Blue Jays bring back Stewart

Stewart_1DUNEDIN, Fla. — The only way Shannon Stewart was going to be rejoining the Blue Jays was on a Minor League contract. And there you have it…

Shannon Stewart is rejoining the Blue Jays on a Minor League contract. He’s expected to be in camp within the next few days and he’ll be put into the mix for the job in left field, which has been billed up to this point as being a Reed Johnson-Matt Stairs platoon.

Stewart’s presence doesn’t necessarily spell the end for Johnson, considering Reed hits left-handed pitching better than Stewart. With that in mind, Stewart wouldn’t seem to be a lock to bump Johnson from that role. Stewart will definitely provide some competition, though, and it’s not like the man didn’t hit last season.

Last year with the A’s, Stewart hit .290 with 12 homers, 48 RBIs and a .739 OPS in 146 games. Take a look at Johnson’s totals in his last healthy season in 2006: he hit .319 with 12 homers, 49 RBIs and an .869 OPS in 134 games for the Jays. It’s similar production, with a slight edge to Reed and his Shelby Cobra.

Last season, even when fighting injury, Johnson managed to hit .325 with a .381 on-base against lefties. Stewart hit just .269 with a .333 OBP against left-handers. Stewart has performed better against righties, which is presumably Matt Stairs’ part of the platoon going forward. Unless Stairs is possibly sliding back to a bench job.

This signing also makes you wonder about Jays skip John Gibbons and GM J.P. Ricciardi recently saying they’ve discussed the possibility of slotting shortstop David Eckstein into the lineup’s second slot. If Stewart makes the team, he very well could serve as the leadoff hitter — he did so for 101 games last year.

More on this later today…



    A left field of Johnson/Stairs/Lind/Stewart??? And a leadoff spot of Johnson/Stewart/Eckstein??? This move doesnt make any sense to me.


    I think this move makes perfect sence. There is no risk! You can send Shannon down to the minors if Johnson ans Stairs play to their potential, and if they don’t you have Stewart to pick up the slack. It also gives us depth at the leadoff position. I am hoping this will give J.P. the oppertunity to go after a big trade at the deadline this year.


    This is awesome. S-stew has always been a great hitter, and it’ll be nice to see him in a Jays jersey again. I used to get so mad when He would come to town with the twins and the stupid fans in the rogers centre would boo him. Im sure it was hard to hear the boos when S-stew never even wanted to leave in the first place.


    I like the move. The more depth the jays have the better. Of course they can also use Reed as a tradeable commodity. Either way it’s a no lose situation for the jays. Maybe the jays are still trying to trade Rios for pitching? I know Shannon’s a left fielder but Reed or Stairs can always move to right.


    I think this move has been made off of the idea that Johnson, Wells, and Overbay all won’t be exactly 100%. And it’s possible-I’m not a doctor but they didn’t remove the cyst in Wells shoulder, Overbay had two hand injuries, and Reed Johnson is coming off of back surgery. If any of those three have to miss any playing time, Stewart is a little extra depth. (As Stairs would move to 1B in the event of Overbay missing time).

    That reminds me, it’s too bad Hinske hasn’t had much time at 3B in a while–otherwise he might not have been a bad option either, able to fill in for Rolen, Overbay, Reed, and Rios and has been historically okay against righties.


    I have a lot of questions around this acquisition.

    How much playing time will he get? Will he even be with the team most of the year? And will Lind see any action now? Maybe the Jays are banking on giving Lind a full season in AAA to develop? Someone mention how his stats are comparable to Reed’s of ’06. Maybe this deal is purely to put pressure on Reed? (coming off his poor ’07 output, even though he was injured)? A lot of questions, but I’m glad to see Shannon back for a ridculously small amount, compared to what we would have had to pay to keep him in 2004.

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