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The Cubs still need a catcher. How about one of these Blue Jays backstops?

The Jays have two good catchers plus a top catching prospect, so they might be willing to trade.

Toronto Blue Jays/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

News item:

That takes a catcher the Cubs might have been interested in signing off the board.

The Cubs absolutely do need a catcher to pair with Yan Gomes. P.J. Higgins had an okay season in 2022, but he’s not really a suitable partner for a full year in 2023.

Free agency, obviously, isn’t the only way a team can acquire talent. Trades can and do happen. There have been a couple of trades this winter involving significant MLB players — the Brewers sending Kolten Wong to the Mariners, and the three-way deal between the Braves, Brewers and A’s where Sean Murphy wound up in Atlanta and William Contreras in Milwaukee.

But the Cubs haven’t made a trade involving major league players since last summer’s trade deadline, unless you count the minor deal in which they picked up Miles Mastrobuoni from the Rays last month.

Also last month, I wrote this article about a trade proposal posted in The Athletic in which the Cubs would acquire Danny Jansen from the Blue Jays for Ian Happ and Adbert Alzolay. Based on the poll results from that article, most of you didn’t like that idea, but were open to another deal to acquire Danny Jansen or another Blue Jays catcher, Alejandro Kirk. The reason Toronto might be willing to deal is that they have another catcher, 22-year-old Gabriel Moreno, who not only is their No. 1 prospect, but is among the top prospects in all of baseball.

Beyond that, both Jansen and Kirk are reasonably young and come with some years of team control (two years for Jansen, four years for Kirk).

So. If you don’t care for an offer of Happ and Alzolay for Jansen, how about one of these proposals?

Keegan Thompson, Nick Madrigal and Adbert Alzolay for Danny Jansen

I’ve been down on Madrigal, as many of you know, but he still does have talent. This would give the Jays a pitcher who could slot right into their rotation in Thompson, and a possible future closer in Alzolay. Jansen stands 36th of 60 catchers listed in this pitch framing ranking for 2022, and is about league average in throwing out baserunners. Jansen turns 28 in April.

Or, how about this:

Keegan Thompson, Kevin Alcántara, Adbert Alzolay and Javier Assad for Alejandro Kirk

Kirk just turned 24 and, as noted, has four years of team control remaining. 2022 was his first full season in MLB and he hit .285/.372/.415 with 14 home runs in 139 games. That OBP looks really good, too, and that’s not a fluke — he had a .416 OBP in 675 minor-league PA before being called up.

That’s a pretty high price, but Kirk has the chance to be a special player, in my view. He could also DH when not catching, though so could Jansen. Lastly, going back to that pitch framing list, Kirk ranks near the top (fourth).

There aren’t really many good catchers left on the free-agent list — Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casali and Jorge Alfaro are about the best out there, and I’d rather have someone better.

Could the Cubs make either of those deals? Or do you have a better idea?

Poll

Which trade should the Cubs make for a Blue Jays catcher?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Keegan Thompson, Nick Madrigal and Adbert Alzolay for Danny Jansen
    (165 votes)
  • 28%
    Keegan Thompson, Kevin Alcántara, Adbert Alzolay and Javier Assad for Alejandro Kirk
    (255 votes)
  • 12%
    I have a different idea (leave in comments)
    (109 votes)
  • 41%
    The Cubs should not trade for a Blue Jays catcher
    (378 votes)
907 votes total Vote Now