Longtime Blue Jays prospect Anthony Alford will be out of options next spring, increasing his urgency to make an impression with the club, Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star writes. That said, opportunities in a crowded Toronto outfield aren’t necessarily easy to come by. Manager Charlie Montoyo said this week that he plans to “try to play him just like anybody else,” Armstrong notes, but the sheer volume of outfielders will inherently limit Alford’s time on the field.
The Jays also have Teoscar Hernandez, Derek Fisher, Billy McKinney and Jonathan Davis vying for playing time in addition to Randal Grichuk, who signed a five-year contract earlier this year. Furthermore, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. could soon return the injured list. Alford has seen time in parts of three seasons but still has just 24 games in the Majors to his credit — during which he has not been productive. The former two-sport star also slashed a rather lackluster .259/.343/.411 in Triple-A this season. Injuries and his time in football have played a role in limiting Alford’s development, who indeed needs to make a favorable impression at the MLB level sooner rather than later.
More from the AL East…
- The Orioles, too, are trying to evaluate their long-term outfield mix by getting as looks at Austin Hays, DJ Stewart and Mason Williams this month, as explored by MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. The club views Hays as a potential opening day center field candidate next season, Kubatko notes. Hays made his MLB debut as a 21-year-old in 2017 but played only about a half season’s worth of games in 2018 and 2019, thanks in part to a fractured ankle that required surgery. Prior to his debut, Hays was one of the fastest-rising prospects in all of baseball, and it seems the organization hasn’t soured on him even after a regime change in the front office. Kubatko adds that the Orioles would like to keep Williams, a former top prospect with the Yankees, in the organization this offseason, so it seems he’ll have a chance to stick on the 40-man roster. Stewart, meanwhile, posted big numbers in Triple-A but was also limited by ankle and concussion issues. Beyond that, GM Mike Elias spoke to Kubatko about the difficulty of evaluating players based on Triple-A results at a time when changes to the baseball have clearly skewed the offensive environment.
- Jhoulys Chacin has thrown well with the Red Sox since signing a minor league deal there, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, who wonders if the righty could be making a case for a job next season. The Red Sox’ lack of pitching depth proved to be a significant flaw in 2019, and Chacin would represent a low-cost option who has fit in well with his new teammates. Abraham recounts the story of how Chacin came to be with the Sox, outlining a pressure-filled bullpen session that served as an audition for the veteran righty. “They wanted to see me pitch and said maybe they would give me an opportunity,” Chacin recalls. “I had 30 pitches to show them what I could do.” Since passing that test and landing a roster spot, Chacin has tossed 5 2/3 shutout innings with two hits, three walks and seven strikeouts.