Toronto Blue Jays: Why They Shouldn’t Have Traded Revere for Storen

Dec 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays new general manager Ross Atkins answers questions during an introductory media conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays new general manager Ross Atkins answers questions during an introductory media conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Toronto Blue Jays
Dec 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays new general manager Ross Atkins answers questions during an introductory media conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

A look at where the Toronto Blue Jays are now, after new general manager Ross Atkins traded prototypical leadoff hitter Ben Revere for reliever Drew Storen.

So, it’s January, amidst a winter snowstorm (the first really of the season) and baseball actually has come up. Some activity has inspired me to write an article about the Toronto Blue Jays.

It has been just north of 100 days since their dreaded playoff loss to the Royals, and writing about the team doesn’t pain me as much as it did – I can actually write now without the end of last year getting to me too badly.

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Unfortunately, this article still isn’t 100 percent positive… or close. But should anyone be surprised after the seismic regime change atop the Jays organization, despite the best season in 20 years?

The news has not been positive since Mark Shapiro took over for the aging (and ousted) Paul Beeston. And then the MLB Executive of the Year, general manager Alex Anthopoulos, was supplanted with Shapiro camp-member (or perhaps minion), Ross Atkins. Newly-minted GM, Ross Atkins that is.

Anthopoulos has since left for LA, signifying it was probably true that it didn’t matter what the Jays offered him – he was always going. He likely had this unspecified job with the Dodgers in his back pocket the entire time.

With their deep pockets, LA is the prime destination in the MLB. It was just announced today that the Dodgers named Anthopoulos vice-president of baseball operations, the title that the Jays should have given him all along (since he has earned just that).

Anyway, that’s not relevant to the team now. The most recent news? That would be that Atkins, new GM of the Jays, swapped the prototypical leadoff hitter, outfielder Ben Revere to the Nationals for relief pitcher Drew Storen.

Toronto Blue Jays
Oct 23, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Ben Revere reacts after hitting a double against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning in game six of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Revere was acquired by Anthopolous last year before the deadline from the reeling Phillies. He was paramount to the incredible playoff push the Jays completed.

Revere took over the leadoff position from Troy Tulowitzki, who clearly is more of a middle of the order hitter. A leadoff man is supposed to get on base (and run) for the power hitters behind him to drive him in, and Revere did that perfectly.

This move is puzzling. On top of being very good in the outfield (when left field was a large hole up to the time Revere was acquired), there is no incumbent leadoff hitter on the Jays and Revere was perfect in that role.

This slot of the order combination worked wonders– the Jays only went from around .500 to the best team in baseball after Revere’s arrival. This was due in large part to the mass of runs they scored, with him crossing the plate most.

Who else could possibly leadoff? I have a few theories and possibilities, but none of them look very sure.

What could the Jays be thinking by unloading Revere? Who do they have in mind for the leadoff hitter?

Tulowitzki? No– he’s just not a leadoff hitter. The Jays won in spite of him in this role until Revere took over. Plus, as said, he’s clearly an RBI hitter, doubtfully happy with leading off as his numbers suffer.

Kevin Pillar? Possibly. Pillar seemed most comfortable at the bottom of the order, hitting seventh, eighth, or ninth. He hit .278 on the year, a solid number. His OBP (on-base percentage) was only .314, which would be very low for a leadoff hitter. However, he has wheels enough to steal the leadoff position (25 steals).

Ryan Goins was the starting second basemen last year. His last half of the season was remarkable though, ending up pumping in 45 runs. He seemed to also thrive at the bottom of the order with Pillar. With only two stolen bases, Goins does not seem like a great candidate to hit leadoff.

Devon Travis is an interesting proposition – the best option yet. Before falling injured last year, Travis hit .304 with a .361 OBP. These are more suitable leadoff hitter numbers. However, last year when Travis hit leadoff, he struggled as compared to other spots in the order. Travis is a young player with good upside if his trajectory stays true.

Toronto Blue Jays
Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Dalton Pompey (45) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 12-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Dalton Pompey is another interesting candidate. His candidacy is outlined here and speaks to the benefit of having him take a more prominent role on the Jays’ team.

Pompey showed his merits and speed last year in the ALCS when he pinch-ran and stole both second and third before being (inexplicably) stranded at third base. His speed warrants consideration, as well as his being a hometown kid.

I could see that the Jays could define Revere as dispensable if Pompey is ready. However, he was given opportunities last year (34 games played) and couldn’t figure it out (.223 avg, and not effective enough to stay with the big club). However, he is young at just 23-years old, so could mature.

Michael Saunders was injured last year prior to the season in the infamous sprinkler attack in Spring Training (Dunedin, Fla.) and missed the entire year. However, over a seven-year career – a decent sample size – he is just a .230 hitter.

Saunders hasn’t stolen bases at a reasonable rate since 2012 and 2013, when he stole 13 and 21 bases. Those are not leadoff numbers either. He’s Canadian too, and while the Jays clearly want to make Saunders work, even if he doesn’t hit leadoff, it’s clearly time for him to step up.

Ezequiel Carerra? Possible, but I don’t think he has enough ammo in the stick to remain viable….

It appears to me of all the fielders the Jays could send away, Revere was the one they could not part with (although Pillar is also off-limits). To get a relief pitcher though, it doesn’t look to be worth it…

Next: Looking At the Bullpen