All off-season it’s seemed a matter of when not if the Blue Jays trade one of their three catchers – Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen and Gabriel Moreno. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Blue Jays were open to trading Jansen to bring in a starting pitcher, but after landing Chris Bassitt on a three-year, $63MM deal Feinsand reports that a trade is no certainty now.
In any event, Toronto is in a strong negotiating position as there’s a few paths they could go down. The clear top two free agent options – Willson Contreras and Christian Vazquez – are off the board, while the Braves have acquired Sean Murphy, making the Blue Jays the clear and obvious fit for any catcher-hungry teams. They could also opt to carry three catchers on the active roster, cycling players through the DH spot, or option Moreno back to Triple-A and go with a Kirk-Jansen tandem to begin the year at least.
The additions of Bassitt to the rotation and Kevin Kiermaier to the outfield decrease the clear needs for the Blue Jays to address this winter, but in a competitive AL East, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them ultimately opt to pursue further upgrades, whether via trade or free agency. As Jon Heyman of the New York Post notes, the Jays were finalists for Masataka Yoshida (the Dodgers were the other finalist) before he signed for the Red Sox. It’s not clear whether the Kiermaier signing arose because they missed out on Yoshida, or whether they tried to sign both, but given the former’s injury history and declining production it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them seek another outfielder.
Boston’s signing of Yoshida addressed the need to upgrade their offense following the departure of Xander Bogaerts to San Diego. It also likely spelled the end of any chance of Eric Hosmer, who was DFA’d yesterday, receiving regular at bats. The Red Sox look to have locked in youngster Triston Casas as their everyday first-baseman moving forward, while Yoshida (and others) could well take a few DH at bats as the Red Sox cycle through their outfielders. Boston’s chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom addressed the DFA of Hosmer to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.
“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas. Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”
Cotillo also reports that the Red Sox tried hard to trade Hosmer prior to DFA’ing him, but found minimal interest in the league. Hosmer did receive a full no-trade clause as part of the trade that sent him from San Diego to Boston at the deadline, but Cotillo’s report said that the lack of trade interest meant the no-trade clause didn’t even come into play. The Red Sox can still trade him while he’s on waivers, but it seems likely he’d be released onto the open market.
While an outgoing trade of Hosmer seems unlikely, the team is working on incomings, and recently asked the Marlins about Miguel Rojas, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rojas was one of the top defensive shortstops in the sport last season, and as Rosenthal notes, the Marlins value that defense and rebuffed Boston’s inquiry. Rojas is under contract for one more year at an affordable $5MM salary.