As reported, basically, everywhere by now. the Blue Jays had some interesting news out of camp today. The starting lineup is not going to be what we were led to believe all spring.
Eddie E is back to starting at 3B, Joey Bats goes back to his preferred RF, and Juan Rivera becomes the principle DH.
Some have been sloppily referring to this as "all year" but at least on reporter (either Gregor or John Lott) tweeted that this will not affect Brett Lawrie's potential call up, so it very well might not be all year. But apparently the current plan is that Bautista is in RF for good.
Now, before you panic about EE's defense, the reports are that the Jays believe he's seriously upgraded his defense, particularly in regards to increased mobility having lost considerable weight over the off-season.
Another inference here, not stated by the team but logical, is that the whispers that Rivera isn't much to write home about as a right fielder are likely true. You might also gather that the Jays are satisfied with Lind's defense at 1B given that one would assume they won't be flipping a guy with borderline defense back and forth from one corner to the other.
I'll go against what I presume to be the likely trend and say that I like the move. Encarnacion's value as a player asset can only go up if he can indeed demonstrate capable defense, when you consider you are taking one marginal defender off the field for another, there's less negative impact, and there's a sense in which having Bautista where you want him from day one probably works well.
the one downside I see is that it might have been valuable to have the unpredictable latin SS flanked by the most mature and leaderly Latin on the team.
When there are in-depth reports on this with quotes from the decision makers, i'll come back and add the links.
See what happens? I wait until four days until opening day to write a "this is your opening day roster" post, and the Jays promptly go out and start maneuvering like mad the day after. Now comes word that the jays will indeed send Corey Patterson to the DL and that they have picked up Jayson Nix from the Indians for "cash considerations" with Nix presumably now at the front of the line to get the last bench spot. Nix has moderate power and a touch of speed but can't put the bat on the ball much at all.
Don't get too used to him, there are a lot of marginal guys hitting the waiver wire this week and he could be replaced before he get's his bags unpacked (Gregor Blanco, for instance, is on waivers).
Getting back to the bigger story, Mike Wilner notes here that the move certainly has the feel of the first part of a two-step process - that the Jays might be working on a deal for an as-yet unknown player (presumably better than Nix). He also opines that it could also be a matter of deep disillusionment with Rivera's defense.
John Lott's story found here portrays the Blue Jays managment team as building their case around EE's improved defense. Of course there's no real chance they would be caught on the record trashing Rivera's range.
Of course, there's a glut of blog reaction but that's not hard to find. I'm holding my breath to see what happens once I post THIS.