During his three seasons in a Blue Jays uniform, Devon Travis has been a difference-maker; but he’s also been an enigma. Injuries have sidelined Travis for more than half of his tenure as a Blue Jay as he’s played only 213 games since joining the Blue Jays in 2015.
There was a point when Travis factored into the long-term plans of the club, but due to a pair of season-ending injuries (and potentially a third) one wonders whether the Blue Jays need to come up with a Plan B for second base moving forward.
There haven’t been many updates in terms of Travis’ health, when he may return this season (if at all), which have led many to believe he’s probably done for the year. However, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins provided not only a timeline on Travis, but a potential position change for him.
First up was Atkins’ interview on Prime Time Sports where he revealed Travis could return to the Blue Jays as early as the end of August:
He’s progressed as well as we possibly could’ve hoped. My hope is that we see him this month at some time. He’s strong, he looks great, he’s in a really strong mental and physical position right now.
And then Atkins followed that up with a spot on TSN 1050 and teased a potential position change for Travis down the road:
We feel that Devon has earned that opportunity to be the everyday second baseman for us. Who knows? Maybe one day it’s a different position for him because of an acquisition we make – he’s played in the outfield before. He’s a very good athlete.
He projects to be our second baseman; he’s the best alternative we have.
Atkins didn’t really indicate a position change is in the near future for Travis, but given the wear and tear he’s experienced playing the last three seasons at second base, it might not be a bad idea to shift him to the outfield.
If you’ll recall, just prior to when the Blue Jays acquired Travis from the Tigers in November of 2014, they were in the process of converting Travis into an outfielder.
He has exactly 21 innings of work in the outfield from his days in Double A with the Erie SeaWolves, but the fact that Atkins mentioned this totally out of nowhere indicates to me that the Blue Jays are definitely aren’t ruling out upgrading at second base.
However, transitioning Travis back into the outfield may be a two-to-three year project rather than something in the immediate future (unless the Blue Jays acquire another second baseman this winter).
I like that the Jays aren’t afraid to explore the possibility of upgrading that position because as great as a player Travis has been when healthy, he’s been far from reliable. At this point, I hate to say it, but the Jays can’t count on Travis playing 150 games next year.
Having a Plan B, C and even D in place for Travis is reasonable, because chances are the Jays may need to break into a few of those envelopes.