The Blue Jays 3B/2B Situation

The Toronto Blue Jays are expected to be major players this offseason and two positions they need to address is third and second


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The Toronto Blue Jays will need to make a couple decisions regarding who plays third and second base for them in 2022. It won’t be the most pressing of decisions, but it will need to be sorted in order to properly navigate the offseason and the start to the coming season. There are multiple scenarios that could play out, each having a direct impact on the rest of the moves Toronto makes.

 

The most obvious answer is that the Blue Jays could do absolutely nothing regarding third and second. If they make no moves to address these positions, they could roll with Cavan Biggio at the keystone and Santiago Espinal at the hot corner. For his part, Espinal solidified the left side of the infield with his defensive abilities. He put up 5 OAA, 8 DRS and a 13.9 UZR/150, making him, by far, the best internal option to play third. If his 115 wRC+ can be trusted and he could hit for a few more home runs, the Blue Jays wouldn’t even really need to look for a replacement.

 

For Biggio, he could slide back to his position of comfort at second. It is not entirely crazy to suggest that the switch to third last year messed with him, possibly even leading to injuries that ruined his entire season. That said, an entire offseason of healing and a return to second could very well lead to a rebound for the 26 year old. Having Biggio return to second and Espinal stay at third would mean that all of Toronto’s resources could be used for a backup infielder and then the rotation and bullpen.

 

However, if Toronto feels the need to make up for the loss of Marcus Semien from an production standpoint, they could look to  acquire a more traditional third baseman like Jose Ramirez from Cleveland or Matt Chapman form Oakland. If that is the case, Toronto may need to part with one of Espinal or Biggio as part of the package to obtain one of those two. That wouldn’t be the end of the world since either Chapman or Ramirez would provide better defense (Chapman would be a massive upgrade) and more production than Espinal. A move like this would certainly fit the “getting better” plan that the Blue Jays have told us they are following.

 

Another idea is to take a page out of the Dodgers book and simply stockpile talent. Obviously, that means signing some free agents, the best ones available. Some have suggested that signing Semien again would accomplish that. He fits more obviously, even if it is not a natural pairing. However, there are some other ideas out there. Toronto could be involved in the early signing of someone like Corey Seager, who brings a dynamic lefty bat, which the Blue Jays could use, but has no obvious defensive fit.

 

There is no fit, of course, unless Toronto asks Bo Bichette to change positions. Moving Bo to second could work, but he’s somewhat improved his defense at short and this could be seen as a demotion. That also leaves a decision with what to do with Biggio. Would Toronto really try him at third again? They could if Espinal is their (quick) back up plan. Bo could also be shifted to third base where his arm would certainly be a benefit. However, Bo made 24 errors in 2021 (and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. likely saved a few more) and the bulk of them appear (anecdotally) to come from ill advised throws. How many times would that happen from third? It’s conceivable that more plays could be forced than should be.

 

Of course, this would only play out if Toronto went after one of the big name short stops available, which is not out of the realm of possibility, but likely just outside the realm of likely. What is more likely than that scenario is that Toronto looks to add a short term third base option like a Kyle Seager or Eduardo Escobar. This would provide them with more traditional offense and buy time for a Jordan Groshans or Orelvis Martinez to further develop and become the next third baseman.

 

So, there are Band Aid solutions out there that could allow Toronto to focus more resources elsewhere while still providing an upgrade at third. The degree to which it is an upgrade is, of course, up for debate. Kyle Seager hit 35 home runs last year, but hit .212 with an OBP of .285. He did put up 4 OAA at third, which is close to Espinal, but his -3 DRS and 3.9 UZR/150 make you wonder if the home run totals are actually worth it for a 34 yr old. For what it’s worth Escobar’s defense is the worst of the three.

 

Realistically, if these are the replacement options, Toronto may be better off looking for a Chris Taylor type who can simply fill in anywhere, but not necessarily require an everyday position. That way Espinal and Biggio can take their respective spots, there is a backup for multiple positions and the remainder of the offseason resources can be funneled to pitching.

 

Depending on how the offseason goes, Toronto has flexibility when it comes to addressing their infield. They can make it an early priority and have a more clear picture of what their pitching plan will be. Or, they can prioritize pitching, knowing that, realistically, their infield situation is not really a priority and address it as the situation arises or later in the offseason. When you stop and think about the 3B/2B situation, it may not be as dire as we once thought. Entering the offseason, I said third base is an area of need. But, that need is not as desperate as I may have made it out to be.

 

How would you handle the 3B/2B situation? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Shaun Doyle

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.