The latest edition of the Getting Blanked podcast finds old reliable Andrew Stoeten joining me in studio to talk about awards, free agency and the bizarre catching market this offseason.
The catching market is extremely interesting this winter, thanks to the potential addition of Matt Wieters. The Orioles and their stud catcher remain unable to reach an agreement on a multi-year deal, despite “discussing” extension seemingly every year.
Between Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Carlos Ruiz, and A.J. Pierzynski (to name a few), teams in need of a quick fix or a longterm solution can find something to their liking on the free agent market. With arbitration-eligible names likes Wieters and J.P. Arencibia floating around the trade market, there is an opportunity to upgrade for those willing to pay the price.
Joe Mauer‘s move out from behind the plate highlights the incredible risks associated with catching – and the pitfalls of paying top dollar for a player who could go down at any time.
As the bar slips lower and lower for acceptable catcher performance, we should take time to recognize just how great and rare Buster Posey and Joe Mauer really are. To catch so much and hit at such a high level is a real achievement. The pounding on all parts of the body – knees, back, hands, and let’s not forget the concussion risks — makes the already-difficult task of hitting big league pitching that much more challenging.
This offseason should reveal just how highly teams value the scarcest of commodities – an everyday catcher that isn’t a black hole at the plate. The price teams in need will pay might just surprise us all.
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