If two of the first three moves this offseason are retaining players who were members of last season’s disappointing squad, it will send a confusing message to the fanbase. The team did agree to a two-year contract with utility infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa on Wednesday, but that was hardly the move that would reinvigorate this franchise.
Re-signing Matt Chapman to a long-term contract makes the most sense to address the need at that position. Despite his offensive numbers falling off after April last season, Chappy remains one of the best at the hot corner and, easily, the best at the position on the open market.
Gio Urshela is another player who could fill in if Chapman signs elsewhere and is the next-best player on the free-agent market, but a trade could also open up some fascinating fits. Isaac Paredes could be on the block, and the Jays could make a more competitive offer after adding another infielder to a crowded group that includes Espinal, Biggio, Davis Schneider, and prospects Orelvis Martinez, Addison Barger, and Damiano Palmegiani.
If the Blue Jays can convince the Rays to move Paredes, he’d be the primary third baseman but can also play anywhere on the diamond, with a more pronounced comfort level at second and first. That would free up IKF to be a super-utility player around the infield while also getting some experience in the outfield for the Yankees in 2023.
One thing is for sure. Kiner-Falefa’s arrival means that the surplus of infielders on the 40-man roster will almost certainly be re-arranged and traded for other pieces.