Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From the Ashes to the Hot Corner...Again

We remember thinking this sometime after Edwin Encarnacion was acquired by the Oakland A's this past offseason: NOW's when Edwin is going to go nuts and hit 40 bombs, and his iffy defense is won't be in the lede of every piece about him, and it's just a damn shame that we're not going to see that for ourselves.

Well now...

It took us a second to recognize what had happened with the announcement by the Jays that José Bautista would return to the outfield, and Edwin Encarnacion would make his way back to third on a full-time basis. Initially, we were certain that this portended five other deals and speedy callups of future stars, because that's just the way we think in the Anthopoulos Era.

(And as of late, haven't we all been wrong about the other shoes which never did drop?)

This shouldn't have come as a surprise, because manager John Farrell kept referring to the fact that he thought that Edwin could spell JoBau here and there at third. And once you get past the notion that "He's E5! He will ruin you with his defense!", it's pretty easy to make the leap that allows you to play him there every day.

Moving Juan Rivera's veteran, somewhat-disposable bat to the DH slot strengthens the outfield defense (a bit), while swapping EE in for JoBau at third shouldn't be a huge drop off. Once you balance it all out, it does appear as though they really have found their strongest lineup.

We, as Jays fans, have been spoiled by exceptional infield defense over the past five or six seasons. So much so that any downgrade in the field defensively is approached with trepidation. But we can live with a year of growing pains for Adam Lind at first, and the opportunity to see what a lighter, more dexterous Encarnacion has to offer in the field.

Or...to be a bit more pithy: We like it.

8 comments:

Peter DeMarco said...

They always say it's tough to become a good goalie if you don't play for a bad team that allows 50 shots a game. Maybe the same is true for Adam Lind at 1B. One year of EE at 3rd base will be good for his development.

PdcD said...

Adam Lind AL Gold Glove winner 2012. Book it.

Chad said...

At the risk of simplifying, how was the Babe in the field?

Nobody remembers without the aid of whatever site you are now Googling.

Anonymous said...

To be fair though, the people that did see The Babe play defence are either dead, or having conversations with their kettles and toasters.

gabriel said...

One note: both EE and Jose Bautista have had noticeably improved defensive numbers at third since coming to Toronto. All hail Butterfield!

Steve said...

Bringing Edwin back as a "1B/DH" and insisting on it until the last couple of games of spring training is perhaps the first gaffe the new regime has produced, albeit not a major one. Bautista has made it no secret he prefers RF and while Edwin seems happy just to play, the numbers show the Jays are better off with Edwin at 3B.

I can't fathom why the Jays couldn't have just gone into Spring training with an open mind and let it sort itself out. That's what they've done for the bullpen and I think that approach would have worked better in this situation too.

Tao of Stieb said...

I wouldn't call it a "gaffe". If they did it on purpose, then it was a pretty clever manner of tamping down cynicism about the move.

And if they actually really thought that, then changed their mind when they saw what their options were, then bully for them. That's smart management.

Steve said...

"Gaffe" or not, we're left with Jose getting just 9 innings at RF and Edwin 30 innings at 3B this spring training. I hope it doesn't affect their game.