Yet another perfect Blue Jays target is off the board as Mitch Garver signs elsewhere


Nov 1, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Texas Rangers catcher Mitch Garver (18) reacts after hitting a
Nov 1, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Texas Rangers catcher Mitch Garver (18) reacts after hitting a / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but a Blue Jays free agent target has signed with another organization. On Sunday evening, ESPN's Jeff Passan announced that the Seattle Mariners signed catcher/designated hitter Mitch Garver to a two-year deal.

Garver, 32, would've been the perfect fit for the Blue Jays. While catcher is his position by trade, he's also capable of playing first base or being a club's designated hitter. In Toronto, he could've easily found a path to consistent playing time at all three of these positions.

Last year, the seven-year veteran had an excellent season. In just 87 games (he missed time due to injury), he hit 19 home runs with 50 driven in, a .270 batting average and a 134 OPS+. At the end of the year, he also won the first World Series ring of his career.

Again, he is not much of a defensive-minded catcher, but his bat is great. Last year, Garver ranked in the 80th (or higher) percentile in xwOBA, xSLG, Barrel %, Chase % and BB %. He was especially strong against left-handed pitching, as he posted a .344 average with a .938 OPS in 84 plate appearances against southpaws. This is not a huge sample size, but it's still impressive.

Circling back to the Blue Jays, losing Garver is tough, especially at the low price it took for the Mariners to bring him aboard.

A look at the remaining free agent market shows that there are still some notable bats available, but the list is getting smaller as time goes by. Each of Cody Bellinger, Teoscar Hernandez, Rhys Hoskins, C.J. Cron, Matt Chapman, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall and J.D. Martinez make some degree of sense for the Blue Jays.

Of course, landing one of the Jays' other top targets like Juan Soto or Shohei Ohtani would've been preferred, but beggars can't be choosers anymore.

With Garver off the board, the Mariners are likely going to be "out" on another DH-type bat. This pushes one of the remaining bats closer to a fit on the Blue Jays, so only time will tell which one(s) they're able to secure. If time passes and more targets sign elsewhere, that's when it'll be worth wondering what exactly the Jays front office is up to here.