The Toronto Blue Jays will head into the offseason with areas to address, but they will have flexibility thanks to Cavan Biggio
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The Toronto Blue Jays took a big step forward in 2020, making the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Whether they can repeat this success in a full season, which 2021 looks to be remains to be seen. They’ll need to find themselves a few upgrades, namely in the outfield and at third base. Sure, you can never have enough quality pitching, but these two areas may be even more pressing.
On the surface, the Blue Jays infield looks to be set. However, examining it just a bit closer creates some question marks. For example, has Travis Shaw earned another year or two. If the club chose to, they could have him back, but that would depend on how much confidence they gained from watching him in 2020. Once a 30 HR threat, Shaw suffered from launch angle overload and his performance dropped dramatically. Toronto signed him and took a chance, but the question is whether they feel he’s adjusted. In 50 games, Shaw put up 6 HR, a wRC+ of 95, an OPS of .717 and 0.2 fWAR. It was a bounce back of sorts, but certainly not one that would leave the club confident about taking a step further in their playoff efforts. An upgrade at the Hot Corner could be in order.
We’ve seen Charlie Montoyo use Cavan Biggio at all over the diamond. In fact, he’s played everywhere but catcher and short. Looking at his offensive numbers (2020: 8 HR, 6 SB, .375 OBP, 127 wRC+, 1.5 fWAR), it’s easy to see why they’re playing him everywhere. His bat needs to be in the lineup.
If we play the ‘What If’ game, the Blue Jays have a number of different scenarios they could run with. For example, as things stand right now, Biggio would slot in as the starting second baseman, which would keep Bo Bichette at short and Shaw would be the third baseman. Rowdy Tellez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would likely platoon/ fight for first base with an edge given to Vlad.
But, if Ross Atkins could somehow manage a deal for a stud short stop, say a Francisco Lindor, Bo could be moved to second and Biggio could shift to third. He played 31 innings there in 2020 and put up -1 OAA. Could more time to get comfortable at the position yield improved defensive numbers? If Lindor is added (and that may very well be a silly pipe dream), it would be worth trying.
What if Toronto can bring in another infielder of impact? Again, they are free to explore many more options with Biggio in the fold. Biggio provides them the ability to look for the best upgrade they can find within their parameters of comfort. Rather than being hyper focused on one position, they have wiggle room, or flexibility.
The same can be said for the outfield situation. In 2020, Biggio held his own in his 129 innings of outfield work. Again, perhaps with more time out there, his defensive contributions could improve. After the starting three of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernandez, the Blue Jays have very few options that inspire confidence. With the right offseason additions, Jonathan Davis and his lesser offensive production could be the future CF, but there is little else to bank on, which makes Biggio that much more valuable.
Of course, none of this is to say that Biggio will be locked in to any one position moving forward. If anything, he could be treated as a Ben Zobrist type, the super utility guy playing in a different spot from day to day. So, that gives Montoyo more flexibility in filling out his lineup card, which we know he enjoys.
But, it also provides the front office with flexibility to look for clear upgrades without having to limit themselves to any one position, increasing their options and the amount of creativity they can use this offseason.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.