2008 Offseason: The Texas catchers

Much has been made of the catching surplus of the Texas Rangers this offseason, and they have announced that they are open to dealing one of them this offseason in return for a package centered around a top-of-the-rotation pitching prospect. This is quite understandable, given the lack of catching talent around the League and the Rangers’ constant lack of pitching. In the context of the Red Sox, we are likely talking about dealing one of Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson or Michael Bowden. Let’s take a closer look at these trade candidates to see what we have here:

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Trade rumors: Tavarez, Aardsma, Lopez, Lugo

ESPN’s Jayson Stark has some Red Sox rumors:

The State of the Sox 2008

I thought as we start to head into the 2008 season, it’d be nice to get a “big picture” overview of the club, to see where we’re headed not only this season, but in the near future. This is a chance to see up the pipeline a little bit, and anticipate what the Sox may be facing in future offseasons. Here’s a look at the depth charts at each position, and a short discussion of our strengths and weaknesses; the current state of the Sox.

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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.