Mirabelli to be back

I was hoping that this would be the year, but it appears that the Sox aren’t ready to move on from Doug Mirabelli quite yet. The 37-year old catcher is said to be signing a guaranteed contract worth at least $550k plus incentives. Together with Jason Varitek, the Red Sox will feature the oldest catching tandem in the Majors.

I know there’s a real comfort factor with him catching Tim Wakefield, but COME ON! Mirabelli’s batting runs above replacement have been negative for two full years, and his OPS+ numbers have been 52 and 63 the past two seasons, meaning he is about 40-50% worse than the average big league hitter. He just doesn’t have anything to offer besides catching the knuckleball, and he had six passed balls in 2007 and 11 in 2006, BTW. Are Dusty Brown and George Kottaras really more of a wasted roster spot than Mirabelli at this point?

This catching situation is getting to be a real concern, because Tek’s contract is up after this season. There’s been talk about extending him for two more years, but how long can they stick with this duo without grooming a replacement for Varitek?

MLB Trade Rumors points out that Kenji Johjima is likely to hit the free agent market after 2008, with uber-prospect Jeff Clement rising through the ranks in Seattle, and having a Japanese-speaking catcher could potentially help Daisuke Matsuzaka.


5 Responses to Mirabelli to be back

  1. FireDannyAinge says:

    I am just going to repost this for all the Mirabelli haters out there. Making it easier on myself.

    Mirabelli might be a bad hitter but he has come up big in some games for us AND you are over looking his catching ability, his play calling and the edge he gives to old man Wakefield who for some reason we insist on keeping.
    Check out Wakefield’s record the last few years without Mirabelli behind the plate.

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Okay, let me get this straight. Your arguments for keeping him are:

    1) He’s come up with some big hits in the past.
    2) He can catch a knuckleball, and works well with the staff.

    We all know that the Sox don’t believe in paying based on past performance, and I’d argue that he’s not a great deal better at catching the knuckler than other catchers could learn to. Those passed balls came in very limited catching duty.

    Look, I don’t hate the guy (he’s actually a great guy in person), but I think he has outlived his usefulness to the Red Sox. He should be willing to step aside for the good of the team. I think a better-hitting replacement could be found to catch Wake every fifth day and spell Tek from time to time.

  3. FireDannyAinge says:

    My argument for keeping him is Tim Wakefields record without him being the catcher. If we insist on keeping the old man he needs his catcher.

    Him being a goof guy means he shouldn’t except a contract someone offered him? Sorry that makes little sense to me.

  4. redsoxtalk says:

    Wakefield had a great 2007 for sure, but don’t forget that he’s had some bad seasons with Mirabelli behind the plate as well. I think Wake will be Wake, with or without Mirabelli catching.

    I’m not blaming Mirabelli for the contract, but the Sox front office. They should be ready to move on, and he should be willing to accept that fact of life.

  5. redsoxtalk says:

    Well, it’s basically a moot point now. They’ll start with ‘Belli and replace him if/when another catcher plays his way onto the 25-man roster. Typically conservative Francona/Epstein modus operandi. Oh well, it’s just money, right? :)

    BTW, the money on this deal is very reasonable; to his credit, Mirabelli took a huge pay cut to stay with the team.

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