Toronto Blue Jays: Where to fit in the utility players

Wild Card Series - Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays - Game One
Wild Card Series - Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays - Game One / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Blue Jays are going to be opening up Spring Training shortly and there really is only one position spot available on the 26-man roster.  With that being said, there is interesting case of how the club will utilize the trio of Whit Merrifield, Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal.  Manager John Schneider will have some intriguing decisions to make.

If the postseason started tomorrow and everyone is healthy, Merrifield would likely be the starting second baseman, but is that how Schneider will run with the lineup throughout the season?

Espinal will likely enter the season as the primary backup for both spots on the left side of the infield. In 2022, Bo Bichette started all but five games at shortstop, which will give Espinal maybe a half dozen starts in replacement for Bichette. Matt Chapman, who should've won the American League Gold Glove, started 151 of 162 games last year, which would give Espinal another dozen starts at the hot corner.  This puts Espinal up to 15-20 starts on the left side of the infield.

Going into the 2023 season, Merrifield is the best suited to be the fourth outfielder. He has started 185 career games patrolling the grass, while Biggio has started just 44 contests and showed some struggles tracking balls last year.  However, as previously stated, the ideal lineup would have Merrifield starting at second base come playoff time, so Schneider will likely want to keep him fresh at that position. This would mean Biggio would likely receive a lot of starts in the outfield for the primary reason of getting Merrifield enough reps at second base throughout the year.

The outfield will need a lot of relief as the trio of Daulton Varsho, George Springer and Kevin Kiermaier combined to start 245 out of a possible 486 games in 2022 and the year prior was even less at a total of 177.  Springer is going to see a lot of games at designated hitter as the club needs to protect him from injury, while Kiermaier is coming off a serious injury that had him start just 56 games last year. The best case scenario is that each of the outfielders will be back to starting over 100 games each, but that still leaves nearly 200 games unaccounted for.

A very rough estimate would have Merrifield getting equal amount of time between second base and outfield, starting in around 140-150 games.  Biggio may get 30-40 starts at second base with double that in the outfield and Espinal getting around 50-60 starts at second base and a couple dozen on the left side of the infield.

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