Jose Reyes is set to rejoin the Blue Jays in time for their series finale against Tampa Bay on Wednesday afternoon. During his rehab in both single-A and triple-A, Reyes hit .414 (12 for 29) with a double and six runs scored in 7 games. He even swiped a couple bags.
The Jays have said the Reyes will immediately be placed into the lineup at SS and at the top of the batting order. The Jays have also hinted that Melky Cabrera will be bumped to the 5th spot and Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion will continue to hit in the 2 and 3 holes. While I certainly understand why the Jays would want to ensure both Bautista and Encarnacion get at bats in the first inning, I’m more of a fan of having them hit in their traditional 3 and 4 spots and having Cabrera hit #2. This would give more a chance for RBIs and allow the Jays to run more with Reyes. Are they really going to cut Reyes lose with Bautista and Encarnacion at the plate? I think history shows the Jays will play for the 2-run homer. With Cabrera in the 2 hole, it is smart to run with Reyes, provoke pitchers into wanting to use the open bag and walk Cabrera if they fall behind, and set up an even bigger inning. “A pitcher would never pitch around Cabrera with a bag open if Bautista is behind him” you might say. Well then Cabrera is hitting with a runner in scoring position and a double play is avoided. If Bautista hits #2, Reyes base running talents are not used to their potential. Period.
The biggest question is what corresponding move the Jays will make prior to tomorrow’s game. Who is the odd man out? Munenori Kawasaki? Juan Perez? Dustin McGowan? It will be interesting to see what the Jays do tomorrow. For my thoughts, read yesterday’s blog post on the topic (sorry, Kawasaki).