Toronto catcher interesting potential trade option for Marlins
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
At last, some clarity to the Miami Marlins’ offseason plans.
The GM Meetings concluded on Thursday at Carlsbad, Calif., and we’ve seen some signs as to how the Marlins are mapping out their offseason.
What we’ve learned this week is the Marlins intend to pursue free agent hitters (regardless of position), they aren’t in the market for a big-ticket shortstop (not surprising with Miguel Rojas signed for a couple of more years), and they’ve been linked to possibly trading for a catcher.
In terms of big splash-like moves, the fact club officials have met with free agent outfielders Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia is encouraging. It was expected, but the fact they did so establishes those lines of communication. Additionally, Miami may have already reached out to Eduardo Escobar. If so, it hasn’t been reported.
If the Marlins can sign two impactful free agent hitters (regardless of position), they’ll be on their way to a successful offseason. I’ll keep repeating “regardless of position,” because when your offense ranked near the bottom of the Majors in all major statistical categories, you don’t pinpoint center field, or any one spot, as a top priority. If you upgrade other areas, you can make due with any number of options elsewhere.
As for center fielder Starling Marte, the Phillies reportedly have interest. And on Friday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported the Marlins have been in contact with Marte’s camp. Remember, the two sides weren’t able to reach contract agreement in July, and the veteran was dealt to the Oakland Athletics for Jesus Luzardo.
Marte is a very good player, but in our opinion, should not be Miami’s top priority. At least not to the point his salary prohibits the club from pursuing players who provide more home run production.
Also, the way ManOn2nd looks at is, the Marlins should not be looking to “bring the band back together,” and go after players who spent half the year on Miami’s 95-loss team in 2021.
My biggest takeaway from the GM Meetings is a report that didn’t get much attention out of California. But it is a topic in Toronto.
Reports are the Marlins and Blue Jays could be a match for 23-year-old catcher Alejandro Kirk.
The Blue Jays, ready to win now, are eager to add established pitching. The Marlins have three starters in their arbitration years: Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Elieser Hernandez.
Immediately, we can remove Alcantara from the conversation, because the Marlins’ ace likely isn’t going anywhere. The Marlins can’t realistically expect to make a run at contending in 2022 by dealing away their best pitcher.
But Lopez and Hernandez make sense in a deal that could include Kirk.
Let’s take a look at Kirk, because his physical stature gets plenty of attention. He’s listed at 5-8, 265-pounds. That immediately raises the question about his ability to move around behind the plate.
According to my insiders, the answer is, yes. Some in the industry are very high on Kirk, and feel he will be just fine behind the plate.
This has me immediately on board for a possible deal to bring Kirk to the Marlins.
Offensively, he has the makings to be an impactful hitter.
The Blue Jays have a surplus of catchers in their organization. Big league ready Gabriel Moreno is their top prospect. So, Kirk may be expendable.
The Marlins have pitching options to part with. Alcantara and Trevor Rogers would appear the two untouchables right now. And with Edward Cabrera now in the mix for an Opening Day rotation spot, moving either Lopez or Hernandez makes sense.
I like the idea of trading for a young catcher. And if Miami is able to move some of their arbitration eligible players, that frees up money to allocate towards free agents like Castellanos.
Yes, the Marlins need a catcher, but they don’t need to overpay — in prospects and then to sign — in a trade for, say, Cubs’ veteran Willson Contreras.
Something else to consider, this Marlins’ ownership group already has a history of trading with Toronto. In 2020, Miami sent Jonathan Villar to the Blue Jays for Griffin Conine, and in 2021, Adam Cimber and Corey Dickerson were dealt for Joe Panik and Andrew McInvale.
Could a deal headlining Hernandez for Kirk be in the cards now?
If so, Kirk appears to be a solid offensive player.
He’s a right-handed hitter who impacts the ball. Kirk hit .242/.328/.436 with eight homers in 89 plate appearances with the Blue Jays in 2021. He’s a .317 career Minor League hitter.
According to Statcast, his maximum exit velocity this year was 109.4 mph. Then there is contact rate. He struck out 11.6 percent of the time, while walking 10.1 percent.
If they can swing a deal like this, the Marlins’ offseason would be getting off to a terrific start.