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Kris Bryant Could be a Solution for Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays will be looking for an impactful infielder and Kris Bryant could be a solution for them


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With Marcus Semien now being a free agent the Toronto Blue Jays have a huge hole on their infield. Semien had a career year setting the all time major league record with 45 home runs at second base. He also put up a very good .265 batting average, .334 on base percentage with 39 doubles and 15 stolen bases. His defence at second was also very good as evidenced by his gold glove award this season. Finally, by all accounts Semien was also a leader in the clubhouse that many of the younger Jays looked up to and learned from, not the least of which was Bo Bichette who emotionally praised Semien at the end of the Blue Jays season.  

 

In addition to losing Semien, the Jays also have a need to address third base. The plan last year was to give the hot corner to Cavan Biggio. Unfortunately Cavan was injured much of the year and simply was not up to the task either defensively or offensively. Santiago Espinal started 62 games at third base, played a very good defence, and hit a very respectable .311 with a .376 on base percentage. However by all accounts Espinal is destined for a utility role and should not be counted on as an every day third baseman for a contending team.

 

A logical solution is to sign back Marcus to play second and acquire a stopgap third baseman to hold the position until top prospects Jordan Groshans or Orelvis Martinez are ready in a year or two. However there is no guarantee Semien will resign with Toronto and the front office needs a Plan B – enter Kris Bryant.

 

Kris Bryant is a former first round draft pick and top prospect in the Chicago Cubs farm system. He burst onto the major league scene in 2015 after famously being held down in the minors for a few weeks to guarantee the Cubs an extra year of control and raked at the plate right away. He followed up his rookie campaign (in which he won the Rookie of the Year award) with a National League MVP award in 2016. Bryant has never been quite able to duplicate his MVP season but he has settled into an all star caliber career consistently hitting for power with a very good on base percentage. Bryant’s 162 game career slash line according to Baseball Reference is .278 / .376 / .504 with 31 home runs. The above offensive production will fit in very nicely in the Blue Jays lineup. In fact his superior on base percentage may even improve the lineup over Semien, especially considering Marcus is very unlikely to hit another 45 home runs next year (actually that number is difficult to consistently reach for any player).

 

While no gold glover, Bryant can provide average defence at third base. He can also hold his own at first base to occasionally cover for Guerrero Jr. when required. In addition, Bryant can play an adequate left and right field and can even play centre for short periods if needed. Late in games the Jays can substitute the defensively superior Santiago Espinal to hold a lead. This defensive versatility is very valuable to a contending team like Toronto.

 

The addition of Kris Bryant at third base will also allow the Blue Jays to return Cavan Biggio to his more natural position at second base. A healthy Biggio playing second should be able to return to the offensive form he showed in 2019 and 2020 when he put up slash lines of .234 / .364 / .429 and .250 / .375 / .432 respectively. Biggio also bats left handed which will provide more left / right balance to the lineup. Finally, it says here that the Jays should simply end the ‘super utility’ experiment with Biggio and hand him second base and let him run with with. If handed the keys to the keystone Biggio will take charge and blossom into the above average player many think he can become.

 

Baseball Trade Rumors predicts a 6 year / $160 million dollar contract for Bryant. The Blue Jays can afford this annual $26,000,000 hit to their payroll without compromising their ability to address the pitching staff this year and pay the increasing cost of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in future years. This contract prediction is only slightly more than the 6 year / $138,000,000 contract predicted for Semien ($23,000,000 / year). Signing Bryant over Semien also means that the Jays will net one extra draft pick, as they get one for losing Semien but do not forfeit one for signing Bryant, as he was ineligible for a qualifying offer due to being traded mid season. The draft pick is a significant issue as the Jays try to keep a continuous pipeline of young talent coming to the bigs (or being traded for big league help) during their current playoff window.

 

If the Jays cannot sign Semien, no other one player that they do acquire is likely to reproduce the offence that he provided. By signing Kris Bryant it allows the Jays to give Cavan Biggio back his natural position at second base. Together Bryant and Biggio can provide the offence that Semien did last year and likely exceed it. Finally, by signing Bryant to a multi-year deal it will take some of the sting away from trading someone like Jordon Groshans for the pitching help that the Jays will be seeking this offseason as well.

 

So, while no fans want to lose Semien to free agency, all will not be lost if the Jays front office decides to pivot to Kris Bryant. In fact, given the above information, it may actually be preferable.

 

 

 

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

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JCMac

Jason C MacDonald has been a Blue Jays fan since the late 1980’s.  His lifelong passion for Baseball and the Blue Jays has recently led him to start writing at JFtC.  When not working at his day job or driving his two teenage sons to their sporting events Jason is usually reading, listening, watching or now writing about baseball.