When Colby Rasmus went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring, it was seen as a big blow to both the Toronto Blue Jays’ offense and defense.
Two weeks later, those fears have been completely assuaged by Anthony Gose.
Following Rasmus’ injury, Toronto called up Gose from Triple-A Buffalo to take over in centre field. The 23-year-old has made the most of his opportunity since then, hitting .310/.420/.381 in 17 games. He has also shown patience at the plate, walking seven times in just 52 plate appearances.
Numbers at the plate aside, speed has been Gose’s biggest weapon. He has used it to steal bases, drop down bunts for hits and easily score from first base on hits to the outfield.
With Jose Reyes (a speedster himself) leading off and Gose batting ninth, Toronto’s lineup has suddenly looked a lot more dynamic.
Gose has also been sharp defensively. Often using his exceptional speed to quickly get to sharply hit line drives, the centre fielder has made several highlight-reel catches. He also already has two outfield assists thanks to his electric throwing arm.
As Rasmus’ return from the DL draws closer, the Blue Jays now have a difficult decision to make after watching Gose play so well.
The 27-year-old Rasmus got off to a slow start with the bat this season and was hitting .222/.266/.489 with nine home runs and 19 RBI in 37 games. But he’s coming off a breakout year last season when he hit .276/.338/.501 with 22 home runs and 66 ribbies. Further complicating matters is the fact that the veteran centre fielder is a free agent at the end of the season.
So, if Toronto decides to go with the younger Gose, Rasmus’ contract status means that the team wouldn’t get a very high return even if it does try to trade him.
Considering that Gose has done everything required to stay in the majors and has proven that he can be a productive big league player, sending him back down to the minor leagues also doesn’t seem like a fair decision.
Keeping Gose as the fourth outfielder on the bench makes the most sense, but this would effectively make him a part-time player and might hamper his development. A young player with the kind of upside that he has should be getting regular at-bats at some level.
Regardless of what the Blue Jays decide to do here, this is a good problem to have and shows off the team’s depth. With that being said, it’ll be interesting to see how general manager Alex Anthopoulos handles this situation.
*All stats are from baseball-reference.com