Cavan Biggio‘s flexibility gives the Blue Jays options, but his professionalism and great attitude are what will make things work in 2021.
I say that largely because Biggio looks to be displaced from his most familiar position at second base by the newly signed Marcus Semien. That means that Biggio will likely be the regular starter at third base instead, but chances are we’ll see him bounce around the diamond as he has throughout the first 159 games of his big league career. So far he’s spent time at second, third, and first base, and has also played all three outfield positions for the Blue Jays.
That versatility makes Charlie Montoyo’s job as the manager a lot easier, but it also did the same for Ross Atkins in the GM seat this winter. The Blue Jays set a goal of improving their infield on both sides of the ball, and the opportunity to sign Semien ended up working out for both parties on a one year, 18 million dollar pact.
One the complications that had to be sorted out was where Semien would play. The third place finisher in AL MVP voting in 2019 has been an above-average shortstop for the Oakland A’s for a while, but the Blue Jays have committed to Bo Bichette at the position. Given the choice between second and third base, Semien leaned toward the former, which meant Biggio’s most regular spot was being given away. However, Atkins could rest easy knowing that not only would his young star be able to handle the move to the hot corner, he’d also accept the decision if it means the team is getting better.
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Shi Davidi quoted Ross Atkins describing Biggio and saying, “he prioritizes team, and that’s a huge benefit”. That’s obviously high praise from the GM, and it’s an important factor for the success of the Blue Jays in 2021 and likely beyond. Not every player is up for the challenge of accepting a “super-utility” role, or whatever the Blue Jays eventually hope to do with the 25-year-old, but it’s not all the time you find a budding star willing to give up their position.
That’s not a subtle shot at Bo Bichette, who has openly stated that he prefers to remain at shortstop. Part of the equation for finding success at the highest level is figuring out what makes you the most comfortable, and ultimately where you can perform the best. For a guy like Bichette, he has made it a mission to not only stick at shortstop, but to thrive at the position. We’ve also seen Vladimir Guerrero Jr. work hard this offseason, in part with the goal to return to his preferred spot at third base.
The fact that Biggio doesn’t really care where he plays will ultimately end up as an important factor for this team in the coming years. Whether that means Semien remains beyond 2021, or if and when Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans arrive in the big leagues, Atkins knows he can count on Biggio’s versatility in order to put the best team on the field he can.
It’s just another subtle way that the Texas naitve makes this team better, and we’ve already seen plenty of that throughout Biggio’s first two years with the Blue Jays. Don’t expect that to stop any time soon.