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Blue Jays: Which teams could come calling for a catcher?

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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Aug 14, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor (22) hits an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

Will there be interest from the AL Central?

I thought I’d stick with the American League to start, and I’m going to move to the Central next, which was the weakest division in the AL this season.

To begin with, I’ll acknowledge that any of these teams could change their plans, especially if a top five prospect like Moreno, or the American League’s All-Star starting catcher from 2022 like Kirk were made available. However, for the sake of keeping things simple I’m really going to focus on the need as of now. With that in mind, here’s what I’m thinking:

Cleveland Guardians:  They could have some interest, but with Canadian-born Bo Naylor waiting in the wings as the likely catcher of the future in Cleveland, I don’t really see an easy match here. That said, Naylor has been playing at other positions as he’s continued his development, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility either. Until we know for sure what the plan with Naylor is, I can’t see a huge move like this going down.

Kansas City Royals:  The presence of Salvador Perez and MJ Melendez makes this among the least-likely fits in baseball. The two clubs linked up for a late deal ahead of the deadline that sent Whit Merrifield to Toronto in exchange for Max Castillo and Samad Taylor, but I don’t see another trade lining up here.

Minnesota Twins:  The Twins could be a fit, but it’s always hard to predict what they’re going to do. At the moment they have Ryan Jeffers and Gary Sanchez on the depth chart, but the latter is scheduled to be a free agent. On paper, interest from the Twins actually makes a fair bit of sense, but I’m not sure I see an easy trade fit here, at least not for a controllable catcher like Moreno or Kirk. Maybe the Twins line up on a Jansen trade since he only has two seasons before he’ll be a free agent, but even then, they’d have to give up some of their favourite arms to entice the Blue Jays enough. At least I would hope so.

Chicago White Sox:  One team I see as a dark horse for this kind of trade is the White Sox, who I would argue have as great of a need behind the plate as anyone, at least if they intend on competing for a playoff spot in 2023. Yasmani Grandal hasn’t been able to stay healthy or do much catching, and other options like Carlos Perez and Seby Zavala aren’t all that exciting either. The White Sox probably have the pitching depth to have legitimate talks with the Blue Jays about a swap here, but will they? My gut says they’ll look elsewhere since the Blue Jays should have a high asking price.

Detroit Tigers:  If I were to pick a team that was mostly likely to line up with the Blue Jays from the Central, I might go with the Tigers. They’re starting to build something in Detroit these days with talented youngsters like Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson, and a young catcher like Moreno or even Kirk could be a pretty good fit for them. That said, I do think the Blue Jays could see better offers than what the Tigers could put on the table, at least with Tarik Skubal’s status up in the air after an August surgery on a flexor tendon. The need is there in Detroit though, with minor leaguer Dillon Dingler probably being their brightest hope for the future, but they may not have the chips to make the best offer at this stage.

All in all, I think there will be some interested teams from the Central, but I believe there will be stronger offers coming elsewhere.

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