Blue Jays 2024 Season Preview: Infielders

Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers
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UTL Otto Lopez

Lopez went from possible utility-man to 40-man roster afterthought in one season. That was in spite of performing admirably for Canada in the WBC, producing clutch hits and playing a solid short-stop. Still, injuries limited Otto in 2023 and he never appeared in a game for Toronto.

After a solid 2022 that saw a .759 OPS as a Bison, Lopez dealt with several lingering injuries and inconsistencies that cost his performance this past year. His OPS dropped over 100 points, and Otto was left off the MLB roster in favour of players like Clement and Schneider at various points of the season. 

Lopez finds himself out of options entering camp in 2024. It appears something drastic would have to occur in order for Otto to be a Blue Jay this season. Between his versatility, athleticism, and contact rates, there’s a solid big leaguer in Otto. It just looks as though it won’t be the Blue Jays who get to see it.  

DH/CI Justin Turner

The newest Blue Jay, to the mixed review of fans, is Justin Turner. Set to DH while making the occasional start in the infield, Turner serves as a replacement for Brandon Belt. A veteran slugger with the reputation of being a leader in the club house, Turner brings a dynamic offensive skillset to an offensive that was in need of a boost. 

Entering his age 39 season, Turner is coming off a 114 OPS+ over 146 games with the Red Sox. JT offers a bit of everything at the plate, with respectable expected stats to go along with low chase and whiff rates. His slash line over the last three seasons works out to a .277/.352/.455 clip, averaging 21 home runs and 88 RBI over the span.

Turner has variable projections amongst the various resources, ranging anywhere from a 98 wRC+ to a 122 wRC+. It’s fair to assume Turner will at least be on base consistently and be relied on to drive in runs. His diverse offensive skillset helps him hit anywhere in the lineup, and his experience in the field is valuable should someone like Vlad or Bo need a day to DH. 

Like it or not, JT is set to be a big contributor for this offence. There are still a few weeks left in the offseason, but there’s a real possibility that Turner is the final cog added to this lineup.