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Part 3: Now for the position with a premium free agent, maybe the #1 free agent, available for the right price. Jays have kids. Lets see if the Jays should consider blowing a fortune on an upgrade.

Currently here....
  • Danny Jansen: entering age 26 season, 183/313/358, career now 208/297/370 80 OPS+, DRS (defensive runs saved via FanGraphs) of -4 this year after a +12 last year, -3 in 2018.  So is Jansen a great defensive catcher or a poor one?  Will he ever hit?
  • Alejandro Kirk: entering age 22, 375/400/583 in just 25 PA.  DRS of 0, his defense is a big question mark, as is his offense no matter how good he looked as this was his first time over A+ ball. Promising, but is he for real?  Listed as Jays #6 prospect at
  • Reese McGuire: entering age 26,  073/073/146. Ugh.  DRS of 1.  Generally viewed as a really good defensive catcher but he has to hit higher than the White Sox manager's age to survive.
Minors listing all guys with 10+ games behind the plate at a level in 2019...
  • AAA: Michael De La Cruz (40 games), probably a free agent, AAAA guy, as was Patrick Cantwell.McGuire was the #1 guy in AAA in 2019.  Nothing to see here.
  • AA: Alberto Mineo (61 games) now age 26, hit well at age 23 in 2018 but is probably a free agent now.  Riley Adams is entering his age 25 season and hit 258/349/439 in AA, probably in AAA this year, listed as the Jays #22 prospect by  AAAA guys Andres Sotillo, and Ryan Hissey are probably not here anymore
  • A+: Kirk was #1, Christopher Bec played 51 games, now entering age 25 season hit well in college but a 696 OPS in the minors.  Adams also played in A+
  • Others: Gabriel Moreno (A full) age 21 hit 280/337/485 in A ball, 294/339/468 overall in minors over 3 years.  The Jays #8 prospect according to 
A couple coming up, Kirk is promising and appears ready, Jansen & McGuire both dropping fast imo from potential stars to backups.  A reminder that the Jays have sucked royally at developing catchers historically.  Best ever was Carlos Delgado but he only caught 2 games in the majors, Ed Sprague also caught in the minors but just 18 times in the majors.  J.P. Arencibia just got to 1.9 WAR lifetime.  Pat Borders was probably the best ever developed who stayed behind the plate, but just 3.6 WAR over his 17 ML seasons.  Greg Myers did well getting to 7.3 WAR.  But yeah, this has historically been a problem area for the Jays and they gave away Yan Gomes (14 WAR lifetime) for nothing (OK, Esmil Rogers).  Free agents were needed to get peaks.  Best ones were probably Ernie Whitt (expansion draft), and Russell Martin (free agent).

What about free agents?
  • J.T. Realmuto: the big one - 123 OPS+ this year, 111 lifetime, his DRS was -1 in 2020 after a +12 the year before (sounds like Jansen), lifetime -4.  BR has him as a +0.1 dWAR in 2020, 5.1 lifetime.  He will be very expensive, in a normal year he'd have cost far more than Martin did (5/$82) but lord knows what he will cost this winter.
  • Yadier Molina: any chance he leaves St Louis?  Nah. Not for less than a kings ransom.
  • Wilson Ramos: 88 OPS+ last year, 103 lifetime. Solid on defense.
  • James McCann:  144 OPS+ last year, but his 86 lifetime is more realistic.  Solid on defense.
Really, after Realmuto there isn't much if you assume Molina is not going anywhere, unless you think McCann is for real.

What about trades?  Lets check various teams...
  • Top tier (Team sOPS+ at CA over 120 - 9 teams)
    • KC - Salvador Perez 161 OPS+ vs 101 lifetime at age 30 after missing 2019 (Tommy John surgery).  Signed for $14 mil in 2021 then a free agent.  dWAR solid every year of his career, 0.4 the lowest (rookie and last year).  Just 156 PA in 2020 and Cam Gallagher (entering age 29 season) who had a 115 OPS+ vs career 81, not a free agent until after 2024.  0.2 to 0.3 dWAR each of the past 3 years.  Could see Perez going in an effort to cut payroll plus with free agency looming and coming off an amazing limited playing time season.  However, he is popular there so it might be hard.
    • Philly: J.T. Realmuto is a free agent (see above), Andrew Knapp at 28 had a great 89 PA 129 OPS+ but Philly will be holding any catcher they can
    • ChiSox: Yasmani Grandal at 31 had a solid year with a 113 OPS+ vs career 115.  Just 0.1 dWAR after a -0.6 season but lifetime 3.4 to the good.  Signed for 3 more years at $18 mil per.  Not going anywhere.  McCann was the backup (see above)
    • Boston: Christian Vazquez entering his age 30 season he did well in 2020 with a 114 OPS+ while top backup Kevin Plawecki did even better at 130.  Vazquez is signed for under $8 mil a year for the next 2 years so he isn't going anywhere.
    • Atlanta: Travis d'Arnaud finally lived up to the hype with a 138 OPS+ season.  Negative dWAR in 3 of the past 5 years, the other 2 were 0.0.  Signed for $8 mil in 2021.  Gotta figure he is staying put.
    • Dodgers: Will Smith had a 164 OPS+ in his 2nd ML season - geez, the rich get richer.
    • Reds: Tucker Barnhart was just a 77 as their #1, but Curt Casali the backup had a 126 OPS+ vs his lifetime 95.  Just his 2nd year of arbitration so not available.
    • Washington: Yan Gomes - probably the best catcher the Jays ever developed but just 111 PA here.  107 OPS+ in 2020, 91 lifetime, positive dWAR every season. Signed for $6 mil for 2021. Would be shocked if he was traded.
    • Angels: Max Stassi had a great year with a 139 OPS+  but just 90 PA and 2 years until free agency. 
  • In truth the other teams aren't worth digging into imo - as why would the Jays trade for anything less than above average when we have a serviceable CA in Jansen already?
  • FYI: worst was Cleveland by a mile with a 30 sOPS+ from their catchers.  Their best had a sOPS+ of 55 as a catcher.  Ugh.
Jays ranked 24th in Catcher OPS+ due to McGuire's -38, Jansen was a 93, Joseph 98, Kirk 205 (421/450/632 while catching but just 20 PA) but Jansen's stats on their own would've been 15th (Miami) and a 103 was needed for top 10 (Oakland).

So short of Realmuto or stealing Perez from KC I don't see much there, and Perez would be a big risk as he is coming off a very obvious career year and is a free agent after 2021.  My gut says to stay put unless Realmuto is willing to sign for far less than expected due to a dead market.
2021 Catcher Options | 27 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Magpie - Sunday, November 01 2020 @ 08:25 PM EST (#391987) #
Pat Borders was probably the best ever developed who stayed behind the plate, but just 3.6 WAR over his 17 ML seasons. Greg Myers did well getting to 7.3 WAR.

It's interesting that WAR thinks Myers' career was roughly twice as valuable as that of Borders. Their career length is as close as you could ask for - Myers played 1,108 games in the majors, Borders played 1,099. They were both below average hitters, who each had exactly one good season with the bat (Borders for Toronto in 1990, Myers for Toronto in 2003.) Myers was a slightly better hitter over the course of his career, but it's not like he has a big edge there (86 OPS+ to 77) and Borders was always regarded as the superior defensive player, even if he didn't take up catching until his fifth season in the minors. Maybe it's all the Wild Pitches during the Juan Guzman years.
John Northey - Sunday, November 01 2020 @ 10:57 PM EST (#391988) #
Myers Borders is an interesting comparison. Myers was a hot prospect, coming up at 21 in the infamous 1987 season but due to Ernie Whitt being the #1 and also a LH hitter he was left mostly in the minors until 1990. Was the #1 guy in 1991 with a 94 OPS+ but didn't hit that well again until 2001 at 35 with a 101 in under 200 PA. Then a 94 for Oakland at 36 before going nuts at 37 for the Jays with a 125. Then the season from hell 2004 and just 13 PA in 2005 before it all ended for him. Just 4 seasons of 300+ PA, never got to 400. 3 more in the 200's over his 18 season career. Left the Jays the first time in 1991 in a trade with Rob Ducey to the California Angels for Mark Eichhorn. Worked out nicely as Eich was important to the 2 titles (0 runs in 4 playoff games, Jays winning all 4).

Borders started in 1988 at 25. By 1990 he was the #1 with a 'wow' 120 OPS+ (his only 100+ OPS+ season with 200+ PA) . 1991 split #1 duties with Myers despite a 69 OPS+. Lasted until 2005 in the majors (a few years with under 10 games played) - spent time with 9 different team (8 years here, 5 in Seattle, 3 in Cleveland, no more than 1 anywhere else). Twice over 500 PA (1992/1993), 3 more in the 300's, twice in the 200's. His 6 most PA seasons were here from ages 26-31. Had one last year in the minors in 2006 for the Dodgers in A+ and AAA (Crash Davis style). In 2004 he got into the playoffs for the only time with a team other than the Jays (0 for 2). Left the Jays as a free agent after the 1994 season.

In 1988 I know I thought, as did most fans I suspect, that these 2 would be the Jays catchers through the 90's. At least both provided fun times - Borders more so with his WS MVP in 1992. Myers big 2003 helped in the nightmare years. They may not have been what was expected, but they both were solid and fun. Lets hope Jansen/McGuire/Kirk can help the Jays get another title.
John Northey - Sunday, November 01 2020 @ 11:03 PM EST (#391989) #
Borders dWAR was 4.8, WAA just -8.4 (IE: he was below average but played a lot anyways).
Myers dWAR was 5.0, WAA -4.2. (IE: below average but not by as much as Borders).

Dang, no matter how you cut it they were close. Borders had that great year early while Myers had his late. Borders had his big WS, Myers also got to 2 WS (3 playoffs, 3 teams, 8 rounds) but lost both (16 playoff games, 190/292/333 vs Borders 32 games 315/339/414 line with 2 WS titles and 5 times getting to the playoffs, 7 rounds).
bpoz - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 09:16 AM EST (#391990) #
Many position players cannot hit but have great arms.

S Santos, Stieb, Gose to name 3. Gose is still trying to become a ML pitcher. There are more.

Chavez Young and K Smith have 60 arms as position players. I don't know how that translates to FB velocity as a pitcher.
scottt - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 11:31 AM EST (#391994) #
Realmuto is the top free agent position player.
MLBRumours predicts 5 years for 125M.

The story of the Jays is that they will have too many catchers on the 40 roster without acquiring new ones.
Jansen, McGuire, Kirk, Adams and Moreno.
Should trade away here.

John Northey - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 01:15 PM EST (#391997) #
Lots of catching depth - but in the past they have seemed to have that and it didn't work out. Now, do they sign Realmuto for $100m if the market drops, then trade Jansen for pitching help, or mix in Kirk for a stronger pitcher? I figure McGuire has no value except as a throw in right now (IE: a deal is almost there but the other team needs a 3rd catcher to store in AAA and he pushes it over the top).
bpoz - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 01:32 PM EST (#391998) #
Ryu last year and Atkins talking about adding something good for this off season. So I will have some faith this year that he can deliver.

Gillick did that Stand Pat procedure. Sometimes that works. But I cannot remember anything.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 01:38 PM EST (#391999) #
MLB trade rumors has DJ LeMahieu going to the Jays at 4 Years and 68 Million. They also have Jake Odorizzi going to the Jays at 3 years and 39 million. Ordorizzi does fit the profile of a Jays pitcher with a lot of pitches.

In comparison they have Stroman at 4 years and 68 million going to the Angels, I think all tings equal Id take LeMaheiu for the same price.

Ha-Seong Kim was given a 5 year 47.62 million asking price.
mendocino - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 01:43 PM EST (#392000) #
Blue Jays minor league free agents

Toronto Blue Jays (18): Deiferson Barreto, Andrew Burns, Patrick Cantwell, Ryan Dull, James Dykstra, Conor Fisk, Gabriel Guerrero, Mac James, Jesus Lopez, Mike Nittoli, Juan Nunez, Norberto Obeso, Willy Ortiz, Connor Overton, Tom Pannone, Luis Silva, Mitchell Walding, Forrest Wall
PeterG - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 02:47 PM EST (#392002) #
Too soon to peg Jansen as a back up. Takes time to develop a catcher.

I doubt that Adams will be protected on 40 man.
AWeb - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 03:21 PM EST (#392004) #
Jansen is already a legitimate starter, just around league average. Catchers as a whole are bad hitters, and Jansen may just need a few average babip months to start the year to look like a good starter. If you replace him, there's a big risk that things get worse. Kirk as the backup would make sense.

I will always remember that first half of 2003 for Greg Myers. It looks flukey, and in some ways it was, but he was absolutely killing the ball for months. It was kinda like Delgado was in the lineup twice for a while. It was wonderful and weird to watch an old catcher on his second pass through, who was not a planned starter, clearly enjoy the hottest stretch of his life. Everyone, including him, knew it wouldn't last. The Jays caught quite a few 'mediocre catcher has good year' seasons this century, but have rarely found someone able to do it twice.
Mike Green - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 05:03 PM EST (#392005) #
Jansen had 8 homers in 152 PAs with 21 walks and 32 strikeouts (including post-season this year).  For his career, he has 24 homers in 631 PAs with 61 walks and 127 strikeouts.  His career BABIP is .229 in one season's worth of PAs and he's been a 2.1 bWAR/2.6 fWAR player.  With even a below-average .250 BABIP, he'd be a solid player and that's exactly what I think he is. 

The club does not need a catcher.
John Northey - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 05:31 PM EST (#392006) #
Generally I agree with everyone here - that Jansen should be left as the starter for now. Just looking at the old 'should the Jays try to upgrade' and if so what options exist. Short Answer: not much and it would be an arm and leg to do the upgrade. The only way it makes sense is if Realmuto can be had cheaply and someone cheap (ie: cutting budget) offers the Jays a good pitcher (being paid market rates) for Jansen. Don't see it happening.
scottt - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 07:13 PM EST (#392007) #
I don't necessary see Jansen as a primary or secondary catcher.
He's a catcher that should be competing for AB with another young catcher.

McGuire is running out of options, so they'll have to move from him unless they deal Jansen.

Kirk needs some reps to work on defense (and his English) at  AAA, but hopefully he's another catcher competing for ABs soon.

Adams could be a useful backup while burning his options. Someone has to step up if a catcher is on the IL.  I don't disagree that he can be left exposed.
Moreno is still years away, but need to be on the 40 now. He could be the primary before long.
AWeb - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 09:12 PM EST (#392009) #
I'm not sure if this is good or bad for Jansen, but I took a look at the worst 10 BABIPs from 2019-2020, with a minimum 400 PAs. Danny Jansen sits 5th in that time frame with a .221 BABIP (worst is Jay Bruce at 0.199). Of the worst 10, Jansen is 4th in BB%, 2nd in K%, 9th in Exit Velocity, 8th in WRC+, 3rd in WAR.

Jumping over to statcast, and using 2019 sprint speeds, Jansen is the 2nd fastest guys here, roughly tied with a couple of others.Jansen is slightly faster than the average MLBer.  But the rest of the bottom ten are either slow catchers, or notable slow players (Hi Justin Smoak!, Pujols, Hi Edwin!, Vogelbach, Gary Sanchez). So Jansen gets results like a really slow guy, except he's not. 2020 Jansen (SSS alert!) looks like 2018 Russell Martin. So Jansen either turns it around, or retires in the next couple of years.  Just a regular bad BABIP (.270) with everything else staying similar makes him easily above average as a hitter (not for catchers, in general). He's baffling, and seemingly impossible to predict - hard to see worse hitting than 2019, but demotion to AAA (does that still exist?) or an all-star, both seem like reasonable guesses.
John Northey - Monday, November 02 2020 @ 09:21 PM EST (#392010) #
I see catching in 2021 as being Jansen/McGuire with Kirk in AAA just to work on defense but not for too long. I see the Jays signing a few AAAA guys like Caleb Joseph to fill in as needed - those guys will get a shot in spring to displace McGuire. McGuire has near zero value at this point in trade and I'm not certain should even be on the 40 man as he'd get through waivers most likely. Riley Adams will be the #1 in AAA once Kirk is back in the majors, otherwise a 50-50 split with Kirk behind the plate with a vet around so Kirk can DH/learn 1B or 3B (no, I don't see him at either long term, but it'd be good to see if he can handle it as a backup to being a catcher/DH).

Christopher Bec will probably be in AA, Gabriel Moreno in A+. All depending on how they do in spring and who the Jays can sign as vets to back them up at each level.
scottt - Tuesday, November 03 2020 @ 09:33 AM EST (#392013) #
If they have Adams and Kirk at AAA, it's hard to sign another experienced guy.

Adams is a huge guy with a black belt in karate.
MLB ranks him at 22 in the Blue Jays system.
He sure looks like a guy who could hit for power.

I think you wanna have catchers who sticks in the organization and with which pitchers are comfortable.

They still have Bec, Sloniger, Clarke, Danner and D'Orazio.
So what they need is just backups throughout the org.

scottt - Tuesday, November 03 2020 @ 09:43 AM EST (#392014) #
The Yankees have Gary Sanchez who is maybe the most extreme catcher out there.

Catcher might be the worse position out there to work on your hitting skills.

PeterG - Tuesday, November 03 2020 @ 10:52 AM EST (#392015) #
Danner is no longer catching. He is training as a pitcher, having played both positions in college.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 03 2020 @ 12:28 PM EST (#392016) #
I think Danner was a HS pick. He will need protection after 2021. If I remember correctly he tweeted that he is looking for tips on developing a changeup. So his FB and breaking ball may be ok. Hope that they are elite, but don't know.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 03 2020 @ 05:33 PM EST (#392024) #
Checking Danner's stats I'm surprised he is switching already. An 841 OPS in 2018 suggests he has a bat. But just 191/280/353 overall suggests he has the right idea. Switching now at 22 gives him time. Waiting another year or two and it might be too late (see Anthony Gose among others - he started at 26, had a good year at 28 in 2019 with a 2.48 ERA in 29 IP but 9.0 BB/9 vs 10.9 K/9 kills him, but he did well in the PR winter league (2.8 BB/9) so maybe someone gives him a chance in 2021).
cascando - Wednesday, November 04 2020 @ 01:48 PM EST (#392031) #
I don't see any need to make changes at C.

Jansen is already at least an average MLB starter. And he has plenty of room to grow.

In retrospect, McGuire probably should have been moved last offseason, but he certainly deserves another chance and may be good enough defensively to justify a weak bat.

Kirk is a potential star. Probably needs more seasoning.

They can sign a veteran third-stringer in case one of the above performs poorly next year.

ayjackson - Thursday, November 05 2020 @ 07:59 AM EST (#392032) #
Is Joe Morgan going to get an article on here honouring his career?

Been hoping to read a classic Magpie missive.
Jevant - Friday, November 06 2020 @ 02:39 PM EST (#392064) #
C is pretty straightforward to me, actually. Trade McGuire for whatever you can get for him, and sign a veteran backup (or just bring back Caleb Joseph) to pair with Jansen until Kirk is ready. I wouldn`t devote any financial resources there - it should go into the rotation or bullpen.
PeterG - Saturday, November 07 2020 @ 03:35 PM EST (#392086) #
I would try and hold on to McGuire if possible to be on call at AAA at the very least.. I know he needs to pass through waivers. It is not out of the question though that he starts on big league roster. You don't just throw a guy away because of one bad half season when he was good the year previous. I prefer him to Joseph.
hypobole - Saturday, November 07 2020 @ 03:51 PM EST (#392087) #
McGuire wasn't bad, he was horrific. But it wasn't a half season either. It was 19 games and 49 PA's.
bpoz - Sunday, November 08 2020 @ 09:33 AM EST (#392099) #
McGuire burned his last option by being 24 days down at the alternate site. That is a waste unless the Jays now feel that he is of little value. I really don't understand it.
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