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Ferguson: Jays' 2B situation much like it was before Alomar

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Scott Ferguson
7/8/2013 12:07:19 PM
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What do these three guys all have in common? Manny Lee, Luis Sojo and Nelson Liriano. Well they all played second base for the Blue Jays in 1990, the year before the team traded for Roberto Alomar, getting Robby and Joe Carter from San Diego for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff.

The Blue Jays' second base situation now is much as it was then, with no definitive No. 1 guy. Some days it's Maicer Izturis, others it's Emilio Bonifacio or Munenori Kawasaki or even Mark DeRosa.

I'm not suggesting there is another Robby Alomar out there on the open market and readily available, but it pretty clear that by the off-season, the Jays have to explore all possibilities.

Seattle has basically handed over its second base job to rookie Nick Franklin. That has led them to move the incumbent Dustin Ackley to centre field. Maybe that's a better position for him or maybe by the end of the year, he'll be pushing to play second for another organization.

Texas has an interesting situation with 31-year-old veteran Ian Kinsler and 20-year-old rookie Jurickson Profar. Kinsler doesn't seem too keen about switching positions to make room for Profar at the keystone and the Rangers can't afford to be without his bat and abilities out of the leadoff slot. Kinsler is also under contract through 2017, with an option for 2018 worth a guaranteed $62 million.

Profar has occasionally played second, but more often third base, and this past weekend he even started in left field. He is a superior defensive player to Kinsler but hasn't settled in as a major league hitter yet. The Rangers have shown no inclination to want to trade him, but maybe in the off-season Texas might be persuaded to get a big bat what with Nelson Cruz heading for free agency.

The Blue Jays could also go from within, and try to move Brett Lawrie to second. Alex Anthopoulos himself said earlier in the year when Brett was rehabbing from that muscle injury in his rib cage, that Lawrie just might be better defensively at second than he is at third, which would be saying a lot.

The dream choice would be Houston's 5'5" sparkplug Jose Altuve, who was the Astros MVP last season, and made the All-Star team to boot. He's also capable of being a lead-off hitter. Altuve is such a fan favourite though, it's difficult to see the Astros parting with him.


Home Run Heaven

Rogers Centre used to be regarded as a middle of the pack ballpark when it came to hitting home runs. But through Sunday, it has surrendered a Major League-leading 131 homers through 46 games or 2.85 per game. The Red Sox Mike Napoli has hit the longest home run of the season to date at 472', at Rogers Centre back on May 1. Nobody has any definitive explanation for why the Dome has suddenly become a home run haven, but it could go hand-in-hand with the struggles of the Blue Jays' starting pitching. The Jays of course have some prime power hitters in Jose Bautista and Edwin Enacarnacion just to name two.


Setting Targets

Lefty Darren Oliver told J.P Morosi of Foxsports that he believed the Blue Jays had to be five games over .500 by the end of this month to have a chance at making the post-season. Well, they are two games under right now, which means the Jays would have to go 13-6 over their final 19 games in July to hit Oliver's target.


Canadian Angle

The New York Post is getting its readers to vote for the All-Time greatest Mets team, to be unveiled in conjunction with the All-Star Game next Tuesday at Citi Field. They listed five candidates at each position in the starting eight. Though it likely won't happen, there is either a former Expo or Blue Jay up for every spot.

C: Gary Carter - Expos
 
1B: Carlos Delgado - Blue Jays
 
2B: Edgardo Alfonso - briefly Blue Jays
 
3B: Hubie Brooks - Expos
 
SS: Jose Reyes- Blue Jays
 
LF: Cliff Floyd - Expos
 
CF: Lee Mazzilli/Mookie Wilson - Blue Jays
 
RF: Rusty Staub - Expos

As I mentioned, this likely won't be the final team, three of four of them could make the final cut, though.


Sans Stoppers

Cleveland is just two-and-a-half games back of Detroit in the A.L. Central and is closer to a Wild Card spot than the Blue Jays. Yet surprisingly the Indians are tied with Boston for the fewest saves in the American League through this past Saturday with 17, and were tied with Baltimore with the most blown saves with 16.


West Coast Struggles

It's hard to believe how far Josh Hamilton has tumbled from the final month of last season, to signing with the Angels to now. Last year he set an all-time record with 11 million All-Star votes. This year he didn't even come close to being chosen. He's on pace to hit .221 for the season with 20 homers and 56 runs batted in.

Emilio Bonifacio (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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