With the bats slumping and their star third baseman on the disabled list, the Jays have added a World Series champion to their roster.
The team called up utility fielder Chris Coghlan from the triple-A Buffalo Bisons on Friday, and after a quick trip down the QEW, he was ready for action for the second of a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles.
Coghlan, who started in Game 1 of the Chicago Cubs’ World Series win over Cleveland last October and was a pinch-runner in the clinching Game 7, is hoping to revive his career with the Jays.
Despite earning the World Series ring he has yet to collect, Coghlan struggled in 2016, getting released by the Oakland Athletics after playing in 51 games before returning to the Cubs (where he played a combined 273 games in the 2014-15 seasons.)
“There’s no excuses,” Coghlan said. “I stunk in Oakland and it cost me my job this off season, having to sign a minor-league deal. It was two bad months I had (in Oakland.)
“(In Chicago) I played a little less of a role. I was content. I knew we were going to win the World Series.”
After not being retained by the Cubs, in February Coghlan signed a free-agent deal with the Phillies but his struggles at the plate continued and was released in late March. The Jays signed him on April 1 for depth and assigned him to Buffalo.
Throughout his career, Coghlan has been comfortable at second and third base and in the outfield. So which position does he prefer?
“In the lineup,” said the 31-year-old left-handed hitter, who had a .146 batting average with the A’s last season. “It’s a mindset. It doesn’t matter. You’re comfortable being uncomfortable when you are a guy who plays all over the field.”
Jays manager John Gibbons didn’t have Coghlan in the starting lineup on Friday, but plans to get him playing time, likely at third given Josh Donaldson’s 10-day stint on the DL.
MAYBE IT IS TIME TO PANIC
The more the Jays lose, the more voices from the outside will start to weigh in on what by any measure is a shocking start.
And as much as the united front (on the record, anyway) is that there was no cause for panic after a 1-8 start, others are suggesting that perhaps there is ample reason to worry.
“The Jays should panic a bit,” three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Pedro Martinez wrote on his official Twitter account. “I am not seeing the same atmosphere in the team that I saw two years ago. Not sure what is going on.”
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas where emotion is for the most part taken out of opinions, the Jays’ odds to win both the American League pennant and the World Series have changed considerably. The Jays opened the season at odds of 14-1 in most Vegas books, but have now drifted to 22-1. As for the price to win the AL, the price has drifted more moderately – from 9-1 to 11-1.
Gibbons on the struggles of second baseman Devon Travis, whose average was .088 heading into play Friday, with just one RBI. “I’d like to see him a little more aggressive. He’s taking a lot of fastballs. I think he’s feeling for the ball a little bit instead of turning it loose. Sometimes contact is a good thing, but it’s not your ultimate goal. He can drive the ball.” … The Jays manager went with his third different leadoff hitter in as many night, giving centre fielder Kevin Pillar the assignment on Friday. Ezequiel Carrera was in the spot the previous night and Travis before that … With a night game headed into a day game, backup catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will get his second start of the season on Saturday.