A priority for the Toronto Blue Jays is to add a third baseman. The defense was not a strength for the Blue Jays in 2020. The front office addressed their outfield defense after signing George Springer. Now, the attention of the front office turned to the infield defense. They managed that item on their offseason to-do-list and signed Marcus Semien.
Infielder Marcus Semien is in agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays on a one-year, $18 million contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 26, 2021
At the moment, Toronto’s infield consists of the following:
Second base: Marcus Semien/Cavan Biggio
Shortstop: Bo Bichette/Biggio/Semien
Third base: Guerrero/Biggio/Semien
Utility: Santiago Espinal
The Blue Jays front office has now given the roster plenty of infield versatility. With Semien, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., all three players can provide the ability to play multiple positions. Here are some possibilities which the Blue Jays could deploy over in the hot corner.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. looks like a long-shot to win back the full-time third base job. However, Guererro has been working hard this offseason. He wants to play the Blue Jays third baseman, and he’s sure to be given that opportunity during spring training. The Blue Jays decision to move Guerrero Jr. to first base was to protect him from a knee injury that saw him struggles at third base in 2019.
Guerrero Jr. has all the motivation to turn himself into a viable option at third with the injury behind him. The timing might be an even more significant factor than Guerrero’s progress at third base. A possible scenario would see the 21-year old get reps at third, playing time at first base, and the occasional DH slot.
The Blue Jays could head down trade avenue to see what’s out there on the market. Adding a third baseman like Kris Bryant would benefit the Blue Jays, who’s entering the final year of his contract. The former NL MVP slashed a dismal .206/.293/.351 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 34 games in 2020. The 29-year old is due $19.5 million in 2021 after avoiding arbitration with the Chicago Cubs.
Bleacher Nation reported that the Blue Jays were in talks with the Cubs. Toronto was rumored to have discussed a trade that would have brought Bryant and teammate Kyle Hendricks up north. Perhaps a move out of Chicago to a team like Toronto would be a new start for Bryant. Luckily, the Blue Jays have enough prospects to part within a trade.
It’s super unlikely that the Cubs would trade both Kyle Hendricks and Kris Bryant in the same deal. But apparently it’s been discussed. https://t.co/thQMP7PDve
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 25, 2021
Signing Semien from the Oakland Athletics to a one-year, $18 million deal adds more depth to the lineup. It’s a considerable upgrade for the Blue Jays as Semien has the versatility to play second base, shortstop, and third base. During his time with the A’s, he was willing to put in the work to develop defensively. The skills are there for Semien to play three of those positions. The question remains where Semien will play.
The Blue Jays have an everyday shortstop in Bo Bichette. Semien was a shortstop for the past six seasons, and before that, he spent time at second and third base. The thing is, he only has 29 games of experience at second, where the Blue Jays reportedly plan to use him. If that happens, it would be conducive for the Blue Jays. They have enough versatile infielders, and shifting players around won’t be an issue.
Should none of those players be signed, then it falls on to Plan B. Even with the addition of Semien, Biggio could get everyday at-bats by playing various positions, including third. The Blue Jays might be comfortable with putting Biggio at third for the majority of the season.
Biggio played 10 of his final 13 games over at third, including the playoffs. There’s a good chance the 25-year old can get reps in the outfield too. Manager Charlie Montoyo should be open to Guerrero Jr. playing third, but most likely, it’s Biggio spot.
There are options that the Blue Jays have, and it seems like third base will be up for grabs as the season goes along. But the reality, some of baseball’s best teams are known to move guys around. The Los Angeles Dodgers do it along with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Blue Jays are starting to do it, and that will only continue.
By some point, in 2022 or 2023, the Blue Jays could have top prospects Jordan Groshans or Austin Martin, at third base. Either one will complete the team’s young talented infield with Bichette, Biggio, and Guerrero Jr. For now, adding a veteran presence or a rotating through players on the roster makes sense.
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