Blue Jays: Reese McGuire designated for assignment
Thursday morning, in preparation for the season opener against the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays announced their 40-man roster. A player that was not on the list was catcher Reese McGuire, which Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith confirmed that he was Designated for Assignment.
McGuire was acquired in 2016 from the Pittsburgh Pirates, along with Harold Ramirez and Francisco Liriano for Drew Hutchison. He was a former first round pick that was highly regarded for his ability to catch a game and was believed to have a good enough bat to stay in a major league lineup.
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McGuire got his first taste of major league experience as a September call-up in 2018 that saw him go 9 for 31 (.290) with five extra-base hits. The following season he was called up in late July to become the full time back-up to Danny Jansen and made it look as though the team had a solid tandem for the next few seasons. At the plate McGuire finished with a slash line of .299/.346/.526 with five home runs in 97 at bats. Behind the plate he allowed just one passed ball in over 236 innings caught and was not tested that often by would be base stealers.
In the offseason leading into the 2020 campaign, McGuire found himself in a bit of legal trouble in Florida and that may have played a large part of his struggles. McGuire would collect just three hits in 41 at-bats that season without recording a walk, and all the while Alejandro Kirk continually showed his ability to hit and play well behind the plate. Leading into the 2021 Spring Training it appeared McGuire would be given every opportunity to retain his spot, at least to start the season. However, between Kirk continuing to take giant strides forward and McGuire’s struggles the ultimate decision to remove McGuire came on Thursday.
With the move of McGuire being DFA’d, my presumption is he will find a new home. This now leaves Riley Adams as the third string catcher and is now just an injury away from making a major league appearance. The Blue Jays veteran minor league catcher Juan Graterol on Wednesday from the Los Angeles Angels, but that looks like nothing more than veteran minor league depth.
The Blue Jays have also DFA’d Breyvic Valera on Thursday. Valera got into some games back in 2019 for the Blue Jays when he was claimed off of waivers in September. After bouncing around the league on some waiver claims again this past offseason, Valera found himself back with the Blue Jays for a Spring Training audition. Valera received a lot of playing time in his audition, but finished hitting just 6 for 37 (.162) this spring.
What are your thoughts, will Kirk be able to stay with the club for the full season or should the Blue Jays have given McGuire a longer opportunity?