Since third-string catcher Tyler Heineman was claimed off of waivers by the New York Mets earlier this offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have been down to just two backstops on the 40-man roster.
On Tuesday, the Jays announced on X that catcher Brian Serven was claimed off of waivers from the Chicago Cubs. Serven, 28, was designated for assignment by the Cubs last week to make room for Michael Busch and Yency Almonte on their 40-man roster. He spent a grand total of six days in Chicago's organization before being cut, so he's a well-traveled player at this point.
A fifth-round pick of the Rockies back in 2016, Serven has yet to play in more than 83 games in a single season. He swings the bat from the right side and has some decent pop, but struggles with strikeouts and rarely walks. In 2021, he hit a career-high 16 home runs in just 73 games, which really highlights the pop that he's got in his bat.
Serven is going to fit the Blue Jays' bill of "defense first" perfectly. He has long been known as a plus defender behind the plate and is generally well regarded as a strong handler of pitching staffs. Behind Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk, there's not going to be any playing time for Serven unless injuries pop up, and we know they always do. Jansen and Kirk did a great job last year at staying healthy, but Heineman still found a way to make 19 appearances down the stretch.
Adding Serven to the mix in the high minors is likely going to squeeze one of the other newcomers out of a job. Recently, the Blue Jays re-signed Max McDowell to a minor league contract and also brought aboard Payton Henry on a minors deal. Since Serven and Henry are the only two with big league experience, it's likely that they'll stick in Triple-A with the Buffalo Bisons. However, that has the makings of a roster crunch as both Phil Clarke and Zach Britton (who can play other positions) are still on hand.