With Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen, and top prospect Gabriel Moreno all vying for playing time in 2023, there has been constant speculation over which of these catchers could be dealt to help the Blue Jays address other needs. However, a trade isn’t necessarily a sure thing, as one (at least temporary) answer could be to move Moreno out from behind the plate, as noted by Shi Davidi in a piece for Baseball America. Moreno played in a handful of games at first and third base in the minors, and the final game of the Blue Jays’ 2022 season saw him play as a second baseman and left fielder for the first time in his pro career.
“We have to be open to everything. That’s why you’ve seen him play in different positions,” Toronto GM Ross Atkins told Davidi and other reporters. “But we have to be open to any way to maximize our 40-man roster at this point, and (catching) is clearly an area of depth.”
A catcher athletic enough to play other positions carries extra value, and depending on how well Moreno adapts, his ultimate future might not even be behind the plate. For instance, the Diamondbacks find themselves looking for catching help since former catcher-of-the-future Daulton Varsho has delivered such strong glovework in the outfield. Finding a way to fit Moreno, Kirk, and Jansen into the same lineup would be a boon for the Jays, as Moreno doesn’t have much left to prove at Triple-A. Returning Moreno to the minors “is not our best outcome, most likely, given his progress,” Atkins said.
More from around the AL East…
- Orioles GM Mike Elias has already stated that his team plans to spend more in 2023, though the size and nature of the payroll boost will naturally only be determined as the offseason progresses. Not all of the Orioles’ expenditures would have to be on new talent, as The Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz opines that “arguably no move made this winter would benefit [the team’s] future more than ensuring [Adley] Rutschman is a part of it.” Locking up Rutschman to a big multi-year extension would follow the pattern of teams looking to lock up star young talents, as we’ve seen with the Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez and the Braves’ Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider just within the last couple of months. There isn’t necessarily any rush for the O’s to make a deal since Rutschman only just finished his rookie season, yet extending the catcher or any of Baltimore’s many up-and-coming young stars would seem like a logical next step in the front office’s process.
- The Red Sox are one of many teams facing some tough 40-man roster decisions this winter, and NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase takes a look at some of the prospects under consideration to receive roster spots. Some decisions are easier than others, as shortstop/center fielder Ceddanne Rafaela will certainly be added to the 40-man following a great season at the high-A and Double-A levels. Rafaela hit .299/.342/.539 with 21 homers and 28 steals over 522 combined plate appearances at the two levels in 2022, and also flashed some excellent defense at multiple positions.