Alejandro Kirk’s bat has drawn a lot of attention over his three pro seasons, including a 2020 MLB debut that saw the Blue Jays catcher post a .983 OPS over his first 25 plate appearances as a big leaguer. As one might expect, rival teams have taken notice of Kirk, with TSN’s Scott Mitchell reporting that the Pirates and Indians have both tried to acquire the catcher within the last 14 months.
Cleveland wanted Kirk in a potential Corey Kluber trade with the Jays last offseason, prior to the deal that saw Kluber sent to Texas for Delino DeShields Jr., Emmanuel Clase and the Rangers agreeing to absorb all of Kluber’s $17.5MM salary for the 2020 season. The Pirates’ interest was more recent, as Mitchell notes that the Bucs “tried to pry him away” from Toronto just this past summer.
The Blue Jays and Pirates were known to be in discussions over such pitchers as Trevor Williams, Chad Kuhl, and Joe Musgrove prior to the trade deadline, with a trade for Musgrove reportedly falling through at the veritable last minute. Since Pittsburgh GM Ben Cherington came to the job after working in Toronto’s front office, it isn’t surprising that the rebuilding Pirates and the aggressive Blue Jays are often mentioned as potential trade partners. Musgrove is still a hot commodity on the trade market, and with the Jays still looking to add pitching, a deal could certainly still come together between the two sides before the offseason is through.
Likewise, the past Cleveland ties of Jays president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins have seemingly put the Blue Jays in mind when discussing any potential Indians trade chip. To name one prominent example, Toronto has had interest in Francisco Lindor for well over a year, and Lindor still looms as a potential acquisition given the widespread expectation that the Tribe will deal the shortstop prior to Opening Day.
Whether Kirk could be part of a future deal to Cleveland or Pittsburgh remains in question, however. Mitchell believes the Jays will hang onto Kirk to see if he could be a reliable regular in 2021, both catching and as a DH against left-handed pitching. Danny Jansen is Toronto’s incumbent starter behind the plate, with Reese McGuire and prospects Gabriel Moreno and Riley Adams also on hand to give the Blue Jays quite a bit of major and minor league depth at the position — as Mitchell writes, one of the catchers “will be traded this year, it just won’t be Kirk.” Of course, should the Jays make the big splash to sign free agent target J.T. Realmuto, it would seem likely that multiple catchers (perhaps including Kirk) would be shopped.