Apparently the Tigers have interest in Danny Jansen. Are they a good fit?
Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
Is it possible that the Tigers are looking to trade for Danny Jansen?
According to MLB News Network on Twitter, the team across from Windsor have had interest in the 27-year-old backstop.
While there are questions about the validity of this rumour, it is interesting to look at.
As you probably know, the Blue Jays have a surplus of catchers in the majors. Alejandro Kirk has emerged as the best catcher in all of baseball, Gabriel Moreno has an incredibly high ceiling and could be joining him in a few years, and then there’s Danny Jansen.
Danny Jansen is one streaky player. In the past, he’s always started his season off cold, before heating up in September. However, Jansen started the 2022 season almost literally on fire, slashing .232/.290/.625. The first two numbers are okay for a catcher, but a .625 slugging?
What makes Danny Jansen so valuable:
In just 62 plate appearances, Danny Jansen has hit 7 home runs, or a home run every 8.9 plate appearances (or about every two games).
While his defense has slipped since his amazing 2019 season, he’s at worst, an average defensive catcher who has shown gold glove calibre defense in the past.
Then you factor in his contract. This season, the 27-year-old is making only $1,950,000 and will have two more years of arbitration before hitting free agency after the 2024 season.
Lastly, starting catchers of this calibre rarely hit the market. When you factor in his new found power, average defense and contract, Danny Jansen is truly one of a kind on the market.
Does Danny Jansen make sense for the Tigers?:
Let’s look at the Tigers’ needs first.
Their catching tandem consists of 31-year-old Tucker Barnhart and 29-year-old Eric Haase. Last November, the Tigers traded a prospect for the former gold glove winner.
However, according to Baseball Prospectus’ metric known as Catcher Defensive Adjustment, which combines framing, blocking and throwing, Barnhart has a -0.1 CDA in a fairly large sample size. In comparison, Danny Jansen has a -0.7, while Alejandro Kirk has a 4.7 CDA, which ranks sixth in the MLB,
In terms of framing, Barnhart has a Catcher Framing Runs (which converts borderline pitches into strikes) of -1, the same as Jansen. Slightly below average, but around the same as Jansen.
Where the large discrepancy comes into play is with their bat. While a catcher’s primary job is to catch with offense being less important, we already went over how Jansen says screw those expectations. Barnhart on the other hand, hasn’t been great with the bat this season.
In 157 plate appearances, he’s slashing just .211/.261/.238 for a wRC+ of 44 (compared to Jansen’s 149). Barnhart’s K% is at an elevated 29.9%, which is odd, because prior to 2019, it never strayed above 18.4%.
This isn’t a Tigers news site, so I won’t dig too deep as to why his K% has jumped the past few years, but it’s important to know their catching situation.
As for prospects, the team only has one catcher in MLB Pipeline’s top 30 list. Dillion Dingler ranks as their 3rd best prospect, but the 23-year-old has hit a wall in Double A.
This season, he’s slashing .237/.324/.394 with 7 homers with the Erie SeaWolves. However, his K% of 32.7% is a far cry from the player he had been when he was in college.
So that begs the question, will the Tigers let Barnhart walk this upcoming free agency and try to sign a free agent catcher this season? WIll they draft and try to develop one? Will they hope and pray Dingler hits his ceiling?
All of those questions lead to uncertainty, trading for Danny Jansen is the opposite of uncertainty. While the home run pace will certainly come back to earth, you’re getting a guy who’s shown pop, has been a plus defender in the past and is under team control for the next two and a half years.
Does it make sense for the Blue Jays:
Long story short, not really.
However, the Tigers are a solid trade partner, considering they have quite a few relievers that are great in high leverage. Back in June, I covered the Detroit Tigers in my series “Meet the Sellers”, (Miami is up soon, by the way), where I looked at three players, two of which were relievers.
Those two relievers were Michael Fulmer and Andrew Chafin, two pitchers which the Jays could acquire at a relatively low cost.
Once you add Danny Jansen into the mix, my opinion is that the Tigers would have to give up Gregory Soto + to even come close to making a deal.
I pitched this deal on Twitter and the people’s response is likely the same one you’re having now. Yes, the Tigers would be complete fools to accept this deal, but I think this is how highly the Jays rate Danny Jansen.
Not just that, but relievers aren’t nearly as valuable as catchers. While Gregory Soto and the other three relievers are pretty good (and have control), you can find relievers on trees. Look no further than the Jays finding Adam Cimber (and Corey Dickerson) for Joe Panik.
While Cimber may not be comparable to Soto, who is quite valuable, it wouldn’t take Danny Jansen to fetch Soto.
Like I said, there’s no way in hell the Tigers accept this deal, and I wouldn’t if I were the GM of the team, but I think Danny Jansen could fetch a much larger haul than just relievers.
So will Danny Jansen be traded at all:
In all honesty, I don’t find it likely, at least not yet. Realistically, I don’t think the Jays will make any big moves at this year’s trade deadline. Yes, moves are coming to bolster the bullpen and starting rotation, but these will be moves with prospects going the other way.
However, I think it’s possible that Jansen is moved in the off-season when teams have more room for roster construction.
While I think Detroit is an excellent partner to get some relievers, I don’t think it’s likely that Danny Jansen will be traded there anytime soon.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. As I write this article at 1:31 AM, I’m expecting to have 20+ notifications on the bird app when I wake up tomorrow.
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