Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Troy Tulowitzki, Devon Travis, Aledmys Diaz, Brandon Drury, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Yangervis Solarte, and Josh Donaldson. It’s a pretty impressive list of players who can play 2nd base, shortstop, or 3rd base for the Blue Jays. It’s also far more players than any one team would ever need to cover just three infield positions.
This off-season (barring any serious injuries), Toronto will have to start making some difficult decisions as to who on this list stays, and who goes…
Just last winter the Blue Jays went out and acquired Diaz and Solarte to provide them with emergency infield depth for the oft-injured Travis, Tulowitzki, and Donaldson. The thing is, now that Gurriel has established himself as a potential star, along with Guerrero’s pending arrival, Toronto no longer has nearly as much need for Diaz or Solarte.
When looking at the aforementioned list of infielders, how many of these players do the Blue Jays actually need to cover themselves at 2B, SS, and 3B? The answer is probably no more than five. And considering that none of these players belong in the minor leagues, three of them likely won’t be with Toronto next season. The big question is who?
If Tulowitzki is healthy (and that’s still a pretty big ‘if’), with that unmovable contract of his, he’s pretty much a lock to be on the 25-man roster come opening day. Then there’s Gurriel and Guerrero, who should most certainly be starting for the Blue Jays to begin the year. The one possibility of that not happening is if Toronto decides to keep Guerrero in the minors for the first few weeks of the season as a means to squeeze an additional year of service time out of their burgeoning superstar. As for Donaldson, let’s assume he signs elsewhere. It doesn’t make much sense to bring him back given his injury concerns, contract expectations, and the fact the Blue Jays already have the best prospect in baseball who happens to also play 3rd base.
That leaves Travis, Drury, Diaz, and Solarte to fill those last two spots of the projected five we figured were needed to cover 2B/SS/3B. It pains me to say it, but seeing as Travis can’t play anywhere but 2B, he’s more than likely one of the infielders Toronto moves after the conclusion of the season. It’s a shame really. When he’s on, he’s a .300 hitter. The problem with Travis, is when he struggles to do what he’s best at (hitting for contact), his importance to the team declines dramatically on account of his limitations defensively.
Considering that Drury and Diaz are both younger and more athletic than Solarte, chances are Toronto tries to move him sometime soon. In case something were to happen to Tulowitzki, Toronto will need more than just one player (Gurriel) who’s capable of playing shortstop. For this reason, it would probably be better for the Blue Jays to hold onto Diaz rather than Travis or Solarte.