The Toronto Blue Jays made a major trade with one of their outfielders Wednesday, leading many to believe they are targeting a new center fielder
The St. Louis Cardinals have been relatively quiet so far this offseason, but a major move by the Toronto Blue Jays is setting the two clubs up as likely trade partners.
Jeff Passan of ESPN broke the news that the Blue Jays have dealt Teoscar Hernandez to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for reliever Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko. Hernandez’s name had been in trade rumors the last few days, as many have predicted a major shakeup within the Blue Jays roster.
Along with Hernandez, sources around the league also believed that one of Toronto’s three catchers could be on the move as well, with the goal of acquiring more pitching and a new everyday center fielder, preferably one who hits from the left side.. The club moved Hernandez for pitching, which means they’ll likely move a catcher for the latter. This makes the Cardinals the perfect trade partner for the Blue Jays.
I recently suggested trade proposals for Blue Jays catchers Kirk and Jansen, with each deal involving one of Nootbaar or Carlson. Any one of the three Toronto catchers will require significant value from St. Louis, but each would act as major upgrades for the Cardinals roster.
Kirk was an American League All-Star this past season and won the Sliver Slugger after slashing .285/.372/.415 with 14 HR and 63 RBI in 139 games for Toronto. Kirk is a capable defender, but the knock on him is he was a designated hitter in 36% of those games played, meaning he would need a capable second option to catch in those games. The Cardinals could realistically supplement that with Andrew Knizner or Ivan Herrera like they did in 2022.
Jansen is a guy who many around the league expect to breakout in a big way once he is given more consistent at bats. In just 72 games in 2022, Jansen hit .260/.339/.516 with 15 HR and 44 RBI. Had he qualified for the leaderboards, he would have led all catchers in slugging this last year. He would provide the Cardinals with a powerful bat to protect Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, while catching close to 87% of the games he played in.
Moreno is probably the least likely of the catchers to be dealt, as he was Baseball America’s top prospect in baseball during the summer and is likely viewed as the club’s long term solution at the position. In 62 games at the Triple-A level in 2022, the 22-year old slashed .315/.386/.420 with 3 HR and 39 RBI. In his 25 Major League games, he posted a .733 OPS and looked ready to be an everyday catcher.
For the Cardinals, the club has an abundance of outfield options, and the opportunity to cash one or more in for a catcher is worth taking. Along with Nootbaar and Carlson, the club has Jordan Walker, Tyler O’Neill, Juan Yepez, Alec Burleson, and even the likes of Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman vying for time out there. As much as it may hurt to lose a spark plug like Nootbaar or the potential of Carlson, these Toronto catchers are worth that kind of value.
Comment below if you would trade one of Carlson, Nootbaar, or even Tyler O’Neill for one of the Toronto catchers. If not, how would you address the catcher position instead?