Biggio 'makes the team better' with new role

April 23rd, 2022

This story was excerpted from Keegan Matheson's Blue Jays Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

We need to talk about Cavan Biggio ... again.

Biggio’s role on this team tends to divide Blue Jays fans. He broke through with a great rookie year in 2019 and followed that up with an equally strong ’20 season, but he hasn’t captured that since. Combine that with the expectations placed on his prospect stock and last name, and it’s understandable he’s warranted debate.

This year, though, Biggio’s spot on the roster is tailor-made for his skillset. No longer is Biggio in line to be “the guy” at one position with the ability to play others. He’s a super-utility player, and he embraces that.

“Wherever I can get in, wherever I can get at-bats and wherever I can help this team is where I’m going to be most comfortable,” Biggio said recently in Boston. “Whether that’s going out there and getting extra reps wherever it may be, that’s what I’ve got to do. Our team, top to bottom, is so good. A guy like [Teoscar Hernández] goes down, and I’m looking forward to getting out there in right field. If Vladdy needs a day, I’ll go to first.”

After coming up as a second baseman, Biggio was asked to slide over to third base in 2021. The Blue Jays were thrilled with how he leaned into that challenge, but it was always going to be, well, a challenge.

This year, you’ll see Biggio at second base, third base and right field. At Fenway Park this week, he slid over to first base when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. needed a day off. If he needs to slide out to left field or finish out a game with a few innings in center, don’t be surprised, either.

“It makes the team better,” said manager Charlie Montoyo. “You can see a team in our division, the Tampa Bay Rays -- that’s all that they do. They’ve got guys playing everywhere. That helps with matchups and with defense. It just makes your team better.”

Biggio’s bat was quiet to start the year, with his first hit not coming until Wednesday's 6-1 win in Boston. That needs to improve, obviously, but if Biggio can get close to his career numbers of a .230 batting average and .353 on-base percentage with 10-15 home runs mixed in, the Blue Jays will be happy.

The intangible you won’t see in his stat line, too, is that the Blue Jays love who Biggio is in the clubhouse. Few players have a better sense, or speak better, of the team around them. It was Biggio who put forth the team’s message following an injury scare with George Springer on Wednesday.

“The attitude in our locker room is pretty positive,” Biggio said. “That just goes to show the depth we have on this team. 'Next guy up' is the mentality, for sure, and over the course of 162 games, stuff like this is going to happen. It sucks, but we have the depth and we have the confidence.”

The short version here? Give Biggio some time. Under this roster construction, especially when it shrinks to 26 men in May, Biggio’s value is real and goes beyond just his counting stats.