Blue Jays Hot Corner Shopping As Brett Lawrie Moves To Second Base

by Clayton Richer | Posted on Saturday, July 13th, 2013
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Brett Lawrie

The Toronto Blue Jays have struggled to play consistent baseball all season with second base being their biggest point of contention. The Jays initially thought either Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonifacio would step up and claim the starting job however both have struggled and neither have done anything to support their case to be an everyday player.

Bonifacio has been especially disappointing as I thought he was going to be the sleeper from the mega-trade coming over from the Miami Marlins. The speedster had stole 70 bases over the past two seasons however has looked over-matched in many of at bats hitting barley above the Mendoza line at .208 with a lack lustre and almost depressing on base percentage of .244. His defence has been suspect at best committing 7 errors in 58 games at second base. I am convinced if he wasn’t out of options he would have been on the train to Buffalo over Munenori Kawasaki.

Izturis signed a 3 year pact with the Blue Jays in the off-season and was thought to be the everyday starting second baseman leading up to the season. Izturis has shown signs of life as of late boosting his batting average to .244 and only a slightly better on base percentage then Bonifacio at .287. The 32-year old has yet to swipe a base this season after stealing 17 the previous season with the Los Angeles Angels. Izturis does provide better defence over Bonifacio having committed 3 errors at second base in 35 games but would be better suited as a bench player utilized as a defensive replacement late in games.

The Jays had recently flirted with Kawasaki at second base but we all know his stick does not play out in 162 game season and he was demoted to make room for the return of Lawrie. The Jays decided to reacquaint Lawrie with his old position during his most rehab assignment in Buffalo. Lawrie played 244 games at second over the course of 2 seasons while in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system and did not make the jump to the hot corner until a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. The move is somewhat surprising as Lawrie has established himself as one of the premier defensive third baseman in the league. However the canuck will get more touches at second base and I pity the next player who goes in late with spikes up to break up a double  play on the Red Bull infused two-bagger.

By the looks of a tweet sent out by Lawrie, second base is his position of preference and where he feels at home.

So now that the Jays have solidified their middle infield with Lawrie and Jose Reyes, who is going to man the hot corner?  They have temporary internal solutions with Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista but neither player is the long term answer. Encarnacion has proved he cannot defensively handle the position on an everyday basis and Bautista is better suited and would prefer right field.

So does Alex Anthopoulos have a deal in the works that would include a third baseman coming north of the border? You would almost have to think so to explain the sudden shift of Lawrie. The most talked about third baseman who could be dealt is Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres. Headley is arbitration eligible in 2014 after earning $8,575,000 this season and does not seem destined for a long term deal in San Diego. Headley is not putting up numbers anywhere near that of his breakout campaign in 2012. The Padres would be selling low on the 29-year old as he is only batting .232 with 7 home runs in 80 games this season. Anthopoulos has a history of buying low on players but the Padres would still seek hefty compensation for the services of Headley. The New York Yankees could also be in play for Headley as they have struggled mightily all season to fill the hot corner void.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez from the Milwaukee Brewers is been rumoured to be available however the 35-year old comes with a $16,000,000 price tag for 2014 and major health concerns. I personally don’t see him as a fit for the Jays especially as they would be looking for a long-term solution. Perhaps they could look at the likes of a Will Middlebrooks or Mike Moustakas type player but both of them seem offensively challenged at the current point in time. The Blue Jays could dangle pending free agent starter Josh Johnson and Bonifacio as bait for a contender in hopes of reeling in a viable third baseman.

Who knows where the chips will land in the coming weeks but you can guarantee Anthopoulos has something up his sleeve and it will most definitely involve the hot corner.

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Clayton Richer
About the Author

Clayton Richer is an MLB scribe from north of the border with a slight bias for the Toronto Blue Jays. Clayton has also been the shop-keeper at Baseball Hot Corner since the sites inception in 2012. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher

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