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Blue Jays hope Jansen catches on fast

DUNEDIN, FLA.—Danny Jansen was in Halifax for the Blue Jays’ ninth annual Winter season Tour when he acquired the top rated catching occupation would be up for grabs.

To say the heir clear was astonished to hear that veteran catcher Russell Martin had been dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers would be an understatement.

Getting more comfortable behind the plate could be the biggest challenge for Blue Jay Danny Jansen, who hit well in his first look at big-league pitching last season.
Acquiring more snug behind the plate could be the most important problem for Blue Jay Danny Jansen, who strike very well in his initially appear at significant-league pitching past time.  (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN Press)

“I did not definitely know what to think at initially,” the 23-calendar year-outdated Jansen reported. “I was like, ‘Wait, what? Genuinely?’”

Martin expended 4 seasons with the Jays and noticed significantly less time than standard behind the plate in 2018, but was nevertheless the club’s busiest catcher, logging 71 games. Backup Luke Maile was pretty much as fast paced, with 68 appearances.

With Jansen and an additional 23-calendar year-outdated catching prospect, Reese McGuire, rising swiftly by way of the process, Martin did not capture immediately after Sept. 3. A trade was inevitable, even with the $20 million (all pounds U.S.) remaining on Martin’s agreement — the Jays will decide up $16.4 million of it.

“It usually means that the corporation actually has religion in some of the youthful guys listed here,” Jansen reported.

Jansen and McGuire will contend for the No. 1 occupation this spring, with Maile anticipated to stay in the backup function. Jansen is the obvious frontrunner — ranked fifth among catching prospective buyers by MLB Pipeline, and 42nd among all significant-league hopefuls by Baseball America. He created his significant-league debut past August and slashed a reliable .247/.347/.432 for a .779 OPS in 31 games.

“I think I tailored swiftly to finding out scouting reviews and the velocity of the match, which I was definitely, definitely happy with,” Jansen reported of his 6-7 days indoctrination. “I assumed it was quite excellent. It was clearly nerve-wracking for a very little little bit, but at the close of the day I assumed I did a quite excellent occupation, and I just want more of it. “

McGuire was named up in mid-September and strike .290 with a .914 OPS in 14 games. Primarily based on their track information in the minors, Jansen is thought of the much better hitter, McGuire more proficient defensively.

They’ve recognized each other given that McGuire was traded to the Jays by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016 — alongside with still left-hander Francisco Liriano and outfield prospect Harold Ramirez — for appropriate-hander Drew Hutchison. They served each other enhance with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons past time, and that practical experience potential customers Jansen to think the ultimate roster final decision will be a challenging a single to make.

“I have to receive it and I have to get the job done for it, and that is what I’d relatively have anyways,” he reported. “I’d relatively be pushed. I know Reese and I are heading to press each other — that is just how we are. We’re aggressive … (but) pull for each other as very well, so it is heading to be enjoyable.”

No make a difference who sticks behind the plate, the catching tandem will be a youthful a single. Maile is 28 and has nonetheless to strike arbitration eligibility. The catchers’ inexperience at the significant-league stage usually means they are in frequent communication with coaches Pete Walker, John Schneider and Shelley Duncan. Recreation calling, organizing and getting common with significant-league hitters is the hardest problem, reported Walker.

“When you have those people veteran guys that have been all around for 10 several years, it is undoubtedly a very little little bit simpler to match strategy,” the pitching mentor reported. “With the younger guys, we have bought to make positive they’re getting the proper details and they’re learning some of these hitters, and they’re getting common with them as before long as attainable.”

That was not a little something Walker had to fear about with Martin — “a male that controlled the pitching team,” reliever Ryan Tepera reported not too long ago.

Maile phone calls Martin “one of those people guys that when he walks into a room, or when he suggests a little something, individuals listen.”

The wisdom imparted by Martin, a 13-calendar year veteran, is positive to enable heading ahead.

“I think primarily with past calendar year, some of the guys who are heading to impression our staff in the significant leagues this calendar year — them getting at the very least a little sample of enjoying with a male like (Martin) is heading to be handy,” reported Maile. “Just for them to see how he operated and went about his enterprise.”

Laura Armstrong is a sports activities reporter dependent in Toronto. Adhere to her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

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