TORONTO -- The holiday season has come to an end and with less than six weeks until the start of Spring Training it's back to work for the Blue Jays and the rest of the teams across Major League Baseball.Infielder Aledmys Diaz remains Toronto's lone acquisition of note this offseason,
TORONTO -- The holiday season has come to an end and with less than six weeks until the start of Spring Training it's back to work for the Blue Jays and the rest of the teams across Major League Baseball.
Infielder Aledmys Diaz remains Toronto's lone acquisition of note this offseason, but additional players will have to be added in the coming weeks. The offseason Hot Stove should finally kick into gear this month, but one area the Blue Jays haven't been rumored to be exploring is behind the plate.
Russell Martin remains Toronto's undisputed No. 1 catcher and behind him there are a lot of question marks. The Blue Jays could still look to add a veteran backup, but regardless of what happens this is one position where depth should not be that big of an issue. Here's a closer look at where things currently stand with Blue Jays catchers as part of MLB.com's Around the Horn series:
Russell Martin: Martin will once again receive the vast majority of the playing time behind the plate but his overall workload remains a concern. Martin appeared in just 91 games last season because of several injuries, including a nerve issue in his neck and shoulder that made it difficult to even lift his arm. Assuming good health, Martin will appear in more than 91 games in 2018, but the Blue Jays would be wise to make sure he does not approach the 137 games he appeared in during the 2016 season. The 34-year-old catcher has two years and $40 million remaining on his contract.
Luke Maile: If the season began today, Maile would begin the season as Toronto's backup catcher. He has the inside track for the job because of his ability to control the running game and handle the pitching staff, but he doesn't offer much production with the bat. In 103 career big league games, Maile has posted a .496 OPS, and while that can be passable in occasional starts the offensive skillset does not offer a lot of comfort if Martin sustains any kind of long-term injury.
Danny Jansen: This is the name to keep an eye on during Spring Training and through the early stages of the season. Barring something totally unexpected, Jansen will not break camp with the Blue Jays and instead will open the year at Triple-A Buffalo, but he's arguably the most promising backstop Toronto has within the organization. Last year, Jansen appeared in all three levels of the Minor Leagues and slashed .323/.400/.484 while maintaining a solid reputation for his game-calling. He appears to be the catcher of the future, and if Martin hits the DL then it likely will be Jansen, not Maile, who receives a bulk of the playing time.
Reese McGuire: McGuire was acquired alongside lefty Francisco Liriano in a 2016 midseason trade with the Pirates. He was recently added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, but he's no longer ranked in MLB Pipeline's list of Toronto's Top 30 prospects. An injury-riddled 2017 season is one reason why McGuire's stock dropped, but he's still only 22 years old and could open the season as the starting catcher for Double-A New Hampshire. A .295/.376/.483 slash line in a small sample of 47 games last season shows his potential, but the year before his OPS at Double-A was stuck at .667. Defensively he's capable, but the bat will need to progress if he's going to have a legitimate shot at the big leagues.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.