It’s rare that Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos would speak to the media at all about an upcoming roster move, let alone not too subtle hints about a future call up date for the team’s top prospect, so you’ll have to forgive me for entering the world of not so wild speculation on when Brett Lawrie will be called up for his Big League debut.
When asked about the timing surrounding a future Lawrie callup, Anthopoulos said
Yes, he’s close. We’re getting to the point where he’s doing everything that we’ve asked. I was hoping he was going to force our hand and he’s starting to. So he’s very much in the conversation right now, he’s becoming more prominent.
Anthopoulos went on to reveal to the FAN 590′s Mike Wilner that his “personal philosophy is to debut hyped prospects on the road.” All you need is a team schedule to see that the Blue Jays will open a three game set with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. It’s not too much of a stretch to put the timing of Anthopoulos’ comments about Lawrie’s future call up together with his statement to Wilnder and come up with Friday as a likely debut.
It will be interesting to see what the corresponding roster move will be to make room for Lawrie. He of course, is not currently a member of the 40 man roster and so the Blue Jays may have to waive someone. My first thought would be Scott Richmond who has never proven to be more than a spare arm. However, I also wonder as to the likelihood of Edwin Encarnacion being designated for assignment. The third baseman / first baseman, who has deservedly fallen out of favour as a defensive option in Toronto, could be seen as more extraneous than normal with Juan Rivera playing well defensively at first base and Adam Lind set to receive more playing time at designated hitter when he comes off the Disabled List (as soon as Saturday).
As for the call up itself, I’m a little torn. From a financial standpoint, it seems silly to start Lawrie’s service time clock before it’s truly necessary during a year in which the team can’t be expected to compete. On the other hand, if a player has developed as far as they can at a lower level, it’s difficult to fault a team for putting that player in a position to develop any further.
Assuming that the Super Two rules stay the same through the next collective bargaining agreement and that Lawrie doesn’t have any options exercised, the call up would almost certainly put an additional year of arbitration in the prospect’s future.
The speculation surrounding Lawrie happens to coincide with Keith Law’s edict that the third baseman shall be considered the eleventh best prospect in baseball.