Mariners options at Catcher
In a club such as the Mariners who have chosen the strategy of the dominant pitcher, the catcher becomes critical to the defensive efforts of the game. Miguel Olivo has the right approach to the game to actually make young pitchers better. Miggy, playing in only 130 games, led the club in both RBIs (62) as well as Home Runs (19).
(If you are not shaking your head at that, you should be) However he was beat into the ground as the team really did not have a decent back up option. Adam Moore appeared in only two games in 2011 before having a season ending knee injury.
Beyond that, the Mariners don’t have much depth at catcher past Josh Bard and Chris Gimenez – neither of which are a long term solution in the position. So look for Seattle to look outside the organization to bring someone in to share the load with Olivo. Here are some potential pickups.
Molina is considered to be the top defensive catcher in the National League with an ever-increasing presence with the bat as well. He is just finishing up a four year, $15.5 million contract with the Cardinals. A move to Seattle would be exciting and undoubtedly move Olivo into a backup role. With his appearance in the post season this year, Molina’s value may be inflated, but at 28 years old he could have another ten years left in his career.
Molina could be a worthwhile investment for a club that needs vets.
Currently with Pittsburgh, Doumit is coming up for free agency, and while he wouldn’t be as sexy an upgrade as Molina, he could be a solid back up to Miggy as well as having the option of the versatility of relative comfort at first base and in the outfield. Coming from Moses Lake, Washington it would be great to see him make a homecoming to Seattle.
Seeing as the free agent market is slim, the Mariners may look for a trade to solve the catcher issue. Cleveland’s Carlos Santana is a switch hitter who hit .239 with 27 Home runs, 79 RBIs, and heck, he even stole 5 bases. So why would the Indians want to trade him? In a word, defense. The Indians have indicated that they have been frustrated with Santana in certain situations. Under the tutelage of Olivo, many of these problems could be solved in Seattle and set him up to be a long term solution. The only question then is what would the Mariners have to give up.
Knowing Jack Z and his love for prospect this list of potential catchers wouldn’t be complete without a minor league option. Austin Romine is considered by some to be the best overall catching option in the Yankee’s farm system. So why would they give him up?
Because of Jesus Montero and Gary Sanchez, both of whom have slightly high expectations offensively stand in his way to the big league club.
The Yankees, desperate for pitching, may be willing to deal with the Mariners for number six rated catcher in all of the minor leagues.