After the Toronto Blue Jays were swept away by the Atlanta Braves in a series that was more painful to watch than the movie Swept Away, manager John Farrell told the media that the team needed a spark. I assumed that by spark, Farrell meant an entirely different lineup of hitters that didn’t include Corey Patterson, Aaron Hill, Rajai Davis, Jayson Nix, Juan Rivera, Edwin Encarnacion and Mike McCoy. In which case, I was very much inclined to agree.

However, what Farrell was actually referring to was Eric Thames. Yes, the dreamy young left handed batter who was getting on base at Triple A 42% of the time and had already hit 36 extra base hits in only 241 plate appearances, will be called upon to ignite an offense that isn’t so much slumping as it is evening out the numbers that measure where its true talent level likely resides.

By giving Thames regular playing time in left field, right field and at designated hitter, the Jays will be forced to make room for him by moving Jose Bautista back to third base where the team envisioned the slugger playing before the season began. It makes sense. As uninspiring as the Jays outfield options outside of Bautista are, they almost can’t help but do better than the .530 OPS that Blue Jays third basemen have put up this season.

Thames made his solid but unspectacular Major League debut earlier this year, maintaining his on base ability, but completely losing his talents for extra base hits. My heartfelt analysis of his call up: Why not?

As long as he’s going to get regular playing time and management is of the belief that acclimatizing himself to Major League pitching is more beneficial to Thames’ development than beating up on Triple A hurlers, by all means, put him on the active roster. Travis Snider and Brett Lawrie, the players ahead of Thames and other guys like David Cooper and Adam Loewen, are both injured, so again, why not?

It’s interesting to speculate how the Blue Jays starting lineup might look when the season finishes in late September. My guess is that it will look something like this:

  • C: J.P. Arencibia
  • 1B: Adam Lind
  • 2B: Aaron Hill
  • 3B: Brett Lawrie
  • SS: Yunel Escobar
  • LF: Travis Snider
  • CF: Rajai Davis
  • RF: Jose Bautista
  • DH: Eric Thames

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the team, assuming it gets/remains healthy, begins shedding players like Patterson, Encarnacion, Rivera and Nix, as soon as Lawrie is ready to join the 40 man roster, also assuming that none of those players are moved prior to the trade deadline. As we’re all aware a spark is used to ignite a fire. Thames’ call up could be the catalyst for burning up the current lineup cards.

And The Rest

Speaking of Brett Lawrie’s call up, it’s not likely to take place until at least August as the broken bones in his hand haven’t allowed him to grip a baseball bat yet. In my cynical mind, I’d consider not calling him at all this season, then sending him down to Triple A to start next year and call him up for good after ten days. That bit of roster manipulation would push Lawrie’s eventual free agency back an entire year.

Tim Lincecum struck out twelve dudes last night. His last few starts were just a bump in the road. Right? Right? Tell me I’m right.

It’s the latest bi-monthly article that focuses on how the Rays need to get out of Tampa Bay.

After I worked so hard trying to figure out when Roy Halladay would start for the Phillies during their trip to Toronto next weekend, Roy Oswalt has to go out and ruin it. I’m sure he feels appropriately bad for me as weighs the future of his career.

I’ve been watching my fair share of Pittsburgh Pirates games this year, and it’s been pretty difficult to not like second baseman Neil Walker. It gets even more difficult when he says stuff like this after he’s asked about his RBI production:

I’m hitting in the middle of the order behind guys like Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata, Garrett Jones, whoever. If I have guys hitting in front of me who are putting up on-base percentages of .350 to .400, I’m going to get a lot of opportunities.

You can ignore this article if you’d like, but don’t you dare not enjoy the birthday candle in the photo. That’s unabashed awesomeness.

Don’t expect FOX to back Frank McCourt if the much maligned owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers puts the team into bankruptcy.

Bryce Harper and Mike Trout will both be playing in the Futures Game at this year’s All-Star Game in Arizona.

After Jim Riggleman’s surprise resignation, John McLaren will be the interim manager of the Washington Nationals.

Josh Hamilton talks about why brown eyed players are the new market inefficiency.

More writing about interleague play and its lasting effect.

Joe Nathan is back, baby.

Comments (10)

  1. Manny Machado playing in the Futures game too? Prospect porn overdose!

  2. There’s got to be a better solution than turning our franchise RF (a guy who has become well known as an OF, as his AS votes would indicate) into a stopgap 3B. It makes even less sense that they’ve decided to do this in a lost season, a season in which they’ve spent three months content with scrubs comprising half the lineup.

    If they really don’t want Jayson Nix/Mike McCoy/Edwin Encarnacion to play 3B for them for the next two months, go out and find some other replacement level player to play the position. It’s not like winning matters, so why disrespect Bautista in the process? The whole world is treating him like a star, but his own team can’t do the same? It seems I’m like the only person that cares about this.

    When Lawrie returns, the optics of a rookie pushing our best player off 3B (where he could conceivably be succeeding) will also look bad. I don’t see the point.

  3. Albert Pujols played third base this year on multiple occasions. As long as they do it the right way: ask Bautista, don’t tell him, I can’t see a problem.

  4. “Travis Snider and Brett Lawrie, the players ahead of Thames and other guys like David Cooper and Adam Loewen, are both injured, so again, why not?”
    Awkwardly phrased. Snider and Lawrie are hurt. Snider, though, is seemingly more short term (5-15 days barring unforeseen events). Cooper and Loewen, on the other hand, are not. In fact, in his last 4 starts, Cooper has blasted 3 home runs – doubling his season total – he now trails Chris Woodward by only 1!

  5. Yeah, but LaRussa is well known for his eccentric and bizarre moves (and moving Pujols to third would most certainly qualify).

    Of course Bautista isn’t going to deny them (he already agreed to play 3rd base in ST and he wants to win more games as much as anybody), but I only wonder how he really feels about it.

    Bautista is not just some utility guy, anymore. He’s a legitimate star (and as the AS vote suggests, perhaps the biggest star in all of baseball). Stars don’t switch positions in this league mid-season.

  6. I don’t think that Larry Dierker article on Interleague Play could have more cliches if Crash Davis wrote it.

  7. Thank God we have Wagman clarifying things for us. “Awkwardly phrased.” Are you marking Parkes’ posts now?

  8. That Interleague article was terrible. I could only get two paragraphs into it. I’m pretty sure we all get it by now.

  9. There’s nothing wrong with Bautista moving. I’m sure he sees it as a stopgap move, and one that will help the team. If he agrees with Romero’s Monday comments (and his calling them the truth certainly implies he does), I’m sure he’d be very happy to get somebody else who can hit in the lineup. He was happy about the move to RF, but I bet he’s just as happy to move now until Lawrie is healed if it means somebody other than a .176 hitter gets regular at bats.

  10. On Halladay’s return. As of now, with Oswalt going down and a day off on Monday, it’s likely that the Phillies will go back to Lee on normal rest on Tuesday; then go Worley and Hamels on Wednesday and Thursday; then go back to Halladay Friday night in Toronto. The best part? I’ll be in Toronto that night….WHOOOO!!!!!

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