Blue Jays: Why Cavan Biggio has to stay in the outfield for now
Cavan Biggio’s versatility has been huge for the Blue Jays this year, and he may have to stay in the outfield for the rest of the regular season.
It wasn’t the news that we were hoping to hear about Teoscar Hernandez on Monday, who was officially placed on the Injured List with an oblique issue. The Blue Jays will hope that he can return in time to help them this year, but it’s possible he could miss most, if not all of their 19 games remaining before the playoffs get underway.
The good news is that Bo Bichette is very near a return from his own stay on the IL, and hopefully he’ll help make up for the lost offence with Hernandez’s potent bat. While he won’t directly replace Hernandez, the defensive flexibility of Cavan Biggio gives Charlie Montoyo plenty of options. And if I’m Montoyo, the first option I would likely turn to would be moving Biggio to the outfield at least until Hernandez is healthy.
With the acquisition of Jonathan Villar, Montoyo has a deeper infield picture than he did a few weeks ago, especially once Bichette is available. In fact, I would argue that the Blue Jays best lineup for now would have Biggio in the outfield on a regular basis for now. For example:
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1- Biggio (RF)
2- Bichette (SS)
3- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B)
4- Rowdy Tellez (DH)
5- Randal Grichuk (CF)
6- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (LF)
7- Travis Shaw (3B)
8- Danny Jansen (C)
9- Villar (2B)
Even if we’re looking at the lineup until Bichette is able to return, you can insert the red-hot Joe Panik, or the higher defensive upside of Santiago Espinal at shortstop, or slide Villar to short depending on which option you use. With all due respect to Derek Fisher and now Jonathan Davis, the Blue Jays are better off with Panik or Espinal receiving the playing time instead of trying to fill the void with another outfielder.
Biggio’s ability to cover an outfield spot not only helps fill Hernandez’s absence for now, but it gives the Blue Jays the ability to keep their hot-hitting infielders in the lineup. Even Travis Shaw has been swinging a hot bat lately, and every win down the stretch is going to be important. After last night’s victory they’re 2.0 games ahead of the Yankees for the 2nd spot in the AL East, and if they keep this up then we could be talking about a lot more than just simply sneaking into the playoffs as the eighth seed.
It’s one of the many reasons that Biggio is so valuable to the Blue Jays, and while I don’t want to see him switch gloves permanently, I think it makes all the sense in the world for him to get used to it for the rest of 2020.