Is the "revolving door" at second base sustainable for the Blue Jays?
By Edward Eng
Pros and cons of the Blue Jays revolving door at second base.
Entering the 2023 season, the Toronto Blue Jays had a dilemma in which they had an excess of riches in terms of everyday players that could play second base. Most of the other fielding positions are practically set with a defined starter (other than the catcher platoon of Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk), but for second base, the Jays have three players that are more than capable of handling full-time duties: Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, and Whit Merrifield.
One advantage that they have going for them is that they all could play multiple positions in the field. However, that opportunity usually only arises when the defined starter for that particular position is resting that day. Hence, the primary position for all three players is still second base for the bulk of the time. Having three players share a position may not be the most ideal situation in the long run.
So how has the situation affected the players thus far? Let’s take a closer look at the production of Espinal, Biggio, and Merrifield after the first ten games of the season.
In terms of actual games started at second base, Espinal has played all five of his games there, Biggio has played three (with one start in the outfield), and Merrifield twice (with six starts in the outfield). From the statistics based on production alone, it appears as though none of the three players have gotten off to a good start to the season. All three are currently producing at a rate well below their career averages. In particular, Espinal appears to be struggling the most, with just a .111 AVG and .222 OPS, and he just got into three games in the Los Angeles Angels series only because the Jays were facing mainly lefties, otherwise he would have only two games played under his belt for the season.
More importantly, it is apparent that Merrifield, being the savvy veteran, is being utilized as a super utility man. He is able to stay in the lineup for most of the games despite getting the least amount of starts at second, whereas both Biggio and Espinal are getting the shorter end of the stick based on matchups, and have been severely limited in their playing time. Hence, early results seem to reveal that the experiment to use all three players for one position may not be working as well as expected, and perhaps a solution to the problem may be needed soon than later.