2010-2011 Offseason: The catcher gap

I have begun churning out my first projections for 2011, and here’s what I get for the catchers I can project:

Victor Martinez 464 15 76 0.289 0.359 0.458 0.366
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 259 7 32 0.242 0.320 0.388 0.321
Dusty Brown 218 5 28 0.243 0.321 0.380 0.321
Jason Varitek 340 11 41 0.222 0.310 0.380 0.314

I don’t think I need to comment here. The dropoff from Victor Martinez to anyone else is precipitous, and that’s putting it lightly. Not only is Jason Varitek not looking like an everyday option, he’s looking worse than our other backup options, so I really don’t expect the Sox to sign him out of sentimentality.

In case Martinez does leave, I think we will have to add another veteran catcher. We can’t depend on Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Dusty Brown to be our number one. Here are some of the free agent options you’ll hear about this offseason, translated to playing in the AL East and half their games at Fenway Park:

Mike Napoli 387 22 63 0.251 0.346 0.487 0.375
John Buck 349 12 52 0.244 0.307 0.424 0.328
A.J. Pierzynski 525 9 56 0.273 0.311 0.394 0.317
Rod Barajas 391 14 56 0.233 0.280 0.400 0.304
Gerald Laird 381 5 37 0.228 0.296 0.337 0.292

I hereby withdraw my nomination of Gerald Laird as a possibility. Mike Napoli, who could be trade bait, looks like an even better bat than Martinez thanks to his power, but he is known to be perhaps the worst defensive catcher in the Majors and he is also not an everyday option. Of the other names, John Buck looks to be the best fill-in, and he is only a Type B free agent, while A.J. Pierzynski is a Type A.

Now you see why Victor could pretty much name his price if he wanted to. If we lose him to free agency, we would be losing our 5th best bat, and any replacement would be pretty poor offensively (or a defensive disaster, in the case of Napoli). So if Martinez walks, we’re going to be needing a very strong bat to replace him in this lineup.


One Response to 2010-2011 Offseason: The catcher gap

  1. Pingback: Links 11-17-2010: Bullpen options, Sox cap offers to Beltre and Martinez, Justin Upton « Red Sox Talk

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