Danny Jansen's frustrating luck with injuries may explain lack of contract extension

Aug 2, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) is hit by a pitch
Aug 2, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) is hit by a pitch / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen is currently nursing a broken bone in his wrist and is expected to miss "a couple of weeks". Pun or no pun, the man cannot catch a break.

This development is just the latest in a seemingly never-ending string of bad luck injuries for the backstop. Jansen, 28, is exceptionally talented on a baseball field but so far in his career, he's been unable to truly tap into that potential. It seems that every single season he deals with some strange, off-the-wall injuries that ultimately do nothing but harm him and the team.

Of course, this is not Jansen's fault by any means, but it does have Blue Jays fans a bit squirrely. During his six-year career, the power-hitting catcher has appeared in over 100 games only one time, and that ultimately resulted in his worst full season in the big leagues.

At this point, Jansen is one of the top extension candidates on the Blue Jays. He is set to be come a free agent at season's end, but is he even worth extending if he can't capitalize on his potential? We've seen this before over the years in other players who have a ton of talent but just can't stay on the field. It wasn't Grady Sizemore's fault that he couldn't stay healthy. Ditto for the likes of Mark Prior, Stephen Strasburg, and David Wright.

This is a tricky situation, as Jansen has been almost Bonds-like over the past 162 games. This provides hope for what he could do with a full, healthy season of games, but so far he hasn't proved that he can do that.

Don't get me wrong, this is a group of Danny Jansen supporters through and through. The value he brings to the club is immeasurable, but it's been tough to see him miss so much time over the years. That definitely is a hit to his value in the eyes of the Blue Jays' front office.

Over his past 162 regular season games, Jansen has 35 home runs and 110 RBI with a whopping 129 wRC+, suggesting that he's been 29 percent above league-average at the plate. To put that into perspective a bit, catchers around the league averaged around an 89 wRC+ last year.

Nobody needs to be convinced that Jansen is a top shelf catcher when he's on the field. It's the whole "staying on the field" thing that's holding him back and ultimately not awarding him a payday and long-term extension.

Last year, the backstop missed time in May and June with a strained left groin. Then his season ended prematurely when he was hit by a foul ball in early September. That broken right middle finger slammed the door on the rest of his season, including the postseason. Keep in mind that this is only taking 2023 into consideration. Prior to that, he broke bones in his left hand and various ailments in his knees and hamstrings.

If you're the Blue Jays, why would you bother handing out a hefty raise to a player that can't stay healthy? Again, it's not Jansen's fault, but baseball's a business and there's little to no point in paying a player to sit on the injured list. Currently, the hope is that Jansen gets his injured time out of the way early this year and is able to stay healthy throughout the entire regular season.

If he's able to do so and continues to produce at the plate (and behind it), then the Blue Jays will have all the more reason to hand him an extension. With the value he brings to the clubhouse, he'd be worth it, as long as he continues to take the field.

In Jansen's absence, Alejandro Kirk is set to get the everyday reps behind the plate, while spring training standout Brian Serven is currently the leading candidate to win a spot on the Opening Day roster as backup catcher.