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Breaking as of November 4th, 2019, right-hander pitcher Chase Anderson has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Milwaukee Brewers will receive first basemane Chad Spanberger in return.
After spending the last four years with the Milwaukee Brewers, it was reported on Monday morning from Robert Murray of the Athletic that Chase Anderson was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. Some were shocked about the trade news of Anderson, while some weren’t as much surprised with this news.

Anderson began his major league career with the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2009 when he was a ninth round pick in the 2009 MLB draft. His major league debut with the Diamondbacks was May 11th, 2014 where allowed one earned run in the five innings he pitched, giving him the win. His first year as a major league player, he posted a 4.01 ERA with 105 strike outs.

January of 2016 brought Anderson to the Milwaukee Brewers, 2017 being his best season where he posted a 12-4 record and 2.75 ERA. His 2019 season wasn’t as great with a 4.21 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a .240 AVG. Although traded, he did have an $8.5 Million option for the 2020 season, and a near $9 million contract option for the 2021 season, but it seems that the Brewers were looking to trade Anderson in hopes to spend the money that was spent on him on another player in their club.

Who’s coming to the Brewers?
The Brewers acquired Chad Spanberger is exchange for Anderson, who was a sixth round pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2017. He spent last season in Double-A where he posted a .237 AVG, 13 home-runs, 59 RBI’s, and a .707 OPS. An unknown name to some, Spanberger could most definitely bring some good fire to the team to help them go towards a successful 2020 season.

NEXT: Mike Moustakas 2019 season report card

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It is unsure on the contract details in regards to this whole trade, but, Brewers fans wish Anderson the best of luck as he heads to north of the border.

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This is the award he badly craved, making no secret of how satisfying it would be, and honestly – how much he truly believed he deserved it.

It took eight years to win his second American League Cy Young Award, but this one was the sweetest for Justin Verlander, earning the honor when most pitchers his age are retired or washed up.

Verlander, 36, became the oldest pitcher to win the Cy Young award since 42-year-old Roger Clemens in 2004.

“It would mean a lot to me,’’ Verlander told USA TODAY Sports in September. “Not just because of my age, but having gone through being at the top of my game, to going down and being hurt, and having people count me out, to getting back to where I am now.

“It gives me some perspective. I am enjoying it more. Not just the age, but having gone through at being atop of my game to going down and being hurt, and having people count me out, to all of the hard work to getting back to where I am now.

“All of that does allow me to appreciate the success a little bit.’’

And, yes, there is the revenge factor. He believes he should have won the award last year, too, instead of Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay. He thought he was robbed three years ago when Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello won the Cy Young award when he finished second, prompting future wife’s Kate Upton’s famous Twitter comment.

“A couple of those years hurt a lot,’’ Verlander says.

NL CY YOUNG: Mets ace Jacob deGrom goes back-to-back

In 2019, Verlander won 20 games for the second time in his career.
In 2019, Verlander won 20 games for the second time in his career. (Photo: Kevin Sousa, USA TODAY Sports)

Verlander, 21-6, 2.48 ERA, and Cole, 20-5, 2.50 ERA, became the first teammates to finish first and second in the Cy Young race since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2002 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Verlander and Cole also joined Johnson and Schilling as the only teammates to reach 300 strikeouts in the same season.

Verlander received 17 of 30 first-place votes, with the other 13 going to Cole.

And their former Astros teammate, Charlie Morton, finishing third, pitching his first season with the Tampa Bay Rays.

AL ROY: Astros budding slugging wins award

NL ROY: Historic season earns Mets slugger the award

Verlander, who had three Cy Young runner-up finishes since winning the Cy Young and AL MVP awards in 2011 with the Detroit Tigers, led the AL in victories, opponents’ batting average (.172), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.80). He also became the oldest pitcher since Johnson in 2004 to throw a no-hitter, the third of his career on Sept. 1, against the Toronto Blue Jays. Only Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan (7) and Sandy Koufax (4) have more no-hitters.

An old-school pitcher, Verlander is an outlier in today’s game. When you ask him what statistics he loves, it’s still victories. It’s still earned-run average. It’s still innings.

“I think wins are important,’’ Verlander says. “You ask any starting pitcher. You go out there and pitch seven innings, give up three runs and lose, you don’t feel as good as you do when you give up three runs in seven innings and win. As much as people want to shy away from the wins and losses, it definitely means something to us.

“I started to amass a good number of them. It comes with being healthy, throwing 200 innings, being out there for your team, covering the extra innings your bullpens doesn’t have to. When you do that, that’s how you get those extra wins.

“That’s how you get 13 to 15 wins instead of 10. That’s how you get 17 to 20 wins instead of 13 to 15. Those extra innings, those matter.’’

Verlander, who has pitched at least 200 innings in all but one season since his rookie year, also takes tremendous pride in the amount of innings he pitches each year. He has lead the major leagues four times, including this season.

“You can’t put a number on it because people can’t quantify how valuable it is,’’ Verlander says. “Just saving the bullpen, the impact those extra innings have, and what that means.”

If you want to go slightly more advanced, Verlander says, he loves WHIP. He had the third-lowest lowest WHIP by a starting pitcher since 1900, trailing only Pedro Martinez in 2000 (0.74) and Walter Johnson (0.77) in 1913.

“I think WAR is a pretty fickle number for starting pitchers, but the WHIP, that’s our job, to limit baserunners,’’ Verlander says. “The batting average against is a nice stat, but if you’re walking three or four batters per nine innings, the way batters now count a hit as good as a walk for OPS, those walks might as well be hits.’’

This season was just another page in his Hall of Fame résumé, becoming only the 18th pitcher in to reach 3,000 strikeouts. He reached that milestone in the fifth-quickest amount of games ever.

And isn’t it ironic that in the year Verlander was the most outspoken pitcher about baseballs being juiced this season – giving up nearly twice as many home runs (36) than during his last Cy Young season (19) – he still was the best in the American League.

Verlander would love to topple one more barrier before he retires, proving, yes, that it really is possible for a pitcher to still win 300 games.

He has 225 victories, and would have to pitch until he’s at least 40 to accomplish the feat, but it’s on his bucket list.

“People can say whatever they want,’’ Verlander says, “but I’m just going to keep my head down and keep pitching. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes. I do a lot more work now than I ever did before. It’s not just in the gym sweating my ass off, it’s the maintenance, knowing my body, and always kind of adapting and changing.

“I don’t know if I can do it or not, but I’m sure the hell going to try.’’

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After two balls opened the battle, the 21-year-old leadoff hitter fouled off seven consecutive pitches — a mix of four-seamers and sliders — before Pruitt issued ball three. Then came another pair of foul balls before Bichette crushed lucky No. 13, a Statcast-projected 393 feet away to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.

Bichette’s leadoff HR on 13 pitch
Bichette’s leadoff HR on 13 pitch
Sep. 5th, 2019
It marked Bichette’s ninth home run and second career leadoff homer. His first came on Aug. 20 against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Bichette finished 2-for-5 on the night, and has hit safely in 10 of his past 11 games — he has a .329 average with 17 RBIs in 34 career games.

“I keep waiting for him to struggle a little bit because he’s only human, and he keeps doing what he’s doing,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It’s been fun to watch. I’ve been in the front row watching this kid break record after record. … It’s amazing what he’s doing.”

The second inning nearly brought more of the same. Bichette stepped into the box with two on and two out and forced Pruitt to throw another eight pitches — including one ball and four that were fouled off — before grounding into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. Just facing Bichette alone caused Pruitt to throw 21 pitches in his first two innings.

The right-hander needed 50 pitches just to get through two frames.

In contrast, Toronto righty Trent Thornton held the Rays to one earned run (three total) on four hits over his 4 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old also fanned four to move to 127 on the season, which tied him with Jerry Garvin (1977) for third-most strikeouts by a rookie in Blue Jays history.

“I felt really good,” Thornton said. “I felt like I was able to execute the majority of my pitches tonight, and that’s the best my changeup’s felt all year. Just when baserunners get on, I have to do a better job of limiting damage and getting out of the inning quicker, instead of elevating my pitch count.”

By the time the fifth inning rolled around, the Rays had moved ahead, 2-1, and Pruitt’s pitch count was in the high 70s. Still, the third time indeed was the charm for Tampa Bay’s starter, as Bichette jumped on a first-pitch slider and grounded out to short.

While Pruitt won that battle, Bichette also marked the last hitter he’d face for the night, freeing up the Blue Jays to work on the Rays’ bullpen.

“I threw an entire inning to [Bichette],” Pruitt said. “Then the third time, he swung on the first pitch and I said, ‘Why couldn’t you do that the first two times, man?’”

Once Pruitt was out, Bichette was rewarded for his efforts. He pounced on reliever Oliver Drake in the seventh inning, clubbing a two-run homer that tied the game at 4 — Bichette’s second career multihomer game (the first one was Aug. 20).

Bichette’s game-tying 2-run homer
Bichette’s game-tying 2-run homer
Sep. 5th, 2019
Bichette also became the fifth Toronto rookie to hit double-digit homers and 12th on the team.

The sixth inning brought with it another rookie boost, as Cavan Biggio was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and later stole second base. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove him home on a line-drive single to deep centre field to bring the Blue Jays to within one run, 3-2, for his 60th RBI.

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Yesterday’s flurry of transactions ended an era of Blue Jays baseball: when Devon Travis was outrighted and removed from the 40-man roster, the last link to Hall of Famer Roy Halladay was broken.

Prior to the moves, Travis was connected to Halladay in a rare linear chain of trades: Travis was acquired in a trade with the Tigers for Anthony Gose, who was acquired from the Astros for Brett Wallace, who was traded from the Athletics for Michael Taylor on the same day that Taylor was moved to the Jays from the Phillies as part of the haul for Halladay.

The Toronto Blue Jays Roster Tree Route Map at the end of the 2019 regular season. Minor Leaguer
On the Toronto Blue Jays Roster Tree Route Map, the TRAVIS (Pink) Line operated a route to Halladay serving the intermediary stops at Gose, Wallace, and Taylor. However, the line has experienced severe service disruptions the past few years and was completely out of commission for 2019.

It was somewhat of a sad move to remove the Pink Line to Halladay, which had existed since the very first Roster Tree Route Map here. It wasn’t much of a surprise; I was dreading making that deletion ever since Travis’s injury.

Beyond this frivolity, I am genuinely sad that Devon Travis could leave the Blue Jays organization—he was outrighted, but has enough service time to elect free agency—as he seems to be one of the good human beings in the game. I have heard of many really thoughtful acts he has done for various people in the Jays organization behind the scenes. He will be missed.

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The manager’s job opened up for Cito Gaston just as it always does in baseball — somebody else got fired.

On May 15, 1989, the Blue Jays fired Jimy Williams after the team had put together a 12-24 record.

General Manager Pat Gillick said the team had high hopes when Williams took the job three seasons earlier.

“We thought Jimy was maturing as a manager, we thought that he was fitting into the [manager's] seat very well, but sometimes the best-laid plans, they don’t work out,” he told reporters after firing Williams.

To fill the manager’s job, the team looked to Gaston to take over on an interim basis.

Will Cito stay?

Will Cito Gaston stick as manager?
31 years ago 1:12
Marty York talks to Midday about the odds of Cito Gaston taking on the Jays’ manager job on a permanent basis. 1:12
Gaston had been the team’s hitting coach since 1982 and was well-liked by players. And after one day on the job, the team was 1-0 under his watch.

But some doubted he’d be able to hang onto his new role for very long.

“I think Cito is a capable man. He does command the respect of the players — I think he can motivate them — he knows baseball and I would like to see them remove that interim tag,” sports journalist Marty York told CBC’s Midday the day after Gaston had been named manager.

“But from my understanding, the only way they’re going to do that is if he should win every game during his stint as interim manager. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

The Toronto Star was just as bleak in its assessment. The paper reported the Jays would name a permanent manager within 10 days but said “Gaston isn’t on the short list of candidates.”

By the end of April, the team announced Gaston would be keeping his job until the end of the season.

‘No sense in worrying’

‘No sense’ in worrying about the past
30 years ago 0:28
Cito Gaston seemed unfazed by the pressure as the Jays chased a playoff bid near the end of the 1989 season. 0:28
The Jays under Gaston, in fact, would continue to improve through the 1989 season. And as the end got closer — with a possible, but still uncertain playoff bid in sight — the pressure didn’t seem to be getting to their manager.

Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, (foreground), and infielders Tom Lawless (left) and Rance Mulliniks watch from the dugout in the final moments of American League Championship Series game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 1989 in Oakland. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)
“There’s no sense in worrying about things that are in the past … being concerned about ‘em is only going to cause you a problem as far as worrying about ‘em,” Gaston told CBC, just a few days before the season wrapped.

“To me, at this time of year, you want to just stay as relaxed as you possibly can and not worry about things that happened two days ago or last night because that’s over with and you can’t do anything about it.”

Toronto finished with an 89-73 record, winning the division on the second-last game of the regular-season schedule.

And that meant the Jays would play in their first playoff series in four years.

The Blue Jays wouldn’t make it to the World Series that year, as the Oakland Athletics defeated them in just five games in the American League Championship Series.

But the Jays would make repeated and highly memorable trips to the post-season in the years to come.

2 World Series championships

Cito Gaston, shown in front right-hand corner, is seen celebrating the second Blue Jays’ second World Series win in 1993. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)
From 1991 to 1993, the Jays would win three further division titles under Gaston. The team also won back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.

Toronto Blue Jays newly-appointed manager Cito Gaston watches warmups before a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh Friday, June 20, 2008. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
Gaston would continue to manage the Jays until the last week of the 1997 season.

He made a comeback in 2008, when he took on his old job after John Gibbons, then in his own first stint as a big-league manager, was fired by the Jays.

The team was 35-39 when Gaston took over. They finished their season with an 86-76 record.

Just like the first time around, Gaston was hired on an interim basis. But he would end up managing the team through the end of the 2010 season.

His career record as Blue Jays manager through two stints and 1,764 games stands at 913-851, according to statistics listed on the team’s website.

To date, no other manager has taken a Blue Jays team to the World Series and no one has spent more games — or won more games — as the Toronto bench boss than Gaston has.

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Unsurprisingly, there’s interest around baseball in one of the Blue Jays’ talented young catchers. If they choose to, they could afford to let one of them go under the right circumstances.
The Blue Jays have a lot of young talent throughout their organization, so it’s no surprise that rival teams are potentially interested in talking trade at this time of the year.

One of those areas of talent is at catcher, as the Blue Jays have the potential luxury of a catching tandem of Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire that are essentially coming off of their rookie seasons, and both looked more than capable of handling starting duties last season. They both have plenty to prove at the highest level yet, but the future behind the plate looks bright in Toronto.

Not surprisingly, other teams have taken notice of the catching talent north of the border according to, and might be wondering if the Blue Jays would consider trading from an area of strength in order to address other weaknesses. While there’s an argument that they should hold on to both of their backstops for now, and I made one a little while ago, they could also consider making a trade now if the right offer comes along, and they should be set up to handle the loss of one of the pair.

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The first important variable is that they still have Luke Maile under contract for three more seasons through arbitration control if they choose, and he’s certainly a capable back-up and not a bad guy to pair with a young starter. It’s tough to see how he fits with the Blue Jays going forward if they keep both Jansen and McGuire, so I would expect that one of the trio gets dealt sometime this winter, and it’s possible that Maile could be the guy. He wouldn’t bring back anywhere near the type of return the other two would though, which is why that option is on the table.

There’s also the fact that the Blue Jays have some catching talent still coming in their minor league system including Gabriel Moreno (#8), Alejandro Kirk (#12), and Riley Adams, all on their top 30 prospects list. The Blue Jays could choose to trade from their pool of minor league catching depth, but again, it’s about what the return might be.

At this stage it’s hard to say what other teams might be willing to pay. Jansen is coming off an impressive first full season as a starter, but it certainly came with struggles as well. He rated well as a pitch framer and ended up being nominated for a Gold Glove, but he’ll need to improve on his .207/.279/.360 slash line next season and beyond. McGuire’s sample size was a lot smaller, and while it was impressive to say the least, one could argue that he played over his head down the stretch in 2019.

NEXT: Another minor leaguer busted for PED use
With the need for talented and controllable starting pitchers, the only real way I could see the Blue Jays trading Jansen or McGuire is if they can get a worthy starting pitcher back in return. Otherwise, it feels like it’s a little too early to know which one they’ll want to keep, and even if they have their long-term solution just yet. On the other hand, they’re both likeable viewed as quite valuable at the moment, and if the right offer comes along, the Blue Jays can certainly entertain the idea.

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Well, that’s a good question and a fair one. On a day to day basis, I’m not too concerned about the positions. The objective should be to get all your best bats in the lineup as often as possible. Playing a player in their second position or rotating them around isn’t a bad thing. Assuming they’re not a huge detriment defensively, of course. And Moustakas isn’t that at any of the three positions he’s played over his nine-year career.

Up until 2018, he was exclusively a third baseman and had no playing time at any other position. I guess this sort of feeds into another conversation and the growing need for position players that have a few homes around the diamond. The days of players playing one position are dying, aside from the more premier guys in our game. Flexibility is key. It’s why Brandon Drury is even still on this roster. Plus with all the profound shifts we see in-game, a player’s overall fielding tools are more critical. Familiarity on the diamond is essential, too, but I don’t expect anyone on this team to pull a Will Ferrell any time soon. Two or three different positions is enough — more than one at the minimum.

In 2018, Moose saw 35 innings at first base with the Royals, and the results were encouraging. He started 2019 playing second base every day for the Brewers and then made the switch back his usual home of third base at the beginning of May. His stats at both positions were very close to breaking even. He’s a glass-half-full, half-empty type defender. But the versatility that he showed has value.

I know, I know, you’re screaming at me that the Blue Jays already have someone to play third and second base in Cavan Biggio and Guerrero Jr. Well, let’s talk about those players. Vladdy’s defence was a talking point in 2019, and many were left wondering not if, but when his move to first base will happen. I’m not at that point yet. I think he has one of the best arms in the league from the hot corner. Limiting that asset at first so quickly would be a shame.

The main criticism was his conditioning. And it showed in the fielding metrics as well as the number of games he played. Again, I’m not as worried about it as others are, but I can see the concern. Here’s him working out with the gang last month – looking good, Vladdy!

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I have confidence in him. But if for whatever reason he’s not able to play the field full time, then Moustakas is head over heels a better option than Drury.

Now, Biggio is interesting because although he primarily plays second, he comes advertised as being able to play a corner OF spot as well as first base. I’m not suggesting a full-time switch at all. His defence at second wasn’t fantastic, but it was passable. In 735.1 innings, he produced -1 DRS and -0.2 UZR/150. The fact that he can play a few other spots on the diamond is valuable. Whatever composition that gets you the best possible lineup is the one you should roll. But again, as long as it’s not at a huge detriment.

Mike Moustakas isn’t Kendrys Morales, by any means. The DH spot should be used to rotate these guys around and keep them in the lineup while resting their legs. They just aren’t making any more of Nelson Cruz or David Ortiz, unfortunately.

To summarize, if they can find 447 PA for Drury and 143 between Richard Urena, Alen Hanson and Breyvic Valera, then they should have no problem adding Moustakas to the mix.

Overall, hearing names like Moustakas tossed around is a reason to be optimistic. The team has nowhere to go but up, and the front office seems set on adding to the MLB roster. How much is yet to be seen, but baby steps are better than none.

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TORONTO — The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame pulled Kelly Gruber from its induction weekend festivities after the former Toronto Blue Jays third baseman made an awkward appearance during a Pitch Talks panel discussion a day earlier.

Gruber was briefly on stage at the Homestand Sports event Thursday night with host Ashley Docking and Rogers Sportsnet broadcaster Kevin Barker in Toronto. In a joint statement Friday, the Hall of Fame and Pitch Talks said the proceedings were stopped 45 minutes early because of Gruber’s “unacceptable and inappropriate behavior.”

“Basically what happened was by the time he got on stage he appeared to be inebriated,” Homestand Sports founder Kevin Kennedy said. “He was just acting sort of obnoxious, kind of erratic, he was confrontational with our host, Ashley, and quite quickly I knew that this wasn’t going in the right direction.”

Gruber was one of several former Blue Jays chosen to participate in various Hall events in the lead-up to Saturday’s ceremony in Ontario, where former major league stars Pedro Martinez and Lloyd Moseby will be inducted along with baseball historian William Humber.

Gruber’s representative, Don Graham, emailed a statement from the former player to The Canadian Press on Friday evening.

“There’s two sides to every story and I would love to tell mine,” Gruber said. “Maybe what I said was taken the wrong way. My intention for being there was to honor my teammate and buddy Lloyd, and the interview part went south for a variety of reasons which I will detail at a later date.”

The 56-year-old Gruber made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1984. He won a World Series with Toronto in 1992 and ended his career with the Angels the following year.

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When I started this list thing, I really thought it would be enjoyable, you know, a walk down memory lane. Well memory lane isn’t so great, especially when it comes to the catcher position. The truth is, Kansas City has been a black hole for catchers. Sure, there’s been a couple of really good catchers, but for a franchise that is 51 years old, you’d think filling out a top five would be easy. Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Have them be a catcher because evidently there is a serious shortage of great ones.

I had no idea that Brent Mayne stuck around the bigs for 15 seasons. Buck Martinez and Jamie Quirk hung on for 17 and 18 years respectively. Mayne had 20 career home runs in 15 seasons. Buck Martinez had 15 career home runs in his 17 years. Compare that to Mark Belanger who carved out an 18-year career as a great fielding, no-hit shortstop for the Orioles. Belanger somehow stroked 20 career home runs and was good for 41 WAR, while Mayne, Quirk and Martinez were good for a combined 9 WAR. I know that’s comparing apples to oranges, but I came away amazed at how weak the Royals have been at catcher most years.

Another issue that complicated matters is that three former backstops I considered (Ed Kirkpatrick, Jamie Quirk and John Wathan) also spent considerable time playing other positions for the Royals. I ran over the stats of 11 different catchers and amazingly, those 11 have caught most of all games the Royals have played. Well let’s get to the ugly.

Honorable mention

Ed Kirkpatrick and Jim Sundberg. Sundberg had a fantastic career, good for 41 WAR. The problem was only 2 of his 16 years were spent in Kansas City. He played a huge part of the 1985 Royals winning the World Series. In the playoffs and World Series, he had timely hitting and expertly managed the young pitching staff.

5. John Buck
Buck was drafted by the Houston Astros in the seventh round of the 1998 draft. On June 24, 2004 he was traded to the Royals as part of the infamous three team trade in which Kansas City sent future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran to Houston in return for Buck, Mark Teahen, Mike Wood and cash. He made his Major League debut the next day at the age of 23.

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The Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams that have met with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal according to ESPN’s Marly Rivera.

It’s unclear how many teams the Blue Jays are competing against on the Grandal front, but Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Tuesday that the Milwaukee Brewers want to bring him back for another season. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week that “all signs point” to the Cincinnati Reds making a “serious run” at the switch-hitting catcher.

Grandal, 31, is one of the top prizes on the free-agent market and currently occupies the No. 9 spot on TSN’s top 50 MLB free agents board. He had the best season of his career last year, slashing .246/.380/.468 with 28 home runs and 77 RBI in 153 games while being recognized as one of the top defensive catchers in the game. He also appeared in 20 games at first base (startinff 16) in 2019.

Prior to spending last season with the Brewers, Grandal played four years with the Dodgers and three with the San Diego Padres. He was named to the National League all-star team last year as well as in 2015.

The Jays are no stranger to making big splashes in free agency behind the dish, signing Canadian Russell Martin to a five-year, $82 million deal prior to the start of the 2015 season. Martin went on to play a crucial role in the Jays playoff runs of 2015 and 2016 before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last off-season.

The Blue Jays went with a trio of Danny Jansen, Luke Maile and Reese McGuire behind the plate last season but didn’t get consistent production from any of the three from both sides of the plate. McGuire finished the year with a nifty .299/.346/.526 slash line but saw his OPS drop considerably when facing left-handed pitching (.924 against righties, .685 against lefties). Despite 13 home runs from Jansen, neither he (.207), nor Luke Maile (.151) was much of a factor at the plate.

While Grandal is without question one of baseball’s best catchers, general manager Ross Atkins made it clear earlier this week at the GM Meetings that the Jays are prioritizing pitching this off-season.

“First and foremost, for us, we want to make sure we address every pitching need, every pitching opportunity and consider that before we lunge at the positon player market. Pitching could impact our financial flexibility.”

The Jays finished last season at 67-95 in 2019 to miss the playoffs for the third straight season.