According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, the Major League cutoff date for service time in regard to Super Two status has been set at two years and 128 days (2.128). This means 30 players across the league will be heading to arbitration this winter, which now includes Blue Jays infielder Santiago Espinal (2.149).
Acquired by the Blue Jays back in June of 2018 from the Boston Red Sox, Espinal made his Major League debut with the Jays in 2020 and spent the next two years splitting time between the active roster and the Buffalo Bisons in AAA, suiting up in 92 games last season in more of a bench role and as a pinch hitter/defensive replacement. He also missed some time last year with an injury late in the season.
Coming into the 2022 campaign, Espinal was sitting at 1.149 years of service time and spent all season on the Jays’ active roster, posting a .267/.322/.370 slash line through 449 at-bats to the tune of a .692 OPS.
Blue Jays infielder Santiago Espinal will head to arbitration this winter as a Super Two player
The Dominican product had a great start to the year, holding a .298 average and a .801 OPS through June 15th and gained enough attention to be named a replacement player for the All-Star Game a month later. His play following the Midsummer classic started to flatten out, as his average and OBP stayed within the .260 and .310-.320 areas respectively while his OPS fluctuated between the high .690 mark to .710 before seasons end. He also added seven home runs and 51 RBI, both career highs.
Defensively is where Espinal really shines, as the soon-to-be 28-year-old was the club’s primary second baseman this year, earning a 4 bDRS at the position and sitting in the 96th percentile in Outs Above Average. As the season wore on and after the acquisition of Whit Merrifield at the trade deadline, Espinal did find himself on the bench a bit more but overall, it was a productive campaign. He won the battle for the second base after Cavan Biggio struggled out of the gate and produced a 2.2 bWAR and a 99 wRC+ on the year.
Espinal will now head to arbitration with the Blue Jays this offseason as a Super Two player, joining Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Tim Mayza as a member of the four-year arbitration club.
Spotrac currently predicts a $1.81 million dollar arbitration value for the middle infielder, which would be a solid increase from the $723K he earned in 2022. Espinal is eligible for free agency following the 2026 campaign.