Trades like this always hurt, but giving away a fan favorite in Lars Nootbaar would soon be forgiven with the level of production Danny Jansen could provide St. Louis behind the plate.
Jansen, 28, slashed .260/.339/.516 with 15 HR and 44 RBI in just 72 games for Toronto last season, caching in 63 of those games. Jansen has yet to be an everyday player in his career, but the underlying numbers indicate he could be an elite everyday catcher. Jansen’s .855 OPS would have ranked 1st among qualified catchers in 2022, better than the likes of J.T. Realmuto and Will Smith.
Not only could Jansen be a legit middle of the other bat for St. Louis, but he also is a good defender behind the plate, and caught the majority of the games he played in (88% vs. Kirk who caught only in 60% of his games). Jansen should command less in a trade than Murphy and Kirk as well, as he has less years of control and has not been given the opportunity to be a club’s primary catcher.
Nootbaar was a huge piece for the Cardinals in 2022, but would allow them to make a major upgrade at catcher while maintaining a variety of good options for their outfield in 2023. Like Jansen, there is a chance that over the course of a full season, Nootbaar comes back down to earth and proves to be more of a fourth outfielder type, so both club’s take a risk in swapping guys who have been elite in small sample sizes.