The biggest question mark for the Blue Jays heading into the offseason is what to do with their talented trio of receivers.
It’s an unusual and fascinating problem, having three quality players for a position where teams often lack depth. Several of those teams haven’t stopped calling the Blue Jays all year, though communication continues to increase. General manager Ross Atkins’ phone has been ringing off the hook.
As the Blue Jays look to make the jump to World Series contention, trading a catcher seems like the best bet to improve the roster without spending significant money on the open market. But it’s not all about options – they have plenty – it’s about finding the perfect motivation to make the trade.
“Our catcher has drawn interest from other teams for years,” Atkins said. “It’s a good position to be in, having a commensurate understanding of what those interest levels are, specifically how it can benefit us. It’s fun to think about having all three on our team. Whether for the 162 games and for the postseason. We’ll see, but it’s a good starting point.”
Translation? The Blue Jays are on the market. And they are in control.
We’re talking about three different receivers, which puts Toronto in a great position.
Danny Jansen (27 years old): 15 HR, .855 OPS in 72 games
Contract control: two years left
Main attraction: The power is real. It is a result of the plan of attack that has made him develop an identity as a hitter in his side. Jansen is the clear choice for Toronto, but he also has a lot of value to the organization because of his ability to run games and pitchers. He can become a full-time caretaker with any contending team.
Alexander Kirk (24): 14 HR, .285 average, .285 OPS. 786 in 139 game
Contract control: four years remaining
Main attraction: The Mexican is an unusual catcher talent, who comes from winning the AL Silver Slugger, in a year in which he was called to the All-Star Game. How will he evolve physically in the coming years? He is a factor to monitor, but he has made the necessary defensive improvements to continue in the lineup. Kirk fits well on a team that has another solid receiver to complement him.
Gabriel Moreno (22): .319 average, .733 OPS in 25 games
Contract control: six years left
Main attraction: The Venezuelan was one of the best prospects in baseball before 2022 and showed flashes in his Major League debut, controlling the timing of the game. Moreno has the potential of a star, and although he saw a decrease in power from him in the season, he still has a considerable ceiling. Plus, he has the versatility to be moved to third base or left field if needed.
Everyone has a case. Jansen is a player for the present on a contending team. Moreno would be the centerpiece of a mega trade and Kirk could be a combination of the two. Jansen is the one most likely to be the one singled out for the trade.
Free agency matters, too. Willson Contreras will be on the open market, and he won’t be short of options from interested teams, so the Blue Jays would have to wait to see how the market develops. Honestly, there’s no rush.
The truth of all this is that the Blue Jays need to improve for the upcoming postseason. Ideally, they’ll do it before Opening Day, so Toronto can have a regular starting catcher. Although it can not be ruled out that the Blue Jays start the year with their three masks and hold their options. It’s a good problem for the team.
Chances are, however, that at least one of these three receivers will start next season in a different uniform.
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How would the Blue Jays catcher impact the GL free market?