Blue Jays: Potential options if Alejandro Kirk heads to the injured list
During yesterday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk was 0 for 1 with one walk before having to leave the game after running out a foul ball, later announced as left hip flexor discomfort.
While there is no indication from the club if this is a day to day injury or if the prospect will be missing some time on the injured list, having Kirk out of the lineup will be a significant blow to a batting order that just seemed to click with the return of Teoscar Hernandez and George Springer. If Kirk were to head to the injured list, Danny Jansen would most likely be picking up the slack with the Blue Jays having to find another catcher to come in as the backup, whether from inside or outside the organization. Jansen has struggled at the plate to begin the season, with the Illinois native currently slashing .044/.140/.067 in 45 at-bats.
If Alejandro Kirk does end up on the 10-day injured list, these are some of the hypothetical options the Blue Jays could choose to do.
Calling up an experienced catcher
Currently in the Blue Jays alternate site/minor league system sit Reese McGuire and Juan Graterol, catchers who are in the system for depth behind the major league roster in case of injury.
McGuire spent the past three seasons flipping between the Blue Jays roster and the minor leagues in a backup capacity. In 63 games, the lefty hitter owns a .243/.281/.444 line with eight home runs and 16 RBI at the major league level. The catcher would find himself designated for assignment early in April as he was out of minor league options and is currently still within the organization as he was not claimed on waivers. Juan Graterol rejoins the Blue Jays organization after a brief stint with the team back in 2017, a depth move to have another veteran catcher in case McGuire was picked up on waivers earlier this season. A backup for most of his professional career, the Venezuelan native owns a .218/.227/.266 line with zero home runs and 14 RBI in 124 at-bats.
While this option may make the most sense in terms of players with experience, neither McGuire nor Graterol is on the 40 man roster, so if Kirk was to go on the injured list and then return shortly, only Graterol has a minor-league option to use and McGuire would be exposed to waivers once again. Losing the lefty-hitting catcher wouldn’t be the biggest blow to the Blue Jays farm system if he were to be exposed to waivers again, but Graterol may have the edge if the team is looking at just playing the options game if Kirk is only out for a short period of time. The other question would be who would come off the 40 man roster for the Blue Jays, as it is currently full and the organization seems pretty keen on keeping who they have right where they are. The team could move newly acquired Jeremy Beasley if push comes to shove, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of trading for him in the first place (and he has options).