Jays will be quicker, more selective

If the Jays are planning on making a run at post-season play, how do they move Arencibia when their...

If the Jays are planning on making a run at post-season play, how do they move Arencibia when their next best will be John Buck and then Travis d'Arnaud, who has had half a season's experience at triple-A. (REUTERS)

Bob Elliott, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:23 PM ET

When the 12-player, Blue Jays-Miami Marlins deal is approved by commissioner Bud Selig on Monday, what kind of team can you expect to see at the Rogers Centre opening night against Terry Francona’s Cleveland Indians?

(Handing the lineup card to Francona will be a new Jays manager, someone not named Jim Tracy or Jim Riggleman.)

SPEED

Shortstop Jose Reyes stole 40 bases this season with the Marlins and has averaged under 51 stolen bases his previous five full seasons. He had 11 in 2009 when he played only 36 games for the New York Mets. Second baseman Emilio Bonifacio stole 30 for the Marlins, 70 in the previous two years. Left fielder Melky Cabrera was 13-for-18 stealing with the San Francisco Giants, after a 20-steal season with the Kansas City Royals in 2011.

Plus, the Jays have Rajai Davis, who stole 46 bases.

What, the Rogers Centre turf bother Reyes’ tender hamstrings, which restricted him to only 99 games his final three years with the Mets?

Well, any time we’ve heard a player complain about the turf, it’s been because his knee was aching or his back was causing him problems. We’re not saying the Rogers Centre turf is akin to walking on air ... but we don’t recall anyone complaining about hamstrings.

The Jays signed shortstop Alex Gonzalez, 33, with a knee problem, which had to be monitored in 2010. Gonzalez started 85 of the 89 games he was with the Jays before being dealt to the Atlanta Braves for Yunel Escobar.

The Jays are not the 1991-92 Montreal Expos that Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos grew up watching with Marquis Grissom (76 steals the first year, 78 the next) and Delino DeShields (51 and 56), but the Ontario Track club should be a lot better than, say, the 2009 Jays led by Alex Rios (19) and Vernon Wells (17) or the 2010 edition with Fred Lewis (17) and Jose Bautista (nine).

The combination of contact hitters with speed is more conducive to putting the ball in play.

FEWER STRIKOUTS

The Jays had too many swings and misses, striking out 1,251 times, fifth worse in the AL behind the Oakland A’s (1,387), Tampa Bay Rays (1,323, Baltimore Orioles (1,315) and the Seattle Mariners (1,259).

Gone is second baseman Kelly Johnson (159 strikeouts in 581 at-bats).

Gone from the starting lineup where he was 117 games due to trade is Rajai Davis, (102 whiffs, 487 at-bats), who will be in his back-up role again.

How one evaluator ranks the 2013 Jays hitters into groups when it comes to strikeouts:

Not often: Edwin Encarnacion, Maicer Izturis, Jose Bautista, Reyes and Cabrera.

Middle of the pack: Brett Lawrie and Bonafacio.

Way too much: Colby Ramus, Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia

“Putting the ball in play and not striking makes a big difference when you are facing a David Price,” he said. “What’s the sense of home run power, if you seldom make contact.”

J.P. ARENCIBIA WILL BE BEHIND THE PLATE

If the Jays are planning on making a run at post-season play, how do they move Arencibia when their next best will be John Buck and then Travis d’Arnaud, who has had half a season’s experience at triple-A.

Arencibia, 26, batted .233 with 18 homers, 56 RBIs, a .710 OPS in only 102 games due to a broken finger.

Buck, 31, is coming off a season with the Marlins which he hit .192 with 12 homers, 41 RBIs and a .644 OPS in 106 games.

Buck has been told he’ll start the season as the back-up.

Eliminating: Former Mets and Chicago White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said he has not heard from the Jays. Ditto for Don Baylor and John McLaren.

 

 

 

 


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