Mitch Garver is an ideal free agent target for the Blue Jays, but is it a perfect fit?

Let's break down some pros and cons.
World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two
World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Atop the Toronto Blue Jays' offseason wish list should be to add power, power, and more power. Last year, the Jays had an offense that seemed to be destined for a ton of home runs, but the routine power outage that fans had to sit through every night quickly got old.

Moving forward, there needs to be some thump injected into this lineup. Old friends Teoscar Hernández and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. are both free agents and could be nice fits, but there's another power hitter, one that just earned a World Series ring, that the Jays should pursue.

Mitch Garver: Pros of the Blue Jays signing him

At 32-years old, Garver may not quite be in his prime, but he is certainly an offensive powerhouse. A catcher by trade, Garver made it into 87 games for the World Champion Texas Rangers, hitting 19 home runs with 50 RBI along the way. He also had a .270 batting average and .870 OPS, the highest he's had in a full season since back in 2019.

Where Garver really excels, is hitting against left-handed pitching. In his career, he has 26 home runs and a .272 batting average against southpaws. For additional context, he's only hit .243 against righties in about 140 more games and 500 more at-bats. His 116 OPS+ against lefties in his career is mighty attractive, as is the 123 OPS+ he had last year against them.

Last year, the Blue Jays ranked dead last in the majors in home runs against LHP with 34 home runs (the Dodgers led the way with 79).

As pointed out in a piece about him, Garver's 130 OPS+ over the past five seasons is topped by only one free agent this year - Shohei Ohtani. A look at his Baseball Savant percentiles shows that he hits the ball as far (and hard) as just about anyone in the game.

As a catcher, Garver would give the Blue Jays a more offense-oriented third string catcher than Tyler Heineman, but he could also be the team's designated hitter on most days, even getting the occasional start at first base as well.

The cons of Garver

When it comes to Garver, by far the biggest red flag is his durability. Over the course of a seven-year career, he has played in over 100 games just one time and that was back in the 2018 season. Since then, he's been far from durable, but when he is healthy, he's a force to be reckoned with.

The Blue Jays had quite a bit of luck on their side in 2023, with the injury bug not taking a single everyday player out of their lineup for an extended period of time. Adding Garver would come with the risk of him hitting the injured list and missing a chunk of time as he does every single year.

Another sore spot is his defense. As previously mentioned, Garver is a catcher who also can line up at first base occasionally, but that doesn't mean he does either of them well. In fact, many in the industry believe he's destined for a full-time DH role that could begin as soon as the 2024 season.

Last year, Garver didn't quite play enough behind the plate to qualify for most major catching stats, but he was in the 18th percentile in Pop Time (Danny Jansen was in the 23rd and Alejandro Kirk was in the 36th), which is not encouraging by any means.