Jacob Anderson, the praise isn’t too high. So, Hechavarria at second base next year is a big no from me.

Some fans seem to like Marco Scutaro, and I like him as well, but with the way he is playing right now, his price will go through the roof. I think we have to realize that it is Marco Scutaro we are talking about. The guy will never be the answer at a specific position for a full year, in my humble opinion. So, is Scutaro the answer? Nope.

There are some 2nd basemen that are free agents this year, like Mike Fontenot, Jeff Keppinger, and Jose Lopez, but they are all subpar players at best, and deserve nothing more than a bench role.

Now we get to Mr. 2013 Blue Jays Second baseman. He hasn’t shown up in the stat sheet too often this year, but that’s only because he hasn’t played an inning this season, his name is Freddy Sanchez. Freddy is our savior! Freddy Sanchez is a career .297 hitter, with a career .335 OBP. That would be significantly better than Kelly Johnson. Sanchez’s career OPS is .748, which, for a second baseman is stellar. He plays very solid defense, and plays with some real passion. He would bring that “veteran leadership,” to the clubhouse, along with some World Series experience. He is also very consistent, which would be a breath of fresh air, after a year of Kelly Johnson. Sanchez can also bridge the gap for the real arrival of Adeiny Hechavarria. Coming off a season in which he didn’t play, he should be relatively cheap. Oh yeah, and he has won a batting title and is a 3 time All Star.

So, AA, now it’s your job. Sign Freddy Sanchez to a 1-year deal. You will not regret it.

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