Blue Jays: Which teams could come calling for a catcher?
Is there a need for catching in the NL Central?
There wasn’t a lot to be found outside Miami over in the East, but the Blue Jays could receive a few more calls from the teams in the Central division.
Pittsburgh Pirates: It’s possible that the Pirates could be interested in a catcher, but I’m guessing they’ll stand pat and wait to hand the reigns to Henry Davis in another year or two. I’m not sure I see a fit here anyway.
Cincinnati Reds: The Reds could make some sense based on need, but at this early stage of their rebuild I doubt there’s a match to be had here. I’m guessing Tyler Stephenson is the guy here for at least the time being.
Chicago Cubs: Whether or not the Cubs are a potential fit all depends on what happens with Willson Contreras, and that’s a hard thing to predict. Many of us believed that the Cubs would trade him sometime over the last year or so, but they continued to keep him in Chicago and they might have plans to keep him around. He’s still a premium catcher and should have gas left in the tank at 30 years old, but we’ll see what free agency brings for him. Since they didn’t trade him in July, you’ve gotta think the Cubs make a strong offer. However, if they fall short of retaining their long-time backstop, don’t be surprised if calling the Blue Jays is one of their back-up plans.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers are another interesting possibility, especially because they frequently operate like a “small market” club that looks to shed salary. If you don’t believe me, see that swap they made to trade Josh Hader to the Padres despite their pursuit of a playoff spot. As far as their catching situation goes, Victor Caratini has one more year of arbitration eligibility left, and Omar Narvaez is a free agent. They could look to bring back the latter on a relatively cheap deal, or they could try to find a frugal option that could help them compete now, and save some money on the payroll. We might be wading into blockbuster territory with a name like Brandon Woodruff or something here, but I wouldn’t write it off as a possibility if someone like Moreno or even Kirk is involved. The Brewers make a ton of sense if they’re going to build their roster in a similar way to how they have in recent years.
St. Louis Cardinals: Over the weekend I wrote an article about how I could see there being a trade fit between the Blue Jays and Cardinals. As I suspected, both the majority of Blue Jays fans, and Cardinals fans that I came across weren’t all that wild about the idea. Without giving it all away, I had proposed a swap that would send Gabriel Moreno to St. Louis, and I think the idea is something to watch out for as the Cardinals look to replace a retiring future Hall of Famer in Yadier Molina. It’s possible they give Andrew Kizner and Ivan Herrera a shot to take over, or maybe they take a swing at a free agent like Contreras, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Cardinals were ringing Atkins’ phone with regularity over the winter.