Jays From The Couch turns the spotlight on the Toronto Blue Jays’ infielder, Cavan Biggio whose role has become a bit of a mystery
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The Toronto Blue Jays have an interesting decision to make with regard to Cavan Biggio. Toronto drafted him in the 5th round of the 2016 Draft (after he passed up the Phillies in the 29th round of the 2013 Draft) and ever since he’s been an on base machine who has some power. They’ve tried him at multiple positions, but he looked to be the everyday second baseman. 2021 has kind of confused that plan.
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With Biggio finishing 5th in Rookie of the Year voting in 2019, the future looked bright for the Blue Jays’ second baseman. He hit 16 homers and got on base at a .364 clip. He also went 14 for 14 in stolen base attempts. He would follow that up with an arguably better season in a shortened 2020. In fact, his early career performance led me to wonder if he would be a better leadoff option than George Springer in 2021. The thinking was that Springer has a better power profile and Biggio has the ability to get on base. Of course, that didn’t pan out in 2021.
The 26 year old Biggio has been dealing with a neck/back injury this year and is currently on a rehab assignment in Buffalo. But, the real question is: What happens to him when he returns?
JFtC’s Bob Ritchie took a deep dive into Biggio’s struggles a while back. It’s a must read! Of course, the immediate response to the struggles might be the nagging injury he’s been dealing with and the attempts at moving him to third base.
The reasoning for the move could be pinned on the signing of Marcus Semien this past offseason and, while that has proven to be an excellent addition for Toronto, it kind of left Biggio in the lurch. The previous two seasons saw the Blue Jays have attempted to turn Biggio into a super utility player, trying him at just about every position on the diamond. And, during seasons where expectations are relatively low, it wasn’t a bad experiment. But, now in 2021, things look a little different.
Playing third base resulted in a -3 OAA mark for Biggio and some serious discomfort in the young man. You could see it on his face. So, with that experiment shelved (for now), what does the future hold for Biggio? Assuming he returns healthy, what do the Blue Jays do with him? What do they do in the coming years?
IF Biggio is right, he is a bat the club needs to have in the lineup. His combination of intelligence, on base skills and power form the left side of the plate make him a bat that needs to be in the lineup. For the moment, Santiago Espinal has settled the infield defense and Marcus Semien has earned his spot everyday. Could Toronto look to run some kind of DH cycling magic with these three? Could we see Bo Bichette get some more off days at short? Obviously, this is a good problem to have, but it is a problem that manager, Charlie Montoyo needs to figure out. Remember that Corey Dickerson is also in the mix as a lefty bat, at least for the rest of this season.
An extension of this conversation is what the Blue Jays do in the offseason. Semien is signed for the 2021 season, but some are pushing for an extension. Another option is to give him a qualifying offer and take the pick
when if he uses this season to garner a big contract this winter. If that is the case, Biggio has his natural position, second base, to return to. But, if Semien is re-signed, Biggio will continue to be a square peg. Could an offseason of defensive work improve his skills at the hot corner to the point where he can be a viable option there in 2022? Or, could Biggio be used as a trade chip this offseason? That last option may actually create more problems than it would solve, particularly if Semien goes elsewhere.
Obviously, the first step is to get Biggio back at 100%. Once that is achieved, the Blue Jays have some serious thinking to do. Biggio, when healthy, is a solid contributor at second base. He may never win a Gold Glove, but he has the potential to be an All Star at that position. But, as is often the case with MLB teams, sometimes the team needs trump the individual needs of players. It will be interesting to see how Toronto goes about solving their need for a third baseman, deciding on Semien, etc.
You almost have to feel bad for Biggio. The guy has done everything asked of him, he has contributed rather nicely, he is an intelligent baseball player who helps his team win and yet, he seems to be a guy who, at the moment, does not have a clear role on this Blue Jays team. It will be rather interesting to see how Ross Atkins & Co solve this mystery.
*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.