Monday, September 14, 2009

The Catchers Market, or All the Familiar Facemasks

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.

19 comments:

eyebleaf said...

No to Jason Varitek and the "C" on his jersey.

Torgen said...

Maybe the answer is to trade for a catcher?

stonedog said...

Maybe Kevin Millar has told management he'd be happy to put on the catching gear and suck balls from an entirely new defensive position.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why Cito felt the need to announce that -- unless he dislikes Barajas and wanted to weaken his value in the only way he could.

eyebleaf said...

Rod Barajas hates baseball.

Tao of Stieb said...

I'm getting the impression that Cito hates everyone. Half expect him to get up on the dugout steps and yell at the kids to get off his lawn.

Mattt said...

I second the no for Tek. And yes, Cito hates everyone...

REAN said...

Half expect him to get up on the dugout steps and yell at the kids to get off his lawn.

HAH!

It's almost like he's one of the villians from Scooby-Doo at this point...
Cito: "We would have been in contention if it wasn't for you nosy kids..."

Tao of Stieb said...

Looking at the trade market, it's tough to figure out who's going to be made available.

Maybe Chris Snyder from the D-Backs could be available, given Miguel Montero's great season.

Alex said...

I'd give chavez a shot based on his arm and the relative inexpense.. if he doesn't end up .750 or so batting every day.. then look elsewhere. But I think right now it's a better option than spending 5M+ on a guy who won't be that much better overall.

Darren Priest said...

Yeah if there was ever a slot to value D over O, it has to be catcher. I would make Chavez the number 1 and use the savings on other things. Sadly, "other things" to our ownership means a healthy dividend for the shareholders.

FUCK

hello said...

I'd like to see them trade for Chris Snyder, John Baker (doubt the Marlins would do this) or Mike Napoli (would take a ton). Failing that, I'd like to see Kyle Phillips given the starting role. Given his walk rate this year, he'd only need to hit around .180 to match Barajas' OBP.

DaveC said...

I think Barajas has punched his ticket precisely BECAUSE the market is so weak, he'll get a strong offer on account of his inflated (for a catcher) HR totals, and strong throwing arm. He'll be paid more than the Jays can pay him.

I think we need to find out if Kyle Phillips can play at some point, no? How can he be worse than throwing money at mediocrity?

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm way out - but is it possible that they're looking to Barajas to be rated as a Type A Free Agent? If Scoots is going Type A at short, it would follow that Barajas might get that rating too.

In that vein, maybe Le Cito is playing for a supplemental first rounder here?

Torgen said...

Considering who else the Pirates have sold, it seems like they could be willing to part with Doumit.

plain_g said...

what are the odds that the pirates would have two rookies with the last name 'mccutchen' and they'd be no relation and one would be black and the other would be white.

plain_g said...

and i'm all in for doumit. throw one of our middling pitchers at them, they gave up nate mclouth for charlie morton.

Tao of Stieb said...

Doumit hasn't been great this year. Maybe just the injury earlier this year...(Can't remember why he was on the DL...)

Wouldn't mind seeing them take a shot on him.

bkblades said...

How about we trade Cito and keep Rod? But I'm probably sounding like a broken record and I rather not look like I'm only repeating what the mass is saying about dumping Cito. So, carry on.