Gregor Chisholm: Randal has a handle on centre field as the Blue Jays prepare to launch
|Toronto Star 14 Feb 2020 at 20:19|
The decision isn’t etched in stone, and the organization gave itself enough leeway to make a change later this spring. But if the season began today, Grichuk would be the one sent to roam up the middle.
Toronto remained non-committal throughout the off-season about which outfielder would be used in centre. Teoscar Hernandez spent most of the second half at the position, but Grichuk has played there plenty of times before in his career, including 62 games in 2019, and he appears to be the preferred candidate.
“I think the most likely scenario is Randal Grichuk,” Jays general manager Ross Atkins said Friday morning. “We’ll stay open-minded about that, and this will be an important camp for some other guys that will be in the mix … We’ll see how things evolve over camp, how he’s feeling. I think that would be the most likely scenario.”
What that means for Hernandez isn’t entirely clear. The Dominican native is expected to receive regular at-bats, but at least some of those will likely occur at designated hitter. He also figures to receive a lot of playing time in right field with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. the undisputed starter in left. Other outfield candidates include Derek Fisher and Anthony Alford.
“I think there are several scenarios and we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we have a lot of options,” Atkins said. “Obviously Lourdes has established himself pretty well in left field, and we feel good about Teoscar Hernandez, you know, running around in different positions. He’s continuing to work very hard at his defence. He’s passionate about it, and then we have some other alternatives to be in the mix for our team.”
“He won’t be impacted from a baseball standpoint as things stand today,” said Atkins, who added McGuire intends to address the Jays’ fan base once the legal issues are resolved. “What I can tell you about Reese is that we understand this is a very, very difficult situation for everyone involved. It is not an easy one for anyone to go through. Hopefully people can understand that, because of the legal process, we’re just really limited to what we can comment on and want to be respectful of that process.”
McGuire is expected to split time behind the plate with Danny Jansen this season. Veteran Caleb Joseph and prospect Alejandro Kirk present alternatives in the minors.