The offseason is a time for dreaming, so which elite shortstop would fit best on the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2022 roster
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With the potential departure of Marcus Semien the Blue Jays have to find at least one infielder who is a serious offensive threat and can hit in the middle of the order if the team is to contend for a World Series title next year. I previously outlined Semien’s offensive importance to the Blue Jays in this article, so I will not do so again here. Suffice it to say that Marcus was a VERY important cog in the Blue Jays offensive machine and replacing him will not be easy.
Where better to start looking for that replacement than at the very top of the free agent heap. Depending on which media site you look at, the two top free agents this year are Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa or Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. Let’s do a little digging to determine the best fit for the Blue Jays.
First a few ‘parameters’. For the purposes of this article I am assuming Marcus Semien is not returning, and both Correa and Seager are willing to sign with the Blue Jays. There is no reason to believe that if the Jays are the top bidder that either player will not sign with them. Money talks, players want to play for a winner and among a fun group of teammates and Toronto fits both bills.
Of the two shortstops, Carlos Correa is the better defensive player. In fact he won a Gold Glove this year for his defence and has been consistently rated as one of the better shortstops in the American League for a few years. By all accounts Corey Seager is thought of a an adequate shortstop at best and more likely to have to move off of the position in the near future.
So, while Correa is the better shortstop, defensively he may not be the better ‘fit’ for Toronto as the Jays already have a pretty good young player at that position in Bo Bichette. Should the Jays sign Correa, it would mean that Bichette moves to either second or third base. While I feel that due to the limits of his throwing, which was an issue this year (especially early in the season) Bo would be better off at second than third. That being said the Jays already have a pretty good second baseman in Cavan Biggio, notwithstanding his down year last season caused by a combination of injury and playing out of position at third. All of this is to say that signing Correa to play short, and moving Bo to either second or third in deference to him is not an ideal situation for Toronto as the team is currently structured.
While Correa, due to his defensive prowess, should not be moved off of shortstop, Corey Seager is adequate at best at the position and will need to move to third base eventually. So, signing Seager to play third will allow Bo to stay at his best position of shortstop and also allow Biggio to stay at his best position which is second base. This would be the ideal defensive alignment of both possible scenarios.
Both Seager and Correa are exceptional on offence and either player would be able to more or less replace Marcus Semien’s production. That being said, Seager has the slight edge in the ‘numbers’ as his OPS+ for the last three years was 112 (2019), 150 (2020) and 145 (2021) compared to Correa’s which was 137 (2019) 93 (2020) and 131 (2021). In addition Seager’s slash line last year was .306 / .394 / .521 compared to Correa’s slash line of .279 / .366 / .485. So while both players are extremely good offensively Seager is just a bit better.
In addition to the actual offensive numbers Seager also just seems to the the better fit. First of all, he bats left handed which would add some much needed balance to the lineup. Second, his career on base percentage is about 11 points higher than Correa which is also needed in this lineup of young sluggers. Finally, his career strike out percentage of 18.5 is also a bit better than Correa’s 20.5%.
With regard to free agent contracts, MLB Trade Rumors predicts Correa will land a ten year $320,000,000 deal. They predict Seager will land a ten year $305,000,000 deal, making him slightly more affordable. While either contract would seem like a stretch for a Blue Jays organization that has never given out a contract worth more than $150,000,000 (George Springer last year) everything the Jays front office is saying (and doing) for the last two years indicates that the playroll is being expanded as the team pushes for the payoffs (and beyond). If that is the case such a contract should be doable for this team, or ‘Behemoth’ as organization president Mark Shapiro called them last spring.
So, because Seager is more likely to play third base, allowing Bichette to stay at short and Biggio to return to second, his slightly better offensive numbers and his ‘left handedness’ Seager seems to the the better fit of the two players for a Blue Jays organization taking aim at the World Series in 2022 and beyond.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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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.