The Blue Jays announced some roster moves prior to tonight’s game against the Red Sox, including the news that catcher Caleb Joseph’s contract had been selected from the team’s alternate training site. Joseph will replace catcher Reese McGuire, who was optioned to the alternate site. To create 40-man roster space for Joseph, closer Ken Giles has been moved from the 10-day injured list to the 45-day IL.
Joseph has been on Toronto’s taxi squad for much of the season, and he’ll now be in line to get his first in-game action of the 2020 season. Signed to a minor league deal last winter, Joseph saw regular action with the Orioles from 2014-18, hitting only .224/.271/.353 over 1317 plate appearances in Baltimore and then posting only a .513 OPS over a 41-PA stint with the Diamondbacks last season. Joseph has, however, earned a solid reputation as a defensive catcher, adept at pitch-framing and throwing out would-be base-stealers.
Though Joseph isn’t known for his hitting, it won’t take much to top McGuire’s somewhat unfathomable -45 OPS+ during the 2020 season. McGuire showed quite a bit of promise with his .882 OPS over 138 PA with the Jays in 2018-19, though this year has managed just a .073/.073/.146 slash line in 45 plate appearances. With regular starter Danny Jansen also not hitting much, clearly the Blue Jays felt a change was needed to boost their production from the catcher’s spot.
Counting today, Giles has already spent 41 days on the injured list since his initial placement for a right forearm strain, so the move to the 45-day IL isn’t a big obstacle to his impending return. Giles threw a live batting practice session today and is slated for another on Tuesday, so he could potentially be activated as soon as he hits the 45-day threshold.