SAD NEWS: Toronto Blue Jays key player is gone, due to….

A report on a recently traded Blue Jays infielder raises questions about his departure.
On Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants agreed on a minor trade that sent Otto Lopez to the West in exchange for cash considerations.

Lopez, 25, was eventually the victim of an impossibly tight infield logjam for the Blue Jays. For months, it’s been clear that Davis Schneider, Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, Addison Barger, Leo Jimenez, Orelvis Martinez, Lopez – and, more recently, Justin Turner and Isiah Kiner-Falefa – can’t all stay on the 40-man roster and get the playing time they deserve.

Moving Lopez, who was previously thought to be out of minor league options, seemed like the best decision for the Jays. A lack of options automatically makes a player less adaptable and more likely to be cut – or, in this case, traded. This is especially true if the player isn’t a star. In Lopez’s case, he has not been given the opportunity to demonstrate whether he is a hero or not.

According to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, Lopez still has minor league options. Baggarly does not immediately explain why this is the case, but there are some technical workarounds to the traditional rules governing options.

Lopez had previously been optioned to the minor leagues in 2021, 2022, and 2023, but it appears that he has found a way to earn a fourth option year, as noted by Minor Leaguer at Bluebird Banter. Essentially, if a player has less than five full seasons (in the majors or minors) by the time they reach their options limit, they can earn another.

These details make the fact that Lopez was the one who traded somewhat confusing. Espinal has little to no bat but is a superior defender, so it’s widely assumed that he’ll be moved. If Lopez was optionable and able to be sent to Triple-A starting in 2024, why was he

Especially since Wes Parsons remains on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster. A logjam is a logjam, and someone had to be moved, but did it have to be a player who adds value in so many ways, as Lopez does?

Lopez, a smallball-oriented slap hitter, can bounce around the diamond, steal bases, and maintain a respectable batting average. He currently has a.600 batting average in 10 major league at-bats, but struggled in 84 games at Triple-A last year. For what it’s worth, the Giants’ interest in him could stem from his 24-game stint in the Dominican Winter League this offseason.

During that time, Lopez had five doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 12 RBI. He had a.310 batting average and.834 OPS while playing in both the infield and outfield. In today’s game, defensive flexibility is more important than ever, so his versatility adds value.

Lopez is currently projected to be on the Giants’ Opening Day bench, according to FanGraphs’ Roster Resource. His ability to play all over the diamond should allow him to replace Thairo Estrada at second base or any of the team’s outfielders on any given day. Perhaps this is all he needs to get things going for an extended period of time at the game’s top level.

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