With the Blue Jays needing some versatility here’s a trade option the Blue Jays could consider.
The offseason is off to a slow start to say the least, and the Blue Jays have yet to make a significant move for the 2018 season in which they plan to contend. GM Ross Atkins said on Sportsnet’s podcast ‘At the Letters’ that the ideal player would, apart from providing depth and versatility in the infield, but also be a left handed bat that can play in the outfield. He acknowledged that a player like that does not really exist. He also added ‘while ideally he’s a switch hitter and steals 40 bags’. Someone who can do that does not exist indeed, however Cory Spangenberg from the San Diego Padres does fit that description to some extent, of the ‘ideal’ player for Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins.
The Padres have three players for two spots in the infield, and have prospects in the likes of Christian Villanueva who debuted in September, and their number three prospect, second baseman Luis Urias, is not far from reaching the majors. Considering this, the Padres will likely look to trade infielders, Cory Spangenberg, Ryan Schimpf, and Yangervis Solarte. According to AJ Cassavell from MLB.com, teams have inquired about Spangenberg, Schimpf and Solarte before the General Managers meetings.
Why Cory Spangenberg?
The 26 year old would cover several needs the Blue Jays have. The first one of those is versatility. Spangenberg played the majority of his time at third base, however he also played second base and left field for the Padres. Two exact positions Atkins mentioned in Sportsnet’s Podcast. His defense at third base was not great in 2017. He committed 13 errors, however his natural position is second base, which is where he has played in his minor league career, and it’s what ultimately got him to the majors.
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At second base, he did not commit an error in 42 innings, although it is a limited sample size to be sure, Spangenberg has been regarded as a good defender at second base, which has been shown in his minor league career, and his 2015 season with the Padres where he played mostly second base (555 innings) and had a fielding percentage of .985. In 2017, he played 206 innings in the outfield, as just like at second base, he did not commit an error. Overall, he’s perfectly capable of playing second base and the outfield at a good level for a utility player.
The Jays need speed and athleticism without question. His 11 steals in 14 attempts this past season show decent speed, which also helps his defense. Although his quickness isn’t lethal, he would add some fine speed and athleticism as well as youth, as he’s only 26, which is a big need for the Blue Jays and something they lacked of in 2017.
The left handed hitter’s slash line in 2017 was .264/.322/.401 with 13 homers and 46 RBI’s in 486 plate appearances. Although Spangenberg hasn’t really had a chance to prove himself at the major league level yet, his batting line definitely shows some upside to his favor, with potential left handed power.
The former 1st round pick is eligible for his 1st year of arbitration and is projected to make $2.0MM in 2018 according to MLB Trade Rumors. Such a salary wouldn’t be a problem for the Blue Jays. The return to the Padres would not have to be of the same level for Spangenberg, than the other Padres player mentioned before, Solarte, therefore Spangenberg is a much more affordable player in terms of trade return and salary. His versatility, decent speed and defense, along his youth and athleticism could definitely help the Blue Jays in 2018.
Considering the Jays need infield depth, and according to Atkins, ideally, a left handed hitter who can play second base and the outfield with speed, Cory Spangenberg fits to some extent that idea, and would cover some offseason needs.