Toronto Blue Jays News

Who will be the starting second baseman for the Blue Jays in 2023?

Sep 20, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider (14) with his team during a pitching change against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider (14) with his team during a pitching change against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 8, 2020; Buffalo, New York, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Santiago Espinal (5) and second baseman Cavan Biggio (8) run off the field after the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Sahlen Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

Rolling with a platoon

As I said earlier, the Blue Jays have several options returning from their 2022 roster unless they make some changes over the winter. A roster tweak or two could come from the group we’re talking about today, or it’s equally possible that we could be looking at another job share for Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal.

Most of the fan base is familiar with what the duo brings to the table, and it’s a pretty serviceable combination. Espinal is an elite defender who is capable of also backing up Bo Bichette at shortstop and Matt Chapman at third base, and having him at second gives them a very strong group as a whole. He’s also been an improving hitter, and is certainly capable of hitting in the bottom third, especially when he adds his quality glove work to the fold.

As for Biggio, he’s had some pretty mixed results over the last two seasons but he did play much better this year than he did in 2022. The fact that he brings a left-handed bat, has the ability to play third base, first base, and in the outfield, and that he’s been a long-time teammate of most of this core might cloud our perceptions of his true value, but he was still worth 0.9 bWAR with just 257 at-bats this year.

Biggio will be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason after making a little over 2.1 million this year, and spotrac.com has him projected for a modest raise to 2.7 million for next year. He has three more years of contract control, and his salary is still pretty reasonable. As for Espinal, he is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and spotrac estimates his salary at just over 1.8 million after making just $723,550 this year.

While the Jays could certainly use this duo as a platoon at second base next year, it’s equally possible that both return in some sort of platoon role. The bench could be an interesting area of the team that they may or may not address, but both players are versatile enough to bring a lot of value as full, or part-time players.

Ross Atkins could ultimately decide to trade from his deeper second base group, but I wouldn’t be surprised if all three of Merrifield, Biggio, and Espinal were still on the roster next season either.

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