Blue Jays 2B Options for 2022
After Marcus Semien‘s wildly successful 2021 with the Toronto Blue Jays on a “prove it” deal, he has cashed in on a long-term deal, departing for the sunny climes of Texas to play in the Rangers’ barn stadium. This means the Jays will be looking to fill a hole up the middle once again. I summarize some of their potential internal and external options.
2022 Contract Status: 1st Year Arb Eligible (Super 2)
2021 Stats: 79 G; .224/.322/.356; 7 HR; 86 OPS+; 0.4 bWAR
Biggio heads Toronto’s current depth chart at second base. He owns a 107 career OPS+ but only started 71 games in a lackluster 2021 season thanks to various injuries. His playing time to start 2022 will likely depend on his success during the spring training slate.
2022 Contract Status: Pre-Arb Eligible
2021 Stats: 92 G; .311/.376/.405; 2 HR; 114 OPS+; 2.5 bWAR
Espinal had a breakout year as a part-time third baseman for the Jays in 2021. He has not played any major-league innings at second but is listed behind Biggio on the Jays’ depth chart for second base. Espinal’s power numbers are rather low for corner infielder, so the Jays could consider adding a slugger at third and platooning Biggio/Espinal at second.
The 2022 crop of available free agent primary second basemen is not exactly star-studded. This means the Jays may need to consider another short-term deal or work the phones after the owners’ lockout ends.
2022 Contract Status: Free Agent
2021 Stats: 101 G; .280/.344/.404; 7 HR; 103 OPS+; 1.1 bWAR
Solano blossomed with the San Francisco Giants after turning 30, winning a Silver Slugger Award at second base during the shortened 2020 season. He is not a power hitter, as he only has 23 career home runs, averaging 6/162 games. While his age does not make him a wise choice for a long-term deal, he would make a solid addition as a second baseman/utility infielder on a shorter contract.
2022 Contract Status: 3rd Year Arb Eligible
2021 Stats: 148 G; .328/.375/.536; 28 HR; 146 OPS+; 6.5 bWAR
Turner has been a primary shortstop for most of his career but slid over to second base after joining the Los Angeles Dodgers post-deadline in 2021, starting 48 games in the middle of the diamond. Turner would bring additional championship experience to an aspiring contender. Acquiring his expiring contract will likely require parting with some top prospects.
2022 Contract Status: Signed through 2022 with 2023 team option
2021 Stats: 162 G; .277/.317/.395; 10 HR; 91 OPS+; 3.6 bWAR
The two-time Royals All-Star has been the subject of trade rumors for years but has yet to be dealt by a Royals team that has been rebuilding in the years since their 2015 championship season. While his major-league career got to a later start, he has been very durable, appearing in 162 games during each of the last two full seasons. He has also been a stolen base leader during three of his five full-time seasons, which would make the Jays’ slugging lineup more dynamic.
The Jays’ choice at second base for 2022 will boil down to whether they trust in their youth movement or opt for a more experienced player in a win-now approach. I believe Toronto may end up monitoring Biggio’s progress in early 2022 and make a move on the trade market should his performance prove to be disappointing.
Featured Image: Toronto, Canada – June 28, 2016: Sign of Toronto Blue Jays by Lester Balajadia / Shutterstock.com.
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