With the Blue Jays’ recent addition of Matt Chapman just over a week ago, Santiago Espinal’s role with the club heading into the 2022 campaign looks a little uncertain at the time being. But, with Espinal’s versatility around the diamond, he should be a valuable player for the club in 2022.
Espinal, 27, was acquired by the Blue Jays in 2018 from the Boston Red Sox as part of the Steve Pearce trade. At the time, he was thought to be a utility infielder that could provide some assistance off the bench, if needed. Fast forward to 2022, and he’s played well enough to at least compete for the role of an everyday player.
Last season, in 92 games, Espinal slashed 311/.405/.781. He also provided above-average defence to go along with that impressive slashline. He played the majority of his games at third base, with 81 of his starts coming at the hot corner.
The Blue Jays will no longer need Espinal at third base on an everyday basis though, as they now employ one of the best defensive players in all of baseball in Matt Chapman to fill that void. This situation begs the question; what will Espinal’s role be for the Blue Jays in 2022?
With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. the everyday first baseman, Bo Bichette solidifying himself as an All-Star shortstop, and Chapman as the team’s new third baseman, the only position in the infield still with some questions surrounding it seems to be second base.
Initially thought of as a utility infielder, Blue Jays Santiago Espinal has since played his way into the conversation of being an everyday player.
Cavan Biggio was supposed to be the second baseman of the future for this Toronto Blue Jays ball club, but, thus far, that hasn’t panned out. Biggio played just 79 games in the 2021 campaign due to multiple injuries throughout the year and most of them were spent at third base when Guerrero Jr. moved across the diamond.
At this time, the 26-year-old is back with the team and has already played in four spring training games this year. By all accounts, he seems to be healthy again and ready to compete.
With Biggio coming off an injury-riddled season last year, the smart thing to do might be to give him some off days here and there. That’s when you can slide Santiago Espinal into that second base role. Aside from Biggio, Espinal will likely be used as a utility player all over the diamond for any player in need of a rest day. Espinal’s versatility should be very valuable for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2022.