Trying something new with the Assorted Weekend Thoughts this week: it’ll come at you as a series of smaller posts on a mostly-single topic (i.e. what normally would have gone under one sub-heading), rather than one big slog through it all that I don’t publish until 4:45 PM. Let’s see how this works, shall we?

The Jays found themselves with something of a roster crunch last night, when it was learned that Brett Lawrie had finished his rehab assignment and was ready to return to the club. This, of course, was terrific news both offensively and defensively for the Jays, but it meant that someone currently on the 25-man roster had to go.

That someone, it turns out, was Steve Tolleson, who the club announced this morning had finally been placed on the paternity list, what seems like several months after we first learned his wife was about to give birth.

What won’t take several months, however, is Tolleson’s return. According to the club’s press release on the matter he’ll be away from the club for a minimum of one day and a maximum of three. What the hell happens after that? Well… it’s not entirely clear just yet, and the answer isn’t a particularly easy one — barring someone getting injured in the next couple of days, be it of the real or imagined variety.

Currently the club has seven relievers, and that likely isn’t to change — or, knowing the Jays, if it is, they’re more likely to go to eight — so we’re looking at a position player going down.

Lawrie doesn’t need a platoon partner — he’s actually been better against same-sided pitching both this year and over the course of his career — and because of his range and athleticism is obviously not going to sit for anyone, defensively. Juan Francisco surely gets to stay, at least until Adam Lind returns, as the club’s first baseman or DH against right-handed pitching. Danny Valencia, with his career 139 wRC+ against left-handers will have a spot in the lineup against them, perhaps at DH or first base, with Steve Tolleson (a 132 wRC+ in the split) likely playing second most of the time.

There is some flexibility in how those guys are used, but those four — Lawrie, Francisco, Valencia, Tolleson — would seem to be safe now. That means one of Ryan Goins, Munenori Kawasaki, Nolan Reimold, or Anthony Gose will need to go when Tolleson is back.

Against lefties, Reimold ought to get into the action as DH, with Valencia at first and Tolleson at second. Against right-handed pitching the club would likely be best with Francisco and Jose Bautista at either first or DH, Gose in right, and either Kawasaki or Goins at second base.

Reimold’s platoon splits are pretty even, so he could be in the lineup against right-handers instead of Gose, and Gose does have options, so he could be sent down. But so does Ryan Goins, and Kawasaki can definitely hold down his spot — though not with the same level of defence — until rosters expand in September.

If it’s even his spot, that is.

John Lott tweets a picture of the lineup card for tonight, and Brett Lawrie is indeed in at third base against O’s righty Bud Norris. Colby Rasmus is in the doghouse and in at DH, with Gose in centre, and Kawasaki playing second base. Perhaps an indication of the move to come? Despite chatter about Goins’ improvements since his return from Buffalo, after just two hits in Houston he’s down to a wRC+ of 70, with a .277/.277/.362 slash line over his 13 games back in the bigs.

The defence sure still looks good, but putting up that line and still having options left? I think John Gibbons is tipping the club’s hand with the lineup he’s put out there tonight. I think it’s the right move, too. (Plus, though he offers no power, and his wRC+ and wOBA suffer for it, Kawasaki has a .330 on-base against right-handers this year. I can live with that?)

Comments (36)

  1. I think this is the best move. Kawa is cool as fuck and though I like Goins, he obviously isn’t as good as he looked for those 5 games.

    This lineup seems to have gotten so much deeper and more platoonable now, which is great. We have a couple of guys who mash leftys and a whole bunch who mash righties. Good mix to have, especially when people were worried about the lack of bench depth.
    Reimold and Valencia were great pickups.

  2. Agreed. While not exactly the same type of player, it seems to me that you’d use Kawasaki and Goins exactly the same way, and with the Lawrie back it doesn’t seem like there’s a time when you’d want to have both of them in the lineup.

  3. I’ll send down Valencia if Gibbons keeps him in against RHP like he did for the final out of game 2 in Houston. Seriously why wasn’t there more comments about that/

  4. So short term Goins looks like the smart decision. But more difficult decisions are coming with EE and Lind approaching full health.

    Which two players do you axe?

    • Kawa would have to be one. You’d have to consider Juan as well. I assume he’d have to pass through waivers, though?

    • If it’s me. I send Goins down once Tolleson comes back. I prefer Kawa’s good OBP and average fielding to Goins excellent fielder but shite offense.
      When EE comes back it’s Reymold’s turn to go.
      When Lind comes back…. it’s probably Jenkins, but if they want to keep the pitching then… I dunno… Maybe that’s the end of the line for Fat Juan?

      • Why is anyone even considering keeping Juan around? He hits a homerun every now and then, but has no place on the team with Lind and EE back, both of whom play his position(s).

        • Because it is tough to find power and players with an OPS over .800.

        • I hear ya, but I think he still has value in a platoon situation.

          Kinda nice to actually have a bunch of players you’d hate to see go, though, innit?

        • Because he’s currently quite passable and he might turn into something special very soon. (I don’t mean Bautista-level special. But it doesn’t seem like he’s doing the game theory at the plate quite right, and it looks like he’s been tweaking his approach. He can be better than he currently is without any physical or mechanical changes, and it might not take all that long.)

          If you’re about to bray “we’re trying to win, not develop players” as if they were mutually exclusive objectives, please don’t. Good teams get better, not worse, when their players improve.

      • For me, the bench would probably be:

        Thole – Because you have to

        Tolleson/Francisco- Tolleson at 2B, Lawrie at 3B against lefties, Francisco at 3B and Lawrie at 2B against righties. I feel like there’s no way Francisco doesn’t get claimed if the Jays try to send him down, and I like the idea of having a much cheaper left-handed DH option if the Jays decide not to pick up Adam Lind’s $9 million option.

        Gose – Great pinch runner and the only guy on the team that can play all four outfield

        Valencia – Seems like a much better platoon partner for Lind than Reimold, who doesn’t really have a platoon split at all.

        • … Or three outfield spots. However many there are, you can comfortably play Gose in any one of them. That’s what I’m trying to say.

          • “Starting at middle left centre field, number 8, Anthony Gose!”

            Blurnsball inches ever closer to reality!

    • I’m guessing Gose and Kawasaki. But yeah, those will be tough decisions.

  5. Okay that’s it. I hereby request email alerts when a new post is up. I am tired of babbling on in old comment sections and feeling oh so alone.

  6. Goins def would be the one to go down. Then the Jays can actually start using the Valencia/Juan split as it should be.

    When EE or Lind come back, Kawa most likely goes down.

    Those guys will be back up in a few weeks anyway once rosters expand. I wouldnt expose Juan to waivers, someone will take a gamble on him, and he’s still mashing righties.

  7. Ultimate Warrior is back and has a hunger for small, black and orange coloured birds.

  8. Some mildly positive EE news from the great Davidi….

  9. There’s talk of more suspensions coming out of the Biogenesis arrests today.

    I shouldn’t be nervous, should I?

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