Blue Jays Active In Backup Catcher Market

Kevin Sullivan - Orange County Register

The Blue Jays have done most of their heavy lifting for this winter. That said, there are still some holes to fill. Among them is the backup catcher role. It is unreasonable to expect Russell Martin to continue to perform over 130+ games as he gets older. With Dioner Navarro and Josh Thole electing free agency, the Jays need to find a backup. Two reports from this afternoon suggest that they have shifted their focus in that direction.

The first report comes from Shi Davidi, who says that they have claimed Juan Graterol off of waivers. It should be noted that the team also signed infielder Gregorio Petit.

Graterol had limited appearances for the Angels last season. However, he did play well in AAA, posting a .300/.340/.370 slash line. The Jays would benefit from a backup catcher with a .340 OBP. Whether Graterol’s numbers could translate to the MLB remains to be seen.

That said, the Jays were also linked to a higher profile alternative. Per Jerry Crasnick, the team has shown interest in Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

The veteran catcher arguably presents more potential upside than any of the internal options. Saltalamacchia had a poor 2016 campaign for the Tigers, as he posted a line of .171/.284/.346 in 92 games. Fortunately, his career numbers are significantly better. The big draw is Saltalamacchia’s OBP, which has sat over .300 for his career. He may not be the flashiest catcher on the market (see: Matt Wieters), but he is a realistic possibility.

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