I am a bit of a contrarian by nature. So ever since Jerry Manuel first talked about moving Jose Reyes to the third hole I have been basically calling him crazy. After about a week listening to everyone go on and on about how bad an idea it is, I wanted to see if I could come up with a way it works. Here is my best shot.
The main problem for us is that we are operating on things we know. Unfortunately there is a lot we don’t know. With that in mind I think Jerry’s idea to move Jose into the 3-hole has a lot to do with his legs holding up. By taking him out of the lead off spot I think they are hoping it will slow him down a bit. He wont feel like he has to steal a base every time he is on base. I think had Beltran not gone down with an injury this would never have been a consideration, but for 4o games or so I think they are trying to use it as a way to ease Reyes back into the season. Let him get into baseball shape and literally get his legs under him.
The second consideration I had was when you look at a Beltran-less lineup the truth is our 5-6-7-8 hitters don’t scare anyone:
1) Reyes 2)Castillo 3) Wright 4) Bay 5) Francoeur 6) Murphy 7) Pagan 8) Barajas
You can see what I mean. Even as much as I like Frenchie he truly isn’t a 5 hitter. And as much as I hope to see Murphy step up, we can’t bank on that. So I think what Jerry is trying to do is to just push back our main players a bit and spread the linup out. Here is how it might break down with Reyes at 3:
1) Pagan 2) Castillo 3) Reyes 4) Bay 5) Wright 6) Francoeur 7) Murphy 8 Barajas
You have to admit the second lineup (based on last years performance anyway) looks much better. So I can almost understand what Manuel is thinking here even if my first reaction is thinking he’s crazy.
In the end I think I still stand against it. I think we are just creating more variables by moving people around. Any way you cut it the loss of Beltran for 40 games will hurt our lineup, but by shuffling people and asking Reyes to bat in a new spot might hurt him long after Beltran has returned.
One thing it did do though is help me appreciate our lineup when Beltran gets back, I think it looks pretty darn good:
1) Reyes 2) Castillo 3) Beltran 4) Bay 5) Wright 6) Francoeur 7) Murphy 8 Barajas
Jerry seems pretty stubborn about moving Reyes to third so I think we might actually see this happen. If it does I suppose it wont hurt to try it, but regardless of everything else, the second that Beltran is back he is our 3 hitter and Reyes needs to be immediately moved back to the lead off spot.