Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Roark gives Alejandro Kirk an important endorsement

Feb 25, 2021; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catchers Alejandro Kirk (left) and Danny Jansen (right) go through drills during spring training. Mandatory Credit: Toronto Blue Jays/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2021; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catchers Alejandro Kirk (left) and Danny Jansen (right) go through drills during spring training. Mandatory Credit: Toronto Blue Jays/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /
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Alejandro Kirk is fighting to make the Blue Jays roster this spring, and Tanner Roark‘s latest endorsement should certainly help his cause.

Despite never having played about High-A ball prior to last season, Kirk was called up to the big leagues and he more than held his own as a 21-year-old. He ended up slashing .375/.400/.583 over 24 at-bats, and even earned a playoff start as a DH for his fine work.

Looking to 2021, it’s been a regular offseason debate about whether Kirk should start the year back with the Blue Jays, or begin in Triple-A where he can play every day. The biggest reason for sending him down would be to work on his defence, however, there’s at least one Blue Jays pitcher who is already feeling pretty comfortable with the Mexican backstop.

From Keegan Matheson’s Thursday article at MLB.com:

"“He did a phenomenal job. What I was thinking, he put down for the most part. I think I only shook two or three times. When I have someone as a catcher who is thinking outside the box or thinking along and watching what the hitter is doing, and me and the catcher just have the same thoughts, it’s perfect. It gives me more confidence and excitement to throw that pitch.”“He did a phenomenal job. What I was thinking, he put down for the most part. I think I only shook two or three times. When I have someone as a catcher who is thinking outside the box or thinking along and watching what the hitter is doing, and me and the catcher just have the same thoughts, it’s perfect. It gives me more confidence and excitement to throw that pitch.”"

This could turn out to be an important endorsement for a number of reasons. One of the primary jobs for a MLB catcher is to make their pitchers comfortable, and hopefully help them succeed. For one reason or another, Roark was completely unable to find his groove in his first year with the Blue Jays. To be fair, it was a 60-game season with both a spring and a summer camp, and the conditions were not exactly normal. Still though, it wasn’t the type of performance you want to see from a veteran free agent.

By no means am I blaming his poor performance on Danny Jansen, but the numbers don’t lie about the first year of their partnership as a battery. With Jansen behind the plate, Roark had an 8.14 ERA while facing off against 117 batters, and they slashed .313/.410/.717 against him. For what it’s worth, things didn’t go any better for the one game that Kirk caught Roark last year, but that was also just one game.

The Blue Jays may not keep Kirk with the big league roster just to appease Roark, but it certainly won’t hurt his cause. Having the endorsement of one of the roster’s more veteran players will help change the narrative from “he needs more time”, to believing that he can contribute with both the bat and the glove in 2021.

Next. Maybe Matz is the starter we needed after all. dark

This is one of the Spring Training debates that I can see the validity of arguments on both sides. That said, if Kirk can keep impressing the projected pitching staff, don’t be surprised if he breaks camp with the team after all.

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