It's the darnedest thing about finding a catcher. Everybody's always sure that there's a more productive catcher on the market, or that they've got one on the way that's sure to be an improvement on the fat, slow bum with marginal offensive abilities that they've already got.
But take a look around the free agent market for catchers this offseason, and you realize that there's not a lot out there that you haven't already seen before.
With Cito essentially stating that Rod Barajas has already punched his ticket out of town, and the Jays demonstrating their disappointment with the performances of J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman, the spot behind the plate is up for open auditions.
So who's going to come in to improve on Rod the Bod's 18 homers, 64 RsBI, .704 OPS?
A glance through MLB Trade Rumo(u)rs' list of available catchers shows that there's not a lot to choose from out there that we haven't already seen and run out of town. The two best options for the Jays might be Gregg Zaun (6 HR, 23 RBI, .752 OPS) or Bengie Molina (17/70/.710), neither of whom would provide a lot more than Rod. (Although Zaun is probably the strongest OBP catcher on the market.)
We've been a big proponent of Miguel Olivo before, but again, he's going to bring the same low OBP (.279) that people have identified as a problem with Barajas. Brian Schneider used to be a guy that we'd favour, but he's rocking a .602 OPS this year and generally making Raul Chavez (.664) look like a viable full-time option.
Ramon Hernandez is hurt. Josh Bard might be an upside play, but not a major improvement. Ivan Rodriguez is mostly getting by on reputation these days.
Then, there's Jason Varitek, who may be too washed up to continue on in Boston, but who could bring his flattop haircut and bag full of intangibles to another AL East team and provide some significant knowledge of the teams in the only division that really matters for the Jays. However, his relatively strong .731 OPS is bolstered by his home numbers in the only stadium that could make Jim Rice a Hall of Famer. (Varitek's road OPS is .611. Yikes.)
Frankly, the catcher market is just a mess, so we're not clear on the rationale for sending Rod Barajas on his way when there is little else out there to replace him.