Blue Jays: May be no choice but to ask Marcus Semien to move
As the Blue Jays continue to struggle with their infield defence, there may be no choice but to ask Marcus Semien to play a new position.
The 30 year was signed to a one-year, 18 million dollar contract this past winter with the understanding that he’d be playing second base for the Blue Jays. He’d been a long-time shortstop for the Oakland A’s, but with the Jays committed to Bo Bichette at the position they asked Semien where he’d prefer to play if he had to make a switch. His preference was to play second base than third, so Cavan Biggio was asked to move to the hot corner.
One of the appeals of signing Semien was improving the overall defence from the infield group, and unfortunately that hasn’t happened at all. Semien has made a very successful transition to his new position, but Biggio has badly struggled while adjusting to his new regular spot. At the same time, Bichette has been very shaky at shortstop as well, to the point where the left side of the infield has been a real liability for the club so far.
And it’s probably time for the Blue Jays to ask Semien to help them solve the problem.
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While it’s understandable that many fans would like to see Semien return to his old spot at shortstop, the Blue Jays are going to continue their commitment to Bichette there, at least for now. He’s a franchise player talent, and you have to give that kind player all of the patience you can muster.
As for Biggio, I feel like we’re at the point where Charlie Montoyo has no choice but to find somewhere else for the 26 year old to play on a regular basis. Lately the skipper has kept him in the lineup and away from third base with a few appearances in the outfield, but that will be a tougher way to utilize him as soon as next week when George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez return.
Since he’ll have to use his infielder’s glove to see regular playing time, I can’t help but wonder if a return to second base wouldn’t make a world of difference for him. To be fair, Biggio would be a downgrade from Semien at second, but it’s hard to see how flipping the two of them could make things any worse than they are now. Semien has a strong throwing arm that should play better than Biggio’s from third, and his presence might have a positive effect on Bichette on the left side as well. Biggio also showed himself to be a serviceable second baseman over the last two years, and far better than he’s played at third.
One of the big selling features that we heard so much about Semien is the fact that he’s a clubhouse leader and a model teammate. It’s not necessarily fair to have to ask him to switch positions for a second time in four months, but surely he can see what’s going on right now. The Blue Jays’ infield defence has been the greatest weakness of the team through their first 20 games, and moving him to third could help to solve two problems. Ideally it would give the Blue Jays better production from third base, and even more importantly, find a way to turn Biggio’s season around.
A big league manager is always going to have more patience than the fan base, but it’s getting to the point where a move is going to have to be made. There are a few different solutions at Montoyo’s disposal, but asking Semien to swap positions with Biggio likely makes the most sense.