Dodgers acquire utility man Cavan Biggio from Blue Jays to add another left-handed bat

The Dodgers added a versatile reinforcement to their lineup Wednesday, acquiring utility man Cavan Biggio from the Toronto Blue Jays after he was designated for assignment last week.

Biggio, a six-year veteran and son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, was DFA’d by Toronto last week after batting just .200 in 44 games to start the season.

Since a breakout 2019 rookie campaign (when he finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting) and a strong shortened season in 2020 (when his .250 batting average and .807 OPS were career-highs), Biggio has struggled to produce at the plate.

This year was his fourth in a row posting below league-average numbers. He had just six extra-base hits and nine RBIs in 110 at-bats. A typically disciplined hitter with more than half as many career walks as strikeouts, Biggio also had the worst walk-to-strikeout ratio of his career, with 42 punchouts and just 14 free passes this year.

For the Dodgers, however, Biggio should bring some balance to both their defense and lineup.

“He’s versatile,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Can play anywhere, essentially, on the diamond.”

Indeed, the 29-year-old Biggio is a left-handed bat, something the Dodgers have had in short supply since Max Muncy suffered an oblique strain last month.

He can also play some third base in Muncy’s absence — Roberts said that will be Biggio’s primary posittion for the time being — as well as second base, center field and right field.

Wednesday night, Biggio was in the lineup at third, batting ninth.

The Dodgers traded minor-league reliever Braydon Fisher to Toronto in the deal.

“To have a team like the Dodgers come and pick me up after my time in Toronto, where I spent so many years with so many relationships there … [it’s] obviously very special,” Biggio said. “Very fortunate and grateful to be here.”

To clear room on the roster for Biggio, the Dodgers optioned outfield prospect Miguel Vargas back to triple A Oklahoma City.

Vargas had hit well since being called up last month (five for 20 with three doubles, one home run and four RBIs).

But he was also limited defensively in left field, a new position for him after being the Dodgers’ opening-day second baseman last year, and had played sparingly, making just six starts in the last 21 games.

“It was a tough one,” Roberts said of his conversation with Vargas. “I really do feel he’s a major league ballplayer. I think that just to go out there and have the opportunity to play every day is important for his development. And also just continue to take repetitions out in left field, which I think he needs to continue to get better.”

Unlike other struggling Dodgers hitters, including veteran Chris Taylor and his woeful .100 batting average, Vargas had minor-league options — making him an easier corresponding move than Taylor, who still has some $22 million left on a contract that runs through the end of next season.

As for Biggio, a homegrown Blue Jays player up until this past week, the Dodgers are simply hoping he’ll benefit from a change of scenery.

“I think we’re gonna find out,” Biggio said, “but I’m excited about it.”

Yamamoto pushed back

After originally being scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Texas Rangers, Dodgers right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto will instead throw Saturday against the Kansas City Royals, Roberts announced.

The move comes after Yamamoto threw a season-high 108 pitches, and averaged a season-best 97 mph with his fastball, last Saturday against the New York Yankees.

Yamamoto played catch in front of Dodgers trainers and personnel Tuesday, but did not throw his standard bullpen session.

Instead, Roberts said the club decided to give Yamamoto two extra days of rest following last week’s workload.

With Yamamoto going Saturday, Tyler Glasnow will start Sunday. The Dodgers’ pitching plan for Thursday had not yet been determined.

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