I’m a little late to the party here as David Ross AKA “the best backup catcher in baseball” already signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox. This further thins a weak catcher free agent pool. Let’s see who’s available at backstop.
The Big Catch
No one probably wishes their free agency had come after the 2011 season rather than the 2012 season more than Mike Napoli. The power was still there with 24 homers, but the near 100 point drop in batting average cost him millions. He’s still the only catcher on the market with 30-homer potential. He would need to stay in the American League though, where he can DH and play some 1st base as he’s not the strongest defensive backstop. The Red Sox have shown some interest and he’d be an interesting tandem with the already signed David Ross. I do believe he’s moving on from Texas, where they traded for Geovany Soto at the deadline last season.
Is the Power Real? Tier
Two catchers where teams need to decide how real the numbers are. A.J. Pierzynski had arguably his best offensive season at age 36, taking home his first Silver Slugger award. I doubt that teams will trust his career-high 27 home runs, when he had 30 combined from 2009-11. He will be able to provide veteran leadership and calls a good game, just ask the great years from Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. On the other hand, how much are Russell Martin’s power numbers skewed by playing in the Bronx. He wasn’t hitting hit to the short, right field porch, but it’s still a hitter’s park. If he drops to 15 homers, is it worth it for a guy that hits .220-.230? I think he takes a pay cut from the $7.5 million he made in 2011.
The rest of the catching free agent class is full of backups. Kelly Shoppach is probably the best of the bunch of backups. Rod Barajas has some pop, Miguel Olivo’s batting average plummeted after leaving Colorado for Safeco Field. The less said about Dioner Navarro the better. That said, they’ll all find landing spots.
What catcher would you want your team to sign? If you root for an AL team, would you want Mike Napoli in the heart of the lineup? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes ( @IAmMapes)
The initial balloting for the 2012 All-Star Game was announced today and as usual the fans haven’t gotten it completely right. Luckily, there’s still time to fix this. Let’s band together and get some votes in for these players. I will heap some praise on the fans for having Albert Pujols 5th at American League 1st base.
Mark Teixiera over Paul Konerko
I can see the case for voting Prince Fielder into the #1 spot even though I think Paul Konerko should be in the top spot. Konerko isn’t even #2 though as Yankees 1st baseman Mark Teixeira has 26,000 more votes. It’s not like Konerko is playing in a small-market here. Konerko demolishes Teixeira in every single statistical category. Don’t let the Yankee fan base win this one.
Carlos Ruiz 4th at National League Catcher
I nearly spit out my drink when I saw this. Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, and Brian McCann are bigger names for sure, but Carlos Ruiz has been the best catcher in the game this season. Philadelphia fans need to band together and get Chooch some votes, it’s pretty embarassing. Ruiz would need to double his current votes to be in contention with Yadier Molina.
Adam Jones 5th at American League Outfield
I had Jones 3rd in the entire league in my “Too Early MLB Awards” at this point in the season. Jones is currently being hurt by the flood of Texas votes as he sits behind Nelson Cruz who has the last starter role and just ahead of David Murphy. ADAM JONES IS ONLY ONE SPOT AHEAD OF DAVID MURPHY, get on this Baltimore fans.
Carlos Gonzalez 13th and Giancarlo Stanton not in top 15 at National League Outfield
I don’t think either of these players will start or should start in the outfield, but where they’re currently placed is terrible. CarGo leads the NL in slugging percentage and has been on a tear. Stanton was the May Player of the Month for the Marlins, breaks scoreboards on grand slams and has continued to developed as a stud. Stanton isn’t even on the voting list. Jon Jay made the top 15! Jason Heyward is 7th! It doesn’t make sense. Braves fans if you’re going to vote, throw the support to Michael Bourn and Chipper Jones, not to Jason Heyward! Rockies and Marlins fans need to get out the vote for their outfield studs.
What’s your biggest All-Star vote transgression so far? I’m sure my fellow podcast host Jeremy Dorn is still searching the list for A.J. Ellis.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)