Blue Jays dealing with another case of the yips with an infielder?
Things aren’t going well at all for Cavan Biggio as a third baseman for the Blue Jays in 2021, so much so that he might even be dealing with a case of the “yips”.
Unfortunately it’s a familiar term to Blue Jays fans who have been following this team over the last few years. It’s not exactly a medical diagnosis, but it’s basically an unexplainable loss of ability, and most of the time it’s a confidence thing. We saw the same thing happen to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. when he was playing second base in 2019, and eventually the Jays sent him back to Triple-A to get his groove back at the plate, and to work on a transition to left field, where he’s played ever since.
It might be getting to a similar point with Biggio as he struggles to get comfortable with the move to the hot corner. He was displaced after Marcus Semien was signed to play second base over the winter, but it was also his calling card to have the versatility to play almost anywhere on the diamond. While Biggio might be able to fill in for the short-term at multiple positions, it’s more than fair to question if the Jays should continue the experiment with him at third base on an every day basis.
After making his fourth error of the season last night in the 8th inning on what should have been a routine play, it was encouraging to see him make a long throw from deep in the hole to close out the inning. However, with every shaky play that the 26 year old makes, you have to wonder what it’s doing to his confidence.
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A few days ago I made a suggestion that perhaps the Blue Jays should consider a drastic idea like moving Biggio to left field and Gurriel Jr. to third. That would likely take some getting used to for both parties as well, and admittedly it’s not an ideal solution. The outfield is also about to get a lot more crowded with the pending return of both George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez, which may happen over the next week.
When those veterans return, it might be in Biggio’s best interest to make a quick trip to Trenton and to find some success in Triple-A. It’s obviously not how the Texas native wanted his season to go, especially after he’s found so much success over his first two years in the big leagues, but it might be in his best interest for the long-term. The Jays could ask him to spend his time working on his third base chops, or like Gurriel Jr. a few years ago, he could also shift elsewhere.
If Biggio can’t get things turned around on defence then Montoyo does have a few other options. They signed Semien with the understanding that he’d play second base, but they could ask the notoriously good leader if he’d make the move to the hot corner instead and switch with Biggio. An even more unlikely scenario could see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. making more starts at his old position at third, but I’m not sure that’s the way to improve the overall team defence either.
For the time being the Blue Jays will likely have to hope that Biggio can shake off his questionable defensive play and start to make a more reliable contribution. If this is a case of the yips like we’ve seen before, the Jays may have no other choice than to find another solution at third.