The Blue Jays could roll out a number of different lineup configurations this year, especially thanks to the versatility of a few players in particular.
The most obvious candidate for what I’m talking about would be Cavan Biggio, who will get the start in right field on Thursday against the Detroit Tigers in their Grapefruit League matchup. Despite missing large chunks of last season due to injury, we saw the 26-year-old appear in right and left field last season, and he’s even covered centre as recently as 2020 as well. I suspect his most common position will be his natural spot at second base, but he’s also capable of covering the hot corner at third, and even spelling Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first on occasion.
On Thursday the Jays are running out a lineup that could easily be used for a regular season game, and Biggio’s ability to move around helped to make that possible.
With Lourdes Gurriel Jr. serving as the designated hitter, Biggio slides to the outfield and Santiago Espinal gets the start at second. It’s expected that Biggio and Espinal will largely share time at second base, perhaps even in a platoon, but if the latter plays as well as he did in 2021 then I could see the above lineup being utilized even more.
Charlie Montoyo is going to have plenty of options when the regular season gets underway. Greg Bird has really impressed in camp so far, and could see plenty of at-bats as the DH as well, especially because he brings some left-handed balance to a right-heavy lineup. The same could be said for Raimel Tapia, who the Jays acquired from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Randal Grichuk last week. The speedy outfielder probably won’t be an every-day player, but I suspect he’ll find his way into the lineup on a fairly regular basis.
And then there’s the battle for playing time at catcher. I imagine we’re going to see plenty of Danny Jansen in 2022, and Reese McGuire could still factor into the equation as well. It looks like the Blue Jays wants to make sure they can keep Kirk’s bat in the lineup as much as possible, which could lead to him serving as the DH a fair bit on days when Jansen is behind the plate. It’s also possible that Jansen plays his way into a majority role, especially after the way he hit later in the 2021 season after he returned from injury. In a weird way, guys like Biggio, Espinal, Jansen, and Kirk could all be in direct competition for playing time.
For years we heard the Blue Jays talk about wanting to build a roster that had some flexibility, and while they don’t have a ton of players who shift around the diamond, there are enough that it gives Montoyo and the coaching staff plenty of options. Whether Thursday’s lineup is the one we’ll see on Opening Day, or if it’s something just a little different, the Blue Jays should have plenty of combinations that can win a ball game.