The Toronto Blue Jays have Yeomen work ahead of them as they attempt to re-tool a team that fell short of expectations in 2023. As much as they hope to be active in free agency and the trade market, extending players already on the roster is another way to build.
While most of that focus is on locking up Bo Bichette or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - as it should be - there is a homegrown player that the club would be wise to lock up sooner rather than later, catcher Danny Jansen. He’s one of the longest-tenured players on the team, has shown steady progress over the years, and has emerged as a true team leader.
When the organization traded Gabriel Moreno last Winter, Jansen and Alejandro Kirk remained to handle the catching duties. After a breakout 2022 campaign featuring an All-Star appearance and a Silver Slugger Award win, most folks thought Kirk would carry the load. Instead, Jansen continued to show off a pronounced slugging swing and has developed strong relationships with the pitching staff, while Kirk regressed after his productive ‘22 season.
Staying on the field has been a challenge for the 28-year-old Jansen, as he’s had four extended stints on the injured list over the past two seasons. Getting hit on the hand with high, inside pitches happened far too frequently last season and is something Jansen is prone to with his batting stance. He opts to open his hips up and expose his hands early, which leaves him exposed and easy to plunk.
It ended up being a stray foul ball that struck Janen while he was behind the plate, ending his season prematurely on Sept 1. Hopefully, he can avoid taking such a beating next year and stay in the lineup, where he’s proved his value. The 2013 16th-round draft pick understands who he is as a hitter and has sacrificed some batting average points in favor of some real thump and production at the dish.
As practical as extending the relationship between player and tea is, extension talks have yet to materialize. Jansen recently appeared on the SMS (Scott Mitchell Show) podcast to discuss contract negotiations or lack thereof. It’s early in the offseason, so this is something to watch. There’s no denying Jansen’s value and ability to stay on the field could be a massive factor for internal improvement in 2024.