Over the past week or so the Blue Jays have made a few minor league signings to sure up some depth for the upcoming season. But will any of these signings make an impact on the upcoming campaign? Or will they end up filling out the Buffalo Bisons roster.
Ruben Tejada, 30, has played across the middle of the infield for the majority of his career but has primarily played shortstop. Toronto has a thin system at short behind Bo Bichette. Bichette will play mostly every day this upcoming season but everyone needs days off. Tejada hasn’t played regular major league ball since 2017 when he hit .230/.293/.576 across 41 games with the Orioles.
I expect to see Tejada play in Buffalo and to only see the call to Toronto in a worst case scenario, like Bichette missing time due to an injury.
Luke Maile’s Replacement
Luke Maile was a serviceable back up catcher for the Jays over the past few years, including his surprising offensive production in 2018. But Maile lost his job when Reese McGuire debuted in July and split time behind the plate with Danny Jansen. Maile has found a new home in Pittsburgh, hopefully the “Maile Man” will deliver for the Pirates.
Caleb Joseph joins the organization to fill Maile’s role. Jansen and McGuire are going to break camp as the teams two catchers and Joseph will play in Buffalo. The same as Tejada, Joseph will only come north of the border if the injury bug strikes Toronto. Joseph slashed .211/.250/.513 across 20 games for the Diamondbacks in 2019.
The new Eric Sogard?
One signing who we may actually see in Toronto this season is Joe Panik. The former breakout second baseman hasn’t been able to replicate his production in 2015 which resulted in him participating in the All-Star Game. He also won a gold glove in 2016 and seemed like the future at second for the Giants. But his production at the plate has diminished over the past few years and San Francisco shipped him to the Mets midway through last season.
Second base is Cavan Biggio’s, that isn’t up for debate, but Panik could be a solid backup for Biggio when he needs a day off or plays elsewhere. For games where Biggio moves over to first or into the outfield Panik could slot in at second.
The Jays struck gold last season with Eric Sogard and are hoping for the same here with Panik. Panik slashed .244/.315/.651 in 142 games last season between San Francisco and New York. Panik’s career OBP sits at .334, if he can sit around that number this upcoming season this deal will be a low-risk, high reward victory for Toronto.
Statistics via baseball-reference.com
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