I talked to Gibby last night, and after chatting for a few minutes about Christmas, Texas and George Bush, we got down to talking baseball. Basically, Gibby knows this much: Davis Eckstein will be the leadoff man and Frank Thomas and Troy Glaus will probably bat fourth and fifth, respectively. Beyond that? There’s a whole lot to figure out before Opening Day.
For the second spot in the lineup, Gibby mentioned Lyle Overbay, Reed Johnson, Aaron Hill, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells. Obviously, Gibbons wants to see how Overbay, Johnson and Wells all rebound from injury, too. Overbay and Johnson could spend time there against RHP and LHP, respectively, and it doesn’t look like Hill’s chance as a No. 2 hitter will come this year.
As for Rios and Wells, one will be the third hitter. Gibbons doesnt want to put either guy behind Thomas and Glaus because that would limit Wells’ and Rios’ speed. I floated the idead of them being the Nos. 3-4 hitters, but Gibby said they’d more likely fall into the two-three holes in some order if he were to slot them back-to-back.
Matt Stairs will be platooning in left field, so that throws another left-handed bat in the mix from time to time. My bet is he’d hit sixth or seventh when he’s in the order, depending if Gibbons decides to break up Thomas and Glaus. Johnson could also be the ninth hitter when he’s in. The problem with Toronto’s lineup is they have too many parts that can occupy the Nos. 3-6 spots, and a lack of lefties.
For now, here’s what I gathered one of the possible lineups could look like:
1. David Eckstein, SS
2. Alex Rios, RF
3. Vernon Wells, CF
4. Frank Thomas, DH
5. Troy Glaus, 3B
6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
7. Aaron Hill, 2B
8. Gregg Zaun, C
9. Reed Johnson, LF
But that appears to be a vs. LHP lineup, considering Stairs would be in against right-handed hitters. So another possible lineup could be this:
1. Eckstein, SS
2. Rios, RF
3. Wells, CF
4. Thomas, DH
5. Overbay, 1B
6. Glaus, 3B
7. Stairs, LF
8. Hill, 2B
9. Zaun, C
Again, this is all guesswork on my part. Gibbons didn’t have an answer for anything after Eckstein. I’m sure you Jays fans have an opinion on this. So, what do you think the lineup should look like? Sound off in the comment field.
I’m heading home to Chicago for Christmas tomorrow and will be out of Toronto until after the New Year. I’ll probably blog if something comes up while I’m away, but mostly I’ll be away from my computer, either visiting family or playing my new Nintendo Wii. Yeah, I bought one before all of Toronto sold out.
Merry Christmahannakwanzakah to everyone and a Happy Festivus to the restivus!