Toronto Blue Jays: No Jose Reyes, No Problem?


Toronto Blue Jays: No Jose Reyes, No Problem?

I get it: many Toronto Blue Jays fans are disappointed in Jose Reyes.

Apr 10, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes (7) looks to throw to first base after fielding a ground ball by Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Delmon Young (not pictured) in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Since joining the team in 2013, it seems he’s always been one strong burst of wind away from the disabled list. The fact he wasn’t injured during this season’s opening game was cause for celebration.

Of course, this wasn’t what we expected from the all-star shortstop when the Jays first acquired him.

We thought the Jays had acquired a lightning quick, dependable fielder with some pop in his bat. We thought the Jays had acquired the ultimate leadoff man for a team built around power – someone who could easily and regularly reach first base, then simply wait for Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion to send him home with one mighty swing of the bat.

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  • Unfortunately, the reality has been a string of injuries that have greatly limited Reyes’ impact in Toronto. Add the fact he’s now approaching 32 years old and Reyes’ days of being an impact player may actually be over. We’re stuck with him and he’s seems stuck on the disabled list – a truly frustrating situation.

    Reyes’ latest injury is a cracked rib that will keep him out of this weekend’s series against the Atlanta Braves at the very least. How the injury happened or when it happened are secondary questions. He’s injured once again and the Jays have to deal with it.

    This, however, is where things have been easier to accept. Ryan Goins provides a capable defensive replacement for Reyes while Devon Travis looks very comfortable batting in the leadoff spot. Over the short term, this gives us two bankable replacements for Reyes.

    Apr 17, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis (29) heads for third base on his solo home run in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s over the long term that things get more complicated. Goins carries a light bat – we already know this – and Travis is a complete wild card – who knows how he’ll be playing come June or July. At this later point, we might come to regret the loss of Reyes’ bat, if not his defence as well, but there’s a silver lining here, too.

    Those guys who were supposed to hit Reyes home with authority and regularity – Bautista and Encarnacion – are off to slow starts. Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson – the other two big bats in the lineup – are just finding their grooves now. It’s been the unlikeliest of heroes – Kevin Pillar, Travis – who have really fuelled the team’s offence to date. If and when they eventually cool off, the big bats should be there to pick up the slack.

    What does this mean in terms of Reyes?

    Aug 30, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) celebrates his two-run home run against New York Yankees with first baseman Adam Lind (26, left), designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10, centre) and shortstop Jose Reyes (7) in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    It means his latest absence from the lineup probably won’t hurt the team over the short term or the long term. There’s enough depth and power on team to minimize his absence. (That depth and power may not be located at shortstop, but there’s enough there to make up for the loss.)

    At this point in his career, Reyes is really just the icing on the cake. He’s no longer a go-to player, but he still complements a good team and in this sense, I’d rather have a healthy Reyes playing in late September and early October than struggling to reach first base now.

    Let’s give Reyes all the time he needs to recover. We don’t really need him right now anyway.

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