In this regular Sportsnet.ca feature, Blue Jays Talk host Scott MacArthur answers some frequently-asked Blue Jays questions.
The time is nigh.
What time is that you, ask? We’ve been asking it weekly and today is no different so the usual question leads off this week’s instalment:
Q. When will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. arrive in Toronto?
A. Friday. Now, let me be clear: I am *not* reporting this, nor do I have any certain inside information. I have a feeling, though, and the feeling is based mainly on my widely-shared opinion, which is, "how much longer can this possibly drag out?"
It’s time for Vladdy to be here. Offensively, there’s nothing left for him to gain beneath the major league level.
Let’s discuss the defence. It’s going to be spotty; there will be moments which frustrate you. Just know that going in and hopefully it alleviates potential frustration. The bat will always be Vladdy’s calling card. Manager Charlie Montoyo wanted Vladdy to play well off the bag at third base, similar to how Brandon Drury positions himself, but if Vladdy struggles the team will have to adjust. For example, Drury is the lone man on the left side of the infield when the Blue Jays employ the exaggerated shift for left-handed pull hitters. I envision Freddy Galvis, or whoever is that day’s shortstop, being better suited to play Drury’s role. Alternatively, if Drury happens to be playing second base, roll him over to the left side to briefly reprise his old role.
Q. Is there anyone else at Buffalo worthy of a call up?
A. Yes. Cavan Biggio. As he progresses through the minor leagues, he hits better than he did at the previous level. Early this season, Biggio’s first at triple-A, he’s slashing .400/.491/.600 with two home runs, a triple, a double and more walks (nine) than strikeouts (eight). Biggio has started 12 games for the Bisons, eight at second base and four at first base. He acquitted himself well, briefly, in left field when Montoyo played him there in spring training.
Like Vladdy, Cavan is the son of a Hall of Famer. Craig Biggio starred for the Houston Astros for 20 seasons (1988-2007) and is perfectly suited to pass on the tricks of positional changes to his son. Craig started as a catcher, then became an outfielder (predominately a centre fielder) and played much of his later years as a second baseman.
I feel it’s always worth mentioning Bo Bichette in any farm system discussion. Bichette had started to heat up after a slow start with Buffalo but, unfortunately, he was hit on the hand by a pitch on Monday and the initial diagnosis is a break. If the second opinion Bichette’s seeking confirms the injury, he’ll be out a considerable period of time.
To be clear, if all things including health were equal, I would not have advocated for Bichette’s call up at this point.
Q. What happens to the Blue Jays’ starting rotation now that Matt Shoemaker is done for the season and Aaron Sanchez has a fingernail problem?
A. What happened to Matt Shoemaker totally sucks. As a devout San Francisco 49ers fan, I was reminded of the Jimmy Garoppolo ACL tear when I saw Shoemaker buckle at the end of that third inning rundown in Saturday’s game at Oakland. You could tell by Shoemaker’s reaction he knew something was badly wrong. I’m sure he felt a "pop."
As for Sanchez, I can’t imagine his frustration. Even if this split fingernail is a relatively short-term injury, it doesn’t change the fact this will linger in the back of Sanchez’s mind. It must be maddening.
The Blue Jays are blessed with a number of off days in the near future following a busy start to the season. So, through this weekend’s series with Oakland, go with this: Trent Thornton on Tuesday; Clay Buchholz on Wednesday; day off on Thursday; Marcus Stroman on Friday; some combination of Sam Gaviglio, Thomas Pannone and maybe an opener on Saturday; back to Thornton on Sunday.
After that it gets trickier.
I’d be making a call to Gio Gonzalez, who split from the Yankees this week when New York decided not to add him to the active roster.
Dallas Keuchel makes even more sense on a one-year deal. However, the Blue Jays likely would wait until after the draft in early June, not wishing to cough up the pick attached to Keuchel’s qualifying offer from the Astros. And if I’m Keuchel, do I really want to make a one-year bet on myself in the American League East? There are no promises that would go well.
I just don’t see anyone at triple-A at the moment. Sean Reid-Foley has struggled badly. Jacob Waguespack, who the Jays got from the Phillies for Aaron Loup? Maybe. But, at this point, only in a spot where a fifth starter is absolutely required.