Open to trading Russell Martin, Blue Jays open the door for rookie catcher.
The Toronto Blue Jays have one of the most talked-about farm systems, and baseball bloodlines, in major league baseball. In fact, you can’t hold a conversation, read a story, post a tweet, or listen to a podcast about Blue Jays prospects without hearing the names Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio. However, the prospect that could have the biggest impact on the 2019 club is catcher Danny Jansen.
On Wednesday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that the Blue Jays are entertaining the idea of trading Russell Martin, the team’s opening day catcher since 2015.
An already-crowded catching market is growing even more saturated, as the Toronto Blue Jays have discussed trading Russell Martin and the Pittsburgh Pirates are open to dealing Francisco Cervelli, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Both are drawing interest from a number of teams.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2018
At the age of 35, Martin is certainly on the down-side of his career. However, he seems like exactly the kind of guy that would be good to have around when addressing a locker room full of prospects and young talent.
Toronto clearly likes what Martin brings to the table — having also used him at 3B, SS, and LF in 2018 — but the $20MM owed to him in 2019 could be a bit rich. At minimum, it’s enough of a reason to seek-out possible trade partners given the emergence of Jansen.
Passan also notes that the Blue Jays are willing to payout a significant amount of that salary. In doing so, the team will hope for a better return than if they were simply trying to dump the money. Now, what’s the asking price for an aging catcher that moonlights as a super-utility guy? That remains to be seen. It’ll also be interesting to see, as noted in the report, what happens if the Pittsburgh Pirates deal Francisco Cervelli.
The biggest takeaway?
Jansen, who turns 24 years old just 16 games into next season, appears to have the trust of the Blue Jays front office. After posting a .347 OBP with a 115 OPS+ in his first taste of big-league action (95 PA’s in 31 games), they have every reason to be excited about their 16th round selection from 2013.
Listed as our No. 6 prospect in the Blue Jays organization heading into 2018, here’s a look at our mid-season notes that were published 14 days prior to his MLB debut on August 13.
6) Danny Jansen, C, Grade B: Age 23, 16th round pick in 2013 from high school in Appleton, Wisconsin; hitting .265/.390/.458 with 10 homers, 42 walks, 44 strikeouts in 260 at-bats in Triple-A; showing more isolated power this year while maintaining strike one judgment; defense has slipped a bit this year statistically but overall a successful transition to the IL, should be ready for MLB trial soon.
All of this makes sense for a team that is ripe with on-the-verge talent. The Tampa Bay Rays shocked most of the baseball world by winning 90 games this year with a mixture of journeymen players and unproven youngsters. A similar case could be made for the Blue Jays in 2019.