Juan Rivera: First Baseman

Over the course of his career, Juan Rivera has played 109 innings at first base. Elsewhere, he’s played 5,551 innings, including one magical appearance at second base for the Los Angeles Angels in 2008. Tonight, he’ll add to his first base total.

Obviously, Rivera’s start in the infield is a direct response to Edwin Encarnacion’s two error night last evening, which could’ve just as easily been a five error night with a different score keeper (Encarnacion’s cheque to Dave Perkins is in the mail). While there was no question it was a rough outing for Encarnacion, I don’t necessarily understand exactly what manager John Farrell expects to accomplish by playing someone who didn’t have the benefit of a Spring Training and early part of the season almost completely dedicated to first base, but we shall see.

The greater sin here is the ridiculousness of the Blue Jays roster management, which saw them send a left fielder to Triple A while calling up a first baseman, then send him down when their second baseman comes off the DL. When their starting first baseman gets injured, they call up a different left fielder instead of the first baseman that was just up. Oy!

In the grand scheme of things, Rivera’s start tonight at first base isn’t that big of a deal. Both Rivera and Encarnacion aren’t likely to be major parts of this team’s future so using or misusing them has no long term implications. However, if it’s any indication to the potential flightiness of Farrell’s lineup composition, there’s reason to be somewhat concerned.

Despite last night’s series of follies, Encarnacion remains the best option to start at first base with Adam Lind injured. This is the hard truth for a team that didn’t acquire a free agent first baseman this offseason and brought Eric Thames up instead of an actual injury replacement when Lind went down.

We’ll see tonight if the comedy of errors continues with Rivera as the team’s number three.

Speaking of tonight, join us at Getting Blanked around 6:30 PM this evening for a pregame live stream, where we’ll discuss some issues surrounding the Blue Jays and answer any questions you throw our way on Twitter (@DustinParkes and @AndrewStoeten).

Updated: Things aren’t going to get easier any time soon.

Comments (14)

  1. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine that he could possibly be any worse than what we witnessed last night.

  2. Here’s a thought. With Nix back in the lineup, why not try Johny-Mac at 1st. Sure he normally plays on the left side of the infield, but I’m sure he’d be a better option than Rivera, no?

  3. If you’re going to give up the offense it takes to have Johnny Mac in the lineup, it’d be a waste to play him at first base.

  4. As bad as Encarnacion was last night, he really should be starting at first tonight. There is no better option on this team. Rivera is NOT a better option. Encarnacion has his issues, but he is quick with his hands and can snare the ball. Rivera does not have the same talent. If I’m Rivera I’m dying to get off this team.

  5. Admiddtely, neither is a good option (Lind we miss you!), but they’re pretty similar this year

    McDonald’s 2011 – .211/.276/.326 & a 256 wOBA
    Rivera’s 2011 – .203/.295/.266 & a 260 wOBA

    I’m thinking McDonald would be a better choice due to pretty similar splits (slightly lower OBP, but better SLG), but more than anything, I trust McDonald’s defense over Rivera’s at first.

    Just my $0.02 anyway. Obviously neither is a long-term solution.

  6. *Admittedly


  7. This might be a reason to have kept Napoli instead of trading him for Francisco.

  8. I’ll have many tomatoes thrown at me, but I’d rather have Rivera on my team than Encarnacion anytime. Despite Rivera looking like a frowning-chubby-wobble factory on the field, he just seems to have more professional preparation than E5″+200 more”. Rivera erased all my hate for him when he threw out a runner to home during the Detroit series. It tells me that he stays more prepared despite the cat-calls. He might be in a slump now (again), but remember what he did in Minnesota when Rick needed some runs.

  9. This just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what you are thinking, a 162 game season is going to throw some major curves at you… We’re lucky enought to be 21-21 right now.

    Farrel is right to remind the fan-base that we’re only 42 games in to the season so far… p.s. also itching for the moment (hopefully soon) when i visit this website and the headline says “Lawrie called to the Bigs”…”He really plays an exciting style of baseball and has a huge buzz behind him now.

  10. P.S.S. Get well soon, Adam Lind.

  11. Brunt doesn’t think Edwin will ever play on the field for the Blue Jays again.

    Also, Farrell said Lind’s back issues are more related to him playing first than from taking swings. So that could be a concern.

  12. I`m confused. Why is EE a better option at first than Rivera? With all due respect, we have no idea who the better option there is.

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