Blue Jays: Four Third Base Options That Aren’t Jose Ramirez
The Toronto Blue Jays have been linked to Cleveland Guardians star third baseman Jose Ramirez for some time now.
While acquiring a player like Ramirez would certainly make the Jays a better team, I’m not sure it’s the right move for the organization.
They’ve already got a stacked roster, and don’t need another All-Star level player at third base. Additionally, after surrendering top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson in exchange for Jose Berrios in July, Toronto no longer boasts a top-10 ranked farm system.
Blue Jays’ Alternative Third Base Options
Rather than going for the splashy move, the Blue Jays could consider other more affordable choices, including one in-house.
Santiago Espinal received the most playing time of his career in 2021 and responded well, slashing .311/.376./.781 and achieving a WAR of 2.5 in 92 games. He also has proven to be an above-average fielder, recording a dWAr of 1.0.
Last season was a bit of a step back for Cavan Biggio, as he dealt with injuries and hit only .224 in 250 at-bats. Consistency in the field continues to be elusive for Biggio. He committed nine errors in only 52 games at third base.
Despite Espinal’s lack of power (2 HR’s in 222 ABs) and Biggio’s shaky glovework, this duo could get the job done in 2022. A full, healthy season could see Cavan hit 15-20 home runs and Espinal has a knack for making winning plays. They would just need to be solid, not spectacular.
Blue Jays’ Free Agency Possibilities
The Jays have done a great job in recent years of getting the most out of non-roster invites. Guys like Eric Sogard, Joe Panik, and A.J. Cole have been useful players without any risk. While this next player may need to be signed, chances are it would be at a minimal cost.
Why not hold an internal competition between the incumbents and bring in a solid vet like Josh Harrison? He hit .279 with eight homers and 33 doubles a year ago for Washington and Oakland.
He’s been an above-average defensive infielder throughout his career, would be a steady clubhouse influence, and has the added benefit of being able to play second base as well.
Kyle Seager enjoyed a career-best power surge in 2021, launching 35 big flies. He was clearly swinging for the fences as the lifetime .251 hitter recorded an average of just .212.
While acquiring a player like Ramirez would certainly make the Blue Jays a better team, I’m not sure it’s the right move for the organization.
Keep in mind that he did that while playing his home games at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. At the launching pad that is Rogers Centre, 40 home runs is a possibility.
While he’s not known as being a great defensive player, his power would add lineup protection and he’d likely be willing to sign a short-term contract.
Blue Jays Trade Partners?
In June, at the onset of the All-Star Game voting, I became obsessed with Ryan McMahon. Poring over the lists of different position players, I found not only is McMahon criminally underrated, but he also deserved a spot.
Not many agreed with me. German Marquez was the Rockies’ only representative, but “McDoogle” was on my radar. He went on to achieve career-highs in runs, hits, doubles, and RBI while displaying a sharp glove (NL-leading dWAr of 2.6).
Now, Are the Rockies interested in trading him? Probably not, and who could blame them? McMahon is just 26, is entering the second of three arbitration-eligible seasons, and won’t be a free agent until 2024.
Either way, any of these third base options could pan out. The Blue Jays don’t need another star at third base, they just need steady contributors.