Toronto Blue Jays: Reese McGuire Deserves A Roster Spot

Graeme Wallace
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 10: Reese McGuire #7 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium on August 10, 2021 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Blue Jays 6-3. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 10: Reese McGuire #7 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium on August 10, 2021 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Blue Jays 6-3. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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With Danny Jansen returning to the Blue Jays lineup and Alejandro Kirk emerging as a key player, Reese McGuire has been feeling the squeeze on playing time.

Since August 23rd, he’s only gotten into 11 games. Kirk, by comparison, has played in 23 of the 29 contests and since Jansen returned from the IL on August 31st, he has played in 14 of 21 games since.

The consensus seems to be that Kirk’s bat needs to be in the lineup every day but I’m not so sure. He’s hit 16 for 70 (.228) during that time and is hitless over his last six games and 13 at-bats. Jansen, meanwhile, has been swinging a hot bat (12 for 34, .352) since returning to the lineup.

Reese McGuire – Always Ready

Despite only going 1-for-9 in four games this month, McGuire enjoyed a mini hot stretch at the end of August, recording hits in four straight games (6 for 14 overall) from August 23-29.

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McGuire offers a left-handed option, has a line drive stroke (15 doubles), and is one of the better bunters on the team. He’s got a good arm (11/31 base stealers thrown out, 35%, league-average- 24%) and is an above-average base-runner.

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His skill-set allows for him to be used as a pinch-hitter or as a pinch-runner, especially if Kirk gets a late-game hit. The luxury of carrying three catchers would allow Jansen to rest in this scenario and to potentially start the next day.

At the beginning of the season, McGuire wasn’t even on the 40-man roster. Injuries and Riley Adams’ lack of experience opened the door for the most playing time of “Pieces” season this year. He’s responded with the best period of play we’ve seen from the Seattle product.

He’s earned his playing time, has helped the team get to this point, and deserves the chance to play some games during the final week and a half of the regular season.

That’s the thing about this catching trio. Each one of them brings something different to the table. Kirk is the best hitter, gives the team great at-bats, and the moment never seems too big for him. Jansen calls a good game, has great intangibles and is a streaky, yet powerful batter. McGuire works the count and has the best throwing arm.

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The Blue Jays have needed production from all three and will continue to in order to make the postseason. If and/or when they get there, they will have another tough decision to make. Keeping three catchers for the stretch run is one thing. Keeping three for the playoff roster is entirely different.

The Jays will cross that bridge when they come to it.

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