A few hours before Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons sought out veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson.
Gibbons essentially told the 15-year Major League veteran that (barring injuries) he won’t playing a lot the last five weeks of the season because the organization wants to take a good look at some of the up-and-coming outfielders in the system, mostly Billy McKinney, who started in left on Friday, and Teoscar Hernandez.
The Jays will run out Kevin Pillar and Randal Grichuk most days as well. So the 37-year-old Granderson is the odd man out, and he’s not the only one.
The one player on the Jays roster who stands to lose the most playing time with the Jays in a rebuild mode and auditioning players the final few weeks of the season is catcher Luke Maile.
With the Jays long out of playoff contention, the buzz around the Rogers Centre recently has centered on 23-year-old catcher Danny Jansen, who recorded hits in his first six MLB games since being recalled from Triple A Buffalo on Aug. 12.
Jansen is hitting .348 in seven games since being recalled, with a homer and three doubles and is being touted as the Jays’ catcher of the future, perhaps starting as early next year.
The club’s No.1 catcher, Russ Martin, has one more year left on his contract and there’s talk that Jansen will be the main guy behind the plate next year with Martin backing up and taking on almost a tutoring role.
And that would leave Maile on the outside looking in. But if Maile is pissed about that, he certainly isn’t showing it. (Neither for that matter is Granderson).
Maile hasn’t exactly hit the hide off the ball since he joined the Jays last season from Tampa Bay, but the pitchers love him behind the plate. As it is, they won’t be seeing a ton of him as the season winds down. Martin caught Friday night and Jansen is expected to start both games this weekend.
“This certainly cuts into what I want to do,” said Maile. “Obviously wearing a uniform you want to be on the field. But I certainly understand the business of it. I remember my first year coming up and getting the chance to play. It’s just part of the business, it’s how it goes.”
Gibbons said some players would mope about having their playing time cut, particularly a guy in Maile’s position, who still has a lot to prove at the Major League level. But the manager isn’t worried about either Maile or Granderson going into a funk.
“There’s not a (bigger) pro running around this game than Grandy. And Luke gets it too,” said Gibbons.
Maile, 27, said he not only supports what the Jays are doing with Jansen, he’s eager to help the younger catcher out, even it’s at his own expense.
“I’m not thrilled about it. But at the same time, I understand it and I’m happy for him and I hope he does well,” said Maile.
“I definitely consider (Jansen) a friend. He’s a great dude, he plays hard. I respect the hell out of his game, I think he’s unbelievable hitter, I think that he’s going to crush the ball at this level. I like what I see. He’s a total professional. He knows what he’s doing. He plays hard. So I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Jansen’s appearance in Toronto leaves Maile’s future up the air. The Jays aren’t going to carry three catchers next year and they almost certainly won’t be able to trade Martin, who is slated to make $20 million in the final year of his contract.
Maile and his wife Paige recently celebrated the arrival of a baby girl, so he’s certainly looking towards the future.
“You think about (the future) just from a personal stand point, trying to figure out what a good spot for you family might be next year and things like that,” he said. “But the one thing I’ve learned, when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re wrong. Things have a way of working themselves out. And if you just go play hard and you just be the same teammate that you always are and just be consistent, it will be fine. I love the guys here.
“I love Gibby, the whole organization’s been nothing but great to me. I think the happiest situation for me would be to play every day but seeing that’s probably not going to happen here, I’m just going to do my best to fulfill the roll they have me do.”
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies