Friday, February 19, 2010

Because every catching depth chart could use a Molina

At last, our long Molina drought is over.

Jordan Bastian (in between snapping photos of pre-report pitching and catching and dreaming of the day that he and Eddie Vedder have a barbecue and solve the world's problem, one power chord at a time) tweeted the news that the Jays have signed another of the catching Molina brothers, locking up José for $800 K, or $400 K, or something. (It got a little confusing there for a moment.)

And right then, for just a moment, we considered going to Fangraphs to compare the offensive numbers that Molina put up in comparison to Raul Chavez. But then we realized that it would be a bit like having Jim DeRogatis come listen to your 18-month old pounding away at their Fisher Price xylophone. It's a lot of work to find out not much of any relevance.

Okay, screw it. We'll bite.

In 52 games with the mighty mighty Yankees in their Matchbox stadium, Molina put up a .560 OPS (.292 OBP, .268 SLG). That is the lowest slugging percentage that we've ever seen for a man of Molina's significant girth. And there is something really and truly wrong about being a fat slap hitter. (Which is why we quit the game.)

Raul Chavez, on the other hand, sported an exemplary goatee and this moustahce combo under his catcher's mask last season for the Jays. He also put up a .632 OPS (.285 OBP, .346 SLG) in 51 games last season.

And we'd tell you what the projection systems think he'll put up, but we doubt that they have anything more to say that whatever we would just make up on the spot.

What interests us most at this point is how many times either player gets referred to as a "catch-and-throw-guy" in the next three weeks versus the number of times that Travis D'Arnaud gets called "catcher-of-the-future" and J.P. Arencibia gets referred to as "stagnating prospect".

We don't know about you, but our love for John Buck just grew a little bit deeper.


Anonymous said...

It's a pretty harmless move. He makes the opening roster, he gets $800k and backs up Buck. If not, he sees $400k and will be wished all the best in his future endeavors if he chooses not to stick around.


Peter D said...

I remember last year wondering why the Jays had both Michael Barrett and Raul Chaves.

Turns out that depth, even if it is lacking in talent can come in handy.

Tao of Stieb said...

But didn't they have that Phillips kid as a potential back up catcher? Jason Phillips' little brother, Wilson.

(Er, I mean Kyle.)

Having lots of warm bodies is good, but I thought they already had enough.

Ty said...

The best explanation I've heard so far is that AA signed Molina to take him off the market, making Barajas more attractive to other teams. It's definitely possible.

It also makes sense, with the multiple shitloads of young arms the Jays have at camp this year, to have as many competent catchers as possible hanging around.

Peter D said...

I agree, I think they have enough options with Kyle "Don't call me McKenzie" Phillips. But he may be a little inexperienced considering this teams pitching staff.

Joey said...

Your right, it seems like they don't think too highly of Phillips as a backup catcher. Also, if Barajas is forced into a minor-league deal then why is (Jose) Molina getting a major-league deal with guaranteed money. Maybe there is something I am missing. And for all the "catch-and-throw" fanatics, Chavez threw them out at a higher clip last year.

Ian H. said...

Does anyone remember if Molina was involved in that Yankee/Blue Jays scrum? I think Posada was catching that game, but it's possible he could've been the DH and Molina was the starting catcher.

Steve G. said...

But then we realized that it would be a bit like having Jim DeRogatis come listen to your 18-month old pounding away at their Fisher Price xylophone. It's a lot of work to find out not much of any relevance.

That is a great, great two sentences. Kudos! However, I can't subscribe to the Barajas conspiracy theory that someone else floated in the comments. It seems like a stretch to say that signing Molina suddenly makes Barajas an attractive free agent option. At this point, you're just sorting through the various junk left out there on the market, and I don't think one option is much better than any other.

Ryan said...

I like the theory that the Jays have so many young arms that we need 3 or 4 MLB catchers in camp just to catch all their bullpens and during ST games. As small a difference as it may be, these guys can help the young arms out I think.

God knows they didn't come here to hit ;)

Ty said...

Steve G, that's the point. Barajas and Molina were pretty much equally attractive (unattractive?) options for teams looking to sign an extra catcher, so now that Molina's off the market the only option left is Barajas.

Ty said...

Rosenthal said today that Rod's deciding between a $1.1 million offer from the Mets and a $1.5 million offer from the Rangers, so evidently his price is higher as well.

Anonymous said...


I'm not sure it was the primary reason, to make Rod the Bod the only viable catcher still available, but AA is a clever little fellow and did much the same thing at shortstop when Boston was dithering over Scutaro. They could have lived with A Gon, then suddenly no longer had the option.

I don't see why there's a hate-on for this move. Buck has had injury issues in recent years, and if I'm going to have an all-defence catcher as the everyday starter, I'd much prefer to have Molina than Chavez.

And Molina has always been great at throwing out baserunners, which might be an issue with a pack of kids starting.


Anonymous said...

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