Option 3: Run with the internal options
When it comes to internal options, the first one that comes to mind is none other than Santiago Espinal. That’s because he actually played admirably in that role prior to the arrival of Chapman in 2022. He exemplifies solid defence and has the arm to man the hot corner. However, his overall offensive output could leave a lot to be desired, as he has yet to show that he could be a force when it comes to providing solid run production over the past three years.
Both Davis Schneider and Ernie Clement have also had their moments of glory during the latter half of the Jays’ 2023 season. Both players have shown that their bats could play well in the big leagues, before Schneider cooled off and Clement was sent back down to the minors near the end of the season. They could be a work in progress at third base, but their ability to hit would not be questioned.
But diving into the Jays’ minor league system is where the options would become much more intriguing. Addison Barger actually had a shot at making the majors last season with an impressive Spring Training showing before he lost out to Nathan Lukes for a spot on the Opening Day roster. In addition, the ascension of Orelvis Martinez was in full effect in 2023, as he went from a troubling hitter that could only hit for power and not for average, to a transformed, well-disciplined, contact power hitter by the end of the season. At the same time, he was even promoted to the highest minor league level in Triple-A Buffalo, as his bat appeared MLB-ready already.
With all of these options available to try out that could pay big dividends in the end, the Jays should really explore these before thinking about investing in free agency to fill the vacated spot. Partly because it would save them the money so that they could upgrade in other areas, and partly because most of these options could potentially work out surprisingly well if given the chance.
Probability of it happening: 9/10