Blue Jays reportedly call up top prospect to provide crucial offensive reinforcement

Feb 19, 2024; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Addison Barger (47) and designated
Feb 19, 2024; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Addison Barger (47) and designated / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Wednesday's action, the Toronto Blue Jays are 13-11 and sitting in third place in the American League East. Things aren't going perfectly, but they're staying afloat and hanging in there through the first month of play this year.

The likes of Alejandro Kirk, George Springer, Kevin Kiermaier and Bo Bichette are all having troubles getting going on offense. So far, it's been a combination of Daulton Varsho, Justin Turner, Davis Schneider and Ernie Clement providing the majority of the club's offensive fireworks. It's not time to get desperate, but a change is needed somewhere.

According to Johnny Giunta of the Gate 14 Podcast and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays plan to recall Addison Barger (Jays Journal's No. 4 prospect) to the active roster ahead of this evening's game.

The move has not yet been made official by the Blue Jays, but the most likely scenario here seems to be Kiermaier hitting the injured list after he prematurely left Tuesday night's game with an injury (left hip flexor discomfort).

Blue Jays recall prospect Addison Barger for MLB debut

Barger, 24, has been a fantastic hitter throughout his minor league career and is starting the 2024 season off with a bang. Through 19 games as a member of the Buffalo Bisons, he's got 13 extra-base hits (10 doubles, 3 home runs) with 21 runs driven in, a .314 batting average and a 1.021 OPS. He's drawing a ton of walks (14) while cutting back on strikeouts (15) and seems to be riding a hot streak right now.

That's exactly why it's the best time to get his bat into the lineup. Barger's no slouch on defense either, though. He is a third baseman by trade but has extensive experience at each of the other three infield spots.

Interestingly, the Blue Jays opted to try Barger, who has an extremely strong throwing arm, out in right field in the second half of last season. He took to the move well and has six games there under his belt this year. It seems that he'll get time at both third base and the outfield while some other players shift around a bit.

Looking at the current defensive alignment, Varsho is likely to shift over to center field on a full-time basis if Kiermaier is indeed the one going down. Springer would DH on days that Barger is in right field, while Schneider (and/or Clement) get playing time in left field. Cavan Biggio is also on hand as a corner outfield option.

In Kiermaier's absence, it's possible that Biggio becomes the backup center fielder, as there are no other solid options out there behind Varsho. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has experience all over the outfield grass, so he could also be an option, which would open up third base for Barger. See, I told you there's a bunch of different ways this could be shifted around.

Kiermaier, 34, is 11-for-57 (.193) with 18 strikeouts and three extra-base hits to open up the year. He's got a 46 OPS+ and has been a well below-average hitter. A short stint on the injured list may be exactly what he needs to rest, recalibrate and recover.