If Danny Jansen is traded, the Blue Jays have a promising replacement in Triple-A

This under-the-radar choice for the Blue Jays could surprise many
Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day
Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day / Elsa/GettyImages

With the trade deadline quickly approaching at the end of this month, the Toronto Blue Jays appear headed towards sell mode as of this moment. In doing so, MLB insider Bob Nightengale had claimed that the Jays put some key members from their current roster on the trade block. Among them included long-time catcher Danny Jansen.

With Jansen’s contract set to expire at the conclusion of this season, he becomes an attractive rental for any contending team looking to add a power right-handed bat at the catcher’s position to their lineup. Jansen may be struggling so far this year, compiling a .229 batting average with just 5 home runs and 16 RBI in 51 games played. But with the consistent ability to average 20+ home runs and 70 RBI per season when healthy, he can be a reliable run producer nonetheless.

So if Jansen does end up leaving the Jays, who should become the new long-term backup to Alejandro Kirk? The temporary solution no doubt would lie in the hands of Brian Serven, given his prior MLB experience. However, Serven haven’t shown much success at the major league level thus far, sporting a career .190 average with a .550 OPS, 48 OPS+, 20 run scored, 6 home runs and 17 RBI in 81 games played. 

So instead, a potential dark horse is emerging in the organization in prospect Phil Clarke. Clarke was selected in the ninth round out of Vanderbilt University by the Blue Jays back in the 2019 MLB Draft. Despite not being ranked in the Jays’ top 30 prospects in the system, he has quietly made steady progress the past few seasons. In doing so, he has moved from Single-A all the way up to now with Triple-A Buffalo Bisons in a span of three years.

In the current campaign, Clarke has a combined .306 average and .798 OPS, with 21 runs scored, 8 doubles, a home run, 16 RBI and 4 stolen bases in 43 games split between the Bisons and the Jays’ Double-A affiliate New Hampshire Fisher Cats. More impressively, he has shown tremendous plate discipline, with a walk-to-strikeout ratio greater than 2:1 while striking out only 11 times in 173 total at-bats.

Clarke’s defense though may be a work in progress, with a .989 fielding percentage and a less-than-stellar 17% rate in throwing out baserunners throughout his minor league career. Scouting reports have shown that he has a below-average throwing arm, but with his bat being his main calling card, it should more than make up for his arm deficiencies.

But then again to put things into perspective, Jansen has a career MLB fielding percentage of .992 and caught stealing rate of 21%. As a result, the drop off with Clarke wouldn’t seem too significant. With the Jays desperate for any help from an offensive standpoint, his slight defensive deficiencies shouldn’t prevent him from landing a job with the big league team. As a result, look for Clarke to get a look if the Jays end up moving Jansen at the deadline and could even end up being their catcher of the future.