Blue Jays: Which internal options are there for the fourth outfielder role?

David Corcoran
Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages
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Cavan Biggio

The one time Double-A MVP, Cavan Biggio has appeared to have lost the confidence in most of the fan base as a potential solution in the lineup.  However, he is extremely versatile and still has the potential to have an impact bat. Biggio has now started 297 career big league games, which 44 of those have been as an outfielder, primarily in right field.  I don’t doubt Biggio’s abilities in the outfield, however I am more comfortable with him as a fifth outfielder on the team; as in a player that only plays out there in a pinch.  I would not want to go into the season counting on him to play three or four times a week in right field.

Nathan Lukes

Nathan Lukes was signed last offseason by the Blue Jays and played the entire season in Triple-A Buffalo with the Bisons.  He is currently on the 40-man roster and will be 30-years-old next summer, but has yet to make his big league debut.  In 111 games last season, Lukes hit a career-best 11 home runs and had a slash line of .285/364/.425.  I’ll be honest and say I don’t know a whole lot about Lukes, but I don’t mind him getting a chance throughout the season, but I would not want to go into Spring Training thinking he has the spot as fourth outfielder locked down.

Whit Merrifield

The Blue Jays acquired Whit Merrifield on August 2 last season and he is coming into the last year of his guaranteed contract, but has a mutual option for 2024. Merrifield had his struggles when he first started with the club as he was just 14-for-73 (.192 average) over his first 30 games, but as his bat came along he slowly became an everyday player on the team.  Over his final 14 games of the regular season, Merrifield went 20-for-48 (.417 average) with an OPS of 1.181 as he had eight extra base hits.  In the Wild Card series, Merrifield started both games, one at second base and one in left field.  During the regular season, he played 289 innings for the Blue Jays and 47% of those innings were as an outfielder. Over his entire career, Merrifield has been primarily a second baseman, but has started 249 of his 860 career starts in the outfield.  I am quite confident in Merrifield filling in as the fourth outfielder and with the likely injuries over the season he can fill the hole.

Going into the season, I believe Merrifield is the starting second baseman, however they have both Santiago Espinal and Biggio who can play that position so my belief is that Merrifield will get two or three starts a week at second base and the rest will be as the fourth outfielder to give those two players playing time, while giving Springer and Kiermaier adequate rest.

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