The Blue Jays announced they’ve placed third baseman Cavan Biggio on the 10-day injured list with a cervical spine ligament sprain. Additionally, lefty Anthony Kay and righty Jeremy Beasley were optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. To replace that trio on the active roster, infielder Joe Panik and reliever Anthony Castro were each reinstated from the IL, while righty Ty Tice was recalled from Buffalo.
Biggio’s IL placement is the most impactful of today’s spate of transactions. The 26-year-old has started 35 of Toronto’s first 42 games, with the bulk of his work coming at the hot corner. It’s been a difficult start to the year for Biggio, who has just a .205/.315/.315 slash with three homers across 151 plate appearances. That’s a far cry from the cumulative .240/.368/.430 mark (118 wRC+) he put up between 2019-20. Biggio’s impeccable plate discipline has remained intact, but he’s made contact on a career-worst 72% of his swings this season. (The league average contact rate is 75.2%). It’s no coincidence he’s striking out at a career-high 31.1% clip.
Panik and Santiago Espinal look like the best bets to handle third in Biggio’s absence. Neither has offered much offensively over the past few years, so the Jays will be anxious for Biggio’s return. It seems reasonable to expect him back in the short-term, as Scott Mitchell of TSN tweets that Biggio’s been playing through some neck stiffness recently and the team hopes a “few days” of rest will get him past the issue.
Kay has started four of his five appearances this season. He’s been hit around for a 6.62 ERA, although his peripherals suggest he’s been a bit unlucky to allow so many runs. Kay has stranded an unsustainably low 64.7% of baserunners and opposing hitters have managed a lofty .356 batting average on balls in play against him. A few more batted balls finding gloves and/or better sequencing could’ve resulted in an ERA closer to Kay’s 4.38 SIERA. Returning to the minors will give him a chance to work on his control; the lefty has walked a too-high 12.3% of batters faced this year.
The Jays will run a bullpen game to take Kay’s spot in the rotation for now, manager Charlie Montoyo said (via Shi Davidi of Sportsnet). Top prospects Nate Pearson and Alek Manoah are each performing well in Triple-A, though, and Kay’s demotion will only fuel speculation one or both of the vaunted young arms could get a look in the big leagues relatively soon. Pearson, of course, made a brief big league debut last season, while Manoah is pitching above A-ball for the first time this year.