How do the Blue Jays' latest MiLB signings fit into the roster?

Where do Eduardo Escobar and Daniel Vogelbach fit in the latest set of the Jays' roster moves?

Vogelbach and Escobar vs the Philadelphia Phillies
Vogelbach and Escobar vs the Philadelphia Phillies / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

After the Blue Jays' offensive woes of 2023, fans wondered what additions GM Ross Atkins would make in the offseason to strengthen the lineup. There were first speculations about Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, as well as rumours surrounding Matt Chapman and Cody Bellinger. While signing Justin Turner provides depth at the DH level, the Blue Jays have yet to make a significant offensive splash. With many big-name free agents still unsigned, one can only wonder how Eduardo Escobar and Daniel Vogelbach could possibly help improve the Jays' roster.

Daniel Vogelbach

The New York Mets took a shot on Vogelbach in 2022 after he had a solid first-half performance with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite finishing the season strong, Vogelbach regressed in 2023. He hit .233/.339/.404 with 13 HRs, good for a 104 OPS+. He wasn't horrible, but not what the Mets were hoping for at DH.

Although Vogelbach had his struggles last year, he has interesting offensive qualities to consider. Firstly, he has excellent BB rates. Vogelbach is an extremely patient hitter, having a 13.2 BB% in 2023 and 15.8 BB% in 2022 (99th percentile). With Brandon Belt and Matt Chapman both hitting free agency (the Blue Jays' two best BB% players in 2023), Vogelbach provides extremely good plate-discipline depth.

"Vogey" also has very strong numbers against RHP. In 2023, he took the majority of his plate appearances against righties and batted a respectable .780 OPS. Turner hit a very strong .900 OPS against lefties in 2023. If Vogelbach can re-prove himself during the Spring, he could provide the Jays with an interesting platoon opportunity at DH.

Eduardo Escobar

Escobar may be the more puzzling addition of the two signings, as he struggled considerably more than his former (and now, current) teammate, Vogelbach.

In just 99 games with the 2023 Mets and Angels, Escobar slashed a measly .226/.269/.344 with 6 home runs, accumulating a 67 OPS+. Escobar even ended the season on a low note, batting for a horrid .427 OPS in his last 28 days.

So why are the Jays giving him a shot?

Like Vogelbach, Escobar provides strong platoon opportunities. The switch-hitter batted for a .877 and .817 OPS against RHP in 2021 and 2022, respectively. He also had a good amount of power in these two seasons, combining for 54 round trippers.

Considering the Blue Jays lineup is currently very right-handed heavy (with the big bats coming from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and George Springer), Escobar provides the Jays with left-handed depth. Create a platoon scenario with a player such as Santiago Espinal, who has strong numbers against LHP, and the Blue Jays have a serviceable option at third base while still maintaining Justin Turner at designated hitter.

While the Blue Jays may look to add more big-name FAs as they approach Opening Day, Escobar and Vogelbach provide the Jays not just depth, but interesting platoon opportunities. Considering they signed minor-league contracts, the Jays have two players who could raise the floor of the team at a very cheap price. Are they going to be in the starters? Maybe not. Were the Jays wise take a flyer on them? Certainly. Neither veteran seems likely to be stashed in Triple-A to begin the year, so there's a chance we see each of them make the Opening Day roster for the 2024 Jays.