Blue Jays: Why you can bank on a catcher getting traded

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 25: Danny Jansen #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays taps gloves with Reese McGuire #70 who helped him warm up the pitcher before the start of the next inning during MLB game action against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre on September 25, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 25: Danny Jansen #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays taps gloves with Reese McGuire #70 who helped him warm up the pitcher before the start of the next inning during MLB game action against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre on September 25, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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The offseason hot stove is starting to heat up and the Blue Jays are expected to be active. My guess is that will include trading a catcher at some point.

With the Blue Jays having some clear roster needs to take care of this offseason, we can pretty much bank on them being fairly active. Whether that means improving the starting rotation, the bullpen, or perhaps tinkering with the lineup, you can expect that we’ll be hearing from Ross Atkins quite a bit over the next few months.

While I expect the Blue Jays to be active in free agency, I’m all but certain that they’ll explore the trade market as well, and that they’re pretty much destined to make at least one trade. I don’t know for certain which player it will be yet, but I’d be willing to bet that they trade at least one catcher this winter, and that player could be a key piece in a bigger deal.

I say that because the Blue Jays are running out of room for catchers on the 40-man roster. As of now they have Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, and Alejandro Kirk among the group, who are all still young and have varying levels of upside. They’ll also be forced to add Gabriel Moreno to the list prior to the Rule 5 draft, as there’s no way they’ll let their #8 prospect walk for nothing. It’s conceivable that they could hope others will pass because he’s only 20 and hasn’t played above A-ball, but he’s likely too highly regarded to expose to the waiver wire.

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With the among of talent throughout the organization, I just can’t see the Blue Jays using four spots on their 40-man roster for catchers. They have too many high-upside pitchers to protect as well, and at some point you hope that you can turn excess prospect capital into finishing touches to the MLB roster. That’s where they are now with the catching position, and it’s a good place to be.

I’d be shocked if the Blue Jays were willing to discuss trading Kirk this winter, and out of the four I’d probably rank him as the most untouchable, followed by the more experienced Jansen who is set to be the starter in 2021. From there, my guess is the Blue Jays will shop McGuire to see how many teams remember the value he had last winter (hindsight, right?), but his stock has fallen quite a bit.

As for Moreno, the Jays are said to be very high on his future, and I’m guessing they’d prefer to trade McGuire and let the former continue to develop in the minor leagues for now. Having said that, if they can use someone like Moreno as part of a package to acquire a star player like Francisco Lindor, then you have to consider that direction for sure. High-end catching talent is always going to draw interest, and even if Cleveland’s not that interested, someone will be.

Next. To wait on the trade market, or pounce now?. dark

It’s very hard to predict what the Blue Jays will do to improve the roster this winter, but we do have a few smaller clues like the construction of their 40-man roster. With that in mind, I expect that at least one catcher ends up getting traded before next season.