When I first heard that the Blue Jays were planning on using Devon Travis in left field this season, my immediate reaction was whether he’s even suited to such a position. His short, stocky build (5-9 190 lbs) doesn’t exactly fit the mold of your typical outfielder. Not to mention he isn’t the fastest of runners and has one of, if not the weakest arms on the Blue Jays.
That was my initial thought on this whole Travis to the outfield idea. After mulling it over however, this kind of drastic move might just be what both Travis and the Blue Jays are in need of.
With Freddy Galvis, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Brandon Drury (not to mention a whole slew of talented infield prospects), Travis is getting squeezed out of his regular duties at 2nd base. With so many quality infielders, I would have figured a player like Gurriel or Drury would have been pegged to make the switch to the outfield. After all, they have the build and tools of a player suited for the outfield. But it appears, for now at least, that Toronto would prefer keeping Gurriel and his greater potential in the infield where he’s most comfortable.
For three straight seasons now the Blue Jays have searched in vain for someone to become their starting left fielder. The hope is that one of Teoscar Hernandez, Billy McKinney, Anthony Alford, or Dalton Pompey would assume the everyday duties in left, but none of them have yet to prove ready for such a responsibility.
Rather than waste away on the bench as a back-up 2nd baseman, this move provides Travis with a better opportunity of re-establishing himself as the solid contact hitter he proved to be during his first two seasons. Toronto only has a couple of players anyway capable of hitting anywhere close to .300. A list that includes the soon-to-be-promoted Vladimir Guerrero, as well as Gurriel and Travis.
If Travis can regain his form at the plate that served him so well in 2015 and 2016, he might just find himself becoming the left fielder the Blue Jays have been long searching for.