Chicago Cubs Rumors: An in-depth look at trading for Alejandro Kirk

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

Unfortunately, the Chicago Cubs swung and missed acquiring their top-catching targets, Sean Murphy and Christian Vazquez. Fortunately, there are still a few solid options to discuss. One of the main options behind the plate available via trade is the Toronto Blue Jays' Alejandro Kirk. With Gabriel Moreno in the mix, the Jays are looking to move one of their three solid catchers in Kirk, Moreno, and Danny Jansen. Kirk's price will be highly hefty if he is the one that is moved. Depending on whom you ask, he has slightly more trade value than Sean Murphy due to having four years of team control instead of Murphy's three, but if the Cubs want to jump right back into the thick of things, he is the perfect answer to their catcher troubles.

Before we get into the defensive metrics that are the icing on the cake for Kirk, let's glance over the hitting. Kirk has now registered a .278/.362/.426 line in 659 at-bats. In 2022, he recorded 14 HR and 63 RBIs in 139 games played. Split-wise, against southpaws, Kirk has amassed a line of .282/.358/.449 with a 126 wRC+ while also recording a rather impressive .276/.363/.419 with an equally very respectable 124 wRC+ against righties. That makes the Cubs not have to worry about any platooning at the plate, allowing the lion's share of PAs to go to Kirk based on his highly neutral numbers, which is fantastic once you dip into the defensive side of things.

Alejandro Kirk could be the perfect option for the Chicago Cubs at the catcher's position.

Let's take a look at catcher framing here for a minute. In only 78 games behind the plate this season, Kirk saw a total of 1,971 pitches. In those games and pitches seen, he recorded an immaculate nine catcher framing runs saved. That was good for 4th best in the entire league. In third was Travis D'Arnaud with 10, but it took him 834 more pitches to get there. Don't shoot the messenger here, but for reference, Willson Contreras saw 2,049 pitches behind the plate this year and framed exactly zero runs from being saved in 2022. Christian Vazquez, 2,908 pitches seen, saved 1, and Sean Murphy, 3,263 pitches seen, saved 8. Kirk's ability to frame pitches is elite, and there's no reason to believe that if he could land a starting catching role that he wouldn't be near the top of saving catcher-framed runs from being scored.

Behind the plate, Kirk was credited with 655 putouts and only recorded 3 errors, good for a .996% fielding percentage. His defense is extremely solid and coupled with the pitch framing skills, has all the makings of an elite long-term catcher at just the age of 23. The only eye-sore to Alejandro Kirk's game is throwing out runners. Kirk only threw out twelve would-be base stealers out of 47 attempts, recording a below-league-average .255% caught-stealing percentage.

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Where the Cubs missed on Sean Murphy, you have to hope that they have a trick up their sleeve in, and Alejandro Kirk could be the answer to what the Cubs will do at catcher this offseason. We know the Atlanta Braves are out of the running after acquiring Murphy via trade. After signing Christian Vazquez, the Minnesota Twins don't need a catcher, and the Milwaukee Brewers acquired William Contreras from Atlanta upon the Braves landing Murphy. With Willson Contreras already signed to St. Louis, the Cubs figure to be one of many teams in the running, but they should have a solid chance to acquire Kirk from Toronto. They have the prospects to be able to do so. This is their go-big or go-home option that defines the "two-way" type of player that Jed Hoyer is seeking.