We’re all expecting (or, at least, hoping) to see the Blue Jays make a big splash this off-season.
Who might that be? We’ve heard Toronto connected to just about every name out there this winter. George Springer seems like a natural fit to fill the need in centre field, DJ LeMahieu would also help fill holes around the infield, and Trevor Bauer would give the team another top-end arm.
But the Blue Jays’ big splash might end up being someone unexpected — J.T. Realmuto.
The Mets, like the Blue Jays, are expected to be a big player in free agency this off-season. They have a new owner who’s willing to spend and their name is attached to virtually every player available. If the Blue Jays want somebody, there’s a good chance that they’ll be in a bidding war with the Mets.
Realmuto was one of those names that the Mets have been associated with all off-season as the solution to the team’s woes behind the plate. But, according to the New York Post, the Mets are instead interested in James McCann, who had an excellent showing in 2020 in a very small sample size.
The thought is that the Mets would be better off signing McCann to a cheaper deal and using their money to add Springer or LeMahieu. Further to that, it’s also fairly clear that the Phillies won’t be re-signing Realmuto. I mean, you don’t lie about losing $2 billion in one year because you’re planning to pay a guy like Realmuto.
If that’s the case, Realmuto suddenly becomes a top free agent with a smaller market than expected, which would create a prime opportunity for the Blue Jays to swoop in.
On the surface, this seems like a bit of a puzzling fit. The Blue Jays have a lot of catchers. They recently added Gabe Moreno and Riley Adams to the 40-man, giving them five catchers on their roster.
But elite talent is elite talent, no matter what position. Realmuto is arguably the best catcher in baseball right now. Over the past three seasons, he’s been worth 12.3 wins according to FanGraphs. Yasmani Gandal, who’s been worth 11.6 wins over the past three seasons, is the only one who’s close to Realmuto.
As of right now, it would seem the Blue Jays are going to roll into 2021 with Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire as their catching duo with Alejandro Kirk starting at Triple-A. Like with 2020, if McGuire can’t hit, Kirk will get called up and fill in as Jansen’s backup.
Adding Realmuto, of course, would change everything. The Jays would suddenly have an elite catcher behind the plate and all of the other five names they have on the 40-man roster would become trade candidates to help fill holes at other positions.
Trading Jansen would be selling low given the fact he had a ho-hum season in 2020, McGuire might not have any value in a trade right now, and dealing Kirk would be selling high after his promising showing during his cup of coffee this summer.
Kirk, being MLB-ready with a lot of upside, especially at the plate, is easily the one of the three who would net the most in a trade. He’s a highly-regarded player within the organization, but it becomes a lot easier to stomach dealing such a player when you add Realmuto, who, again, is arguably the best catcher in baseball.
I mean, if you can sign Realmuto and use Kirk to acquire Francisco Lindor or Blake Snell, you’ve done well for yourself. That might be what we’re looking at as Toronto’s big splash this winter.