Last night against the Red Sox, Luke Maile‘s strong play continued with a 3 for 4 performance that included a game-winning home run in the 12th inning.
Whether people like to admit it or not, Maile has surpassed Toronto’s $20-million/year catcher, Russell Martin, as the Blue Jays best back-stop. And the Blue Jays will need to make some adjustments in order to accommodate the vastly improved Maile.
Right from the get-go this season, Maile showed that he was a different kind of player at the plate. Even more impressive is that his improved offensive game hasn’t wavered much since then as he continues to maintain an AVG well above .300 (.339) and come up with big hits for the Blue Jays.
So what does Maile’s emergence as Toronto’s number one catcher mean for the Blue Jays moving forwards?
Well for one, Toronto definitely needs to start giving more playing time to Martin at 3rd base. Not only does a reprieve from playing catcher boost Martin’s offensive production, but with Donaldson’s less than 100% throwing arm, it provides him with a chance to spend more time recuperating at DH.
It’s a win-win-win situation for the Blue Jays. They play the stronger of their two catchers more often…Martin’s offensive game improves dramatically when playing 3rd base…and Donaldson gets some much needed rest for that shoulder while still keeping his potent bat in the line-up. As for Kendrys Morales, until he begins to show some signs of improvement with the bat, the DH spot in the line-up needs to be reserved for players far more worthy of it.
Some people may be holding onto the hope that Martin will by some miracle become the hitter he was earlier in his career. The only way we’ll be seeing any sort of improvement at the plate from Martin will be to start playing him more regularly at 3rd.