Red Sox Roundtable: Who's our catcher?

Out of all the catchers that may be available through trade or free agency, which player do you want starting for the Sox and why?

A spin through the Red Sox blogosphere, as Sox bloggers weigh in:

Out of all the catchers that may be available through trade or free agency, which player do you want starting for the Sox and why?

“The popular names are Varitek. Saltalamacchia. Teagarden. But there are a plethora of other catchers available. Miguel Montero. Chris Iannetta. Chris Snyder. Yeah, I’d love to get Salty — everyone wants the sexy name, but I’m going to go with Chris Snyder. He’s had a good season and he’s proven. He’s going to be 28 and is arbitration eligible. The Diamondbacks are reportedly having money problems, so Snyder may be gettable. I’m concerned with his career .238 batting average, but he had a .348 OBP and .452 SLG last year.” — Evan, Fire Brand

“I would love the Red Sox to get Taylor Teagarden; he has great potential to be the catcher of the future. Right now he can produce as much or better than Tek did last season and I can see him being an All-Star in 3 years. Boston needs to get some pop in the second half of the order and Teagarden can be that guy, he hit 6 taters during his short (16 game) time in the bigs in ’08. I love what Tek did for the team but it is time to move on, maybe Boras can find some team willing to sign him for 4 years but the Sox need to get some youth behind the dish.” — Matt O’Donnell, Fenway West

“In a perfect world, I’d probably go with Teagarden, as he’s the most well rounded of the young options. But as he’s hit about his true level of ability, much like Ellsbury in ’07, the cost there would be prohibitive. Given that he seems to be Texas’ first choice for the position, I’d kick the tires on Salty to see if there was an opportunity to buy low. It might be worth checking on Shoppach, but I’d be surprised if Cleveland would let him go for fair value. Ultimately, it might be necessary to tread water for a year or two with a Laird, assuming he can be acquired at minimal cost. Whichever option we pursue, however, I keep Buchholz off the table, and leave Bowden on it (at least for a Salty/Teagarden). But that’s just me.” — Stephen O’Grady, wicked clevah

“I would love for the Sox to somehow keep Jason Varitek for another 2 years or so, but also pick up Taylor Teagarden. Teagarden seems more like an all-around catcher compared to Saltalamacchia, but both of them probably have sky-high prices because Texas knows how bad the catcher situation is in the MLB right now. I still think Teagarden might be worth it, assuming they don’t ask for something ridiculous like Clay Buchholz AND Michael Bowden. I think it’s a big enough need for the Red Sox that I wouldn’t mind parting with someone like Daniel Bard.” — Michael Christopher, Sox Addict

“In a perfect world, I’d like to see the Sox end up with a Salty-’Tek platoon. Say, Salty catching two nights for every three that Varitek does. It’d keep ‘Tek more fresh for the second half of the season and give Saltalamacchia a chance to learn the ropes. If Varitek isn’t willing to re-sign for one or two years, then it’s probably time to consider Pudge or Molina.” Dan, Red Sox Monster

“My first choice is to re-sign Tek. We all know what he brings to the table and the Sox have the means to add production elswhere, making his .220 BA hurt less. That I said, I like the Texas catchers, specifically Salty and Teagarden (they’re talented and the nicknames are abundant!) I hate to sacrafice a guy like Bowden or Buchholz, but if Tek walks, I don’t like the idea of Cash and Dusty Brown as the catching tandem, so they’ll have to make a move… catchers tend to develop late – maybe Kottaras could be the guy in another year or two, but not right now.
I wish we never traded Shoppach away… He’s clicking at just the right time – for the Indians. It’d be a long shot, but getting him back would be a nice move also.” Rob — The Bottom Line

Categories: Chris Snyder Jarrod Saltalamacchia Jason Varitek Quick Post Taylor Teagarden

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

26 Responses to “Red Sox Roundtable: Who's our catcher?” Subscribe

  1. gerry November 14, 2008 at 2:19 PM #

    Well considered. I agree with Rob that if Boras let's us keep Tek, we would be fine; and he would probably make a great coach and manager down the road.
    While Brown and Kottaras helped lead the Pawsox to the playoffs, and have caught most of the Fenway and Pawtucket rotation and pen, including Wake & Zink, and as they are both good hitters who could augment Tek's bat, they could also work with Tek this year . . . or be local-knowledge backups for Molina, Pudge or Zaun until the young catcher market straightens out.
    Also, it sounds like we could get Shoppach back for a package with one or two of Delcarmen, Jones or Bard in it; preserving Masterson, Buchholz and Bowden who wlll be much needed. With the 2009 health and depth issues of Sox pitching, trading any of them will hurt us more than help.

  2. Larry Bo Sox November 14, 2008 at 4:33 PM #

    Has anyone ever heard of anyone giving any thought to trying Youk behind the plate? He has the build, work ethic, fielding ability, arm and persona to be a catcher. Would make a great understudy for Tek. Would solve a lot of problems and make plenty of room for Texeira, especially if Lowell comes back to finish his contract. If noi, getting a third baseman shouldn't be too hard. LBS

  3. M.A.G November 14, 2008 at 4:34 PM #

    I cannot believe somebody really thinks about re-signing Varitek. He is, by far, the worst possible option. He only have sentimental value and nothing else. He hit 220 for crying out loud. And this is only gonna get worse, because he has lost all his bat speed. That's the production of a backup catcher, and not even a good one. We can sign a better backup catcher for much less money. So I don't understand the people who complain about throwing money in CC, and want to throw money in the garbage for Tek. Any other option in the market will be a better choice.
    And the "intangibles" argument is getting ridiculous. Even his game-calling ability has been exagerated. Evidently the Phillies have called much better games against the Rays.
    I'm gratefull with Tek for the past, the same way I'm grateful with Yastremsky. But I don't wanna put Yaz back in the field either. Every player has to go eventually, and the time has come for the captain. The fact he has choose Boras for his agent, and let him make the most ridiculous demands, only makes it easier.

  4. M.A.G November 14, 2008 at 5:01 PM #

    Teagarden is the safer option from Texas, because his catching is more advanced than Salty's. But he is older, has much less upside, and looks a little injury-prone for what I have read.
    So, my first option is Saltalamacchia. His catching abilities are a little raw, but he has only 23 so IMO he only can get better. Catchers develop slower, so a guy who already has the abilities of Salty at his age is very promising. With consistent time behind the plate, and a little patience, he still has the oportunity of become a more than capable defensive catcher. And ofensively the kid has a very high ceiling. He can be a truly special player.
    I admit there are other interesting names worth exploring: Montero, Ianeta, Clement, Shoppach. But my first option is still Salty.

  5. M.A.G November 14, 2008 at 5:09 PM #

    By the way, Evan, do you really think we have a chance with Chris Snyder? For what I have seen, Arizona don't have any intention of letting him go. They want to trade Montero.

  6. M.A.G November 14, 2008 at 5:52 PM #

    One more thing about Varitek: We have to let him go to get draft picks. The only good thing he can make for the team right now.

  7. Evan November 14, 2008 at 6:11 PM #

    MAG, Zona is in a money crunch and Snyder's hitting arbitration. Plus, read this.

  8. Peter N November 15, 2008 at 1:41 AM #

    Evan , it's Peter…glad to be back! I know that was a little off-topic but I wanted to tell you I'm adding your new URL to my link list. Have a great weekend…quite an offer to Sabathia, wasn't it? I don't think Lowe could help us, by the way.

  9. Peter N November 15, 2008 at 1:50 AM #

    It'll be tough to see Jason go, but the money Boras(s) is asking is ludricrous.

  10. M.A.G November 15, 2008 at 3:35 AM #

    Chris Snyder is another interesting option. I wonder how much is gonna cost us? It seems they are gonna ask for a major league ready infielder. That means Lowrie, plus a couple of bullpen arms.

  11. Gerry November 15, 2008 at 7:32 AM #

    No on rookie Lowrie. Pawsox MVP Joe Thurston is major league ready and is blocked. No on rookie Monsterson.
    If not Tek, pick up Pudge and bring Brown or Kottaras up, or rotate them through (we are very close to having a Texas type catcher surplus with 4 good long term options in the farm). We are not desperate, even if Tek leaves. Texas will soon enough be coming to us to please take one of their catchers, which we can then do on our terms. In fact, I think we can do that now.

  12. M.A.G November 15, 2008 at 8:43 AM #

    Gerry, we don't have any catching surplus at all. In fact we have only one catching prospect with upside: Exposito, and even he has only one good year and is not even in AA yet. Brown and Kottaras are never going to be more than backups and Wagner is nothing to be excited about either. Our situation is completely different than Texas. Every team has catchers, but is another thing to have GOOD catchers. Without a doubt, the weakest position of our entire farm sytem is catcher.
    Putting our hopes in Kottaras or Brown is like putting our hopes in Zinc and Pauley. They have had some succes in the minors too, but we all know what to expect of them: nothing. So, how many catching prospects do we really have? Just one, and for the distant future. And, if Exposito don't develop, ZERO.

  13. M.A.G November 15, 2008 at 8:56 AM #

    Just an idea: if we trade Lowrie for Snyder, we could make a move on JJ Hardy for filling the hole. So, we lose Lowrie and Buchholz (and some more) for Snyder and Hardy. A long shot for sure, but it sounds good to me.

  14. M.A.G November 15, 2008 at 9:26 AM #

    So, assuming we can pull this off, the 2009 could look like:
    Lineup.
    C: Chris Snyder
    1B: Youk (Lars in the future)
    2B: Pedroia
    3B: Lowell (Youk in the future)
    SS: JJ Hardy
    LF: Bay
    CF: Ellsbury
    RF: Drew
    Rotation.
    1: Beckett
    2: Lester
    3: Matsuzaka
    4: Wakefield (Bowden/Tazawa)
    5: (Penny/Kawakami/ another FA)
    I will be the first to admit there is a lot of "IF" with this plan. But this team looks very powerfull.

  15. Gerry November 15, 2008 at 12:59 PM #

    Mag, I agree that at least at this point in their development (catchers develop late, right?) that both Kottaras and Brown are suitable as backups, and that is what I was talking about . . . whether backing Tek or, say, Pudge. They would be good backups, can catch Wake and Zink, and have caught most of the Red Sox and PawSox rotation and pen successfully, guided the PawSox to the playoffs, and can hit, and hit with power. And if Wagner or Exposito live up to projections, they could be available sooner than later.
    My point is, while we need to address catching, our backs are not against the wall, and can do so quite well with either Tek, or with a Pudge type FA for a year or so, and not sacrifice our young. I would rather have Pudge or Tek behind the plate with bats augmented by Kottaras or Brown than, say, journeyman pitchers in July because a couple of starters inevitably get hurt and we let Buchholz, Bowden or Masterson go.
    That said, if we can, we should find other ways to get Salty or Kelly, sign Sheets or Lowe or Penny, sign Kawakami and Tazawa . . . and if the Angels don't get Teix, sign him too to keep him away from the Yankees.

  16. M.A.G November 15, 2008 at 1:45 PM #

    Absolutely not to Teixeira. That's a complete waste of money for a team which better prospect is a first baseman. Teixeira is a marginal upgrade right now, and a horrible decision in the near future, when Lars is almost ready. The smart way of managing a team is upgrading your weaknesses, not your strenghts.
    And, Gerry, for the way you defend pitching depth, I don't understand how you want to throw money in Teixeira. Every dollar should be spent on pitching. And that gives you the flexibility to trade for TRULY valuable players.

  17. JaredK November 15, 2008 at 2:55 PM #

    MAG, I am with you on JJ Hardy. I was advocating a Bowden/MDC/Lowrie for JJ Hardy and Mat Gamel package earlier. Lowrie can play short for a year until their top prospect Alcides Escobar is ready and MDC helps a terrible bullpen and regarding Bowden, they have lots of questions after Gallardo in the rotation. Lowrie could be moved to second to replace Weeks once Escobar is ready and Weeks could possibly move to center to replace Cameron after 2009 or be traded.
    Hardy would give us a .800+ ops short stop who is just entering his prime and a top end bat and near mlb ready prospect in Mat Gamel who may be able to make it at third but may ultimately be a corner outfielder (he's athletic and has a great arm). Gamel had nearly a 1.100 ops un until late july as a 22 y/o in double a before struggling the last two months (finger injury and losing Laporta in the line-up). I like the idea of having a great bat in case of a long-term injury regarding Lowell, Papi, Drew or Bay….even if the defense suffers a bit. While I still like the idea the only concern I have is that Hardy had one of the worst zone ratings for short-stops (.817). Oddly, Lowrie's was over .90 and to the naked eye I would swear that Lowrie's range at short was pretty weak…while Hardy seems to be making Sportscenter highlights with regularity, Either way I would still be in favor of a deal like that, although we lose some chips to get a catcher.
    I am also not in favor of Texeira, bottom line is that we had the best first baseman in the AL last year and the best 1b prospect in the minor leagues. While Youk obviously has the versatility to pay 3B, we are stuck with Lowell given his below market deal and I believe he has a no-trade protection. Moving a great club-house presence with no-trade protection coming off a hip injury at his age is not going to happen.
    Back to the catcher position, while Texas has a surplus of catchers I wonder if Seattle would give up Clement for less since Texas wants MLB ready pitching. They have Johjima for two more years and while he sucked they seem to be taking the long-term approach to rebuilding now that Bavasi is gone. Maybe we could cash in tomorrow for today and move Exposito (who could be nearly ready in 2 years) with some combo of Lin, Reddick, Pimentel, Kalish, etc (in the unlikely scenario the above trade happens). Probably not, but the point is Seattle is stuck with Johjima and he has to be better at the plate then he was last year…which was an unfathomable drop-off even for a 32 year old catcher.

  18. Evan November 15, 2008 at 3:07 PM #

    The JJ Hardy idea is great, and it wouldn't surprise me if Theo swung that.

  19. Sam K November 15, 2008 at 7:21 PM #

    Snyder is a good defender, but he has mediocre offensive numbers, and let me remind you that Arizona is a great hitter's park — a better hitter's park than Coors, in 2008, and second only to Arlington in all of baseball.
    Hardy is a nice idea, but I'd rather save ourselves all this trouble: sign a FA pitcher and move one of the youngsters to get a catcher who's actually worth having.

  20. M.A.G November 15, 2008 at 8:08 PM #

    Good points JAREDK, and I remember you suggest the idea of Hardy and Gamel. Certainly, Hardy makes a lot of sense, and complements the trade for a catcher beautifully. Let's not forgett Lowrie can be a good chip to make a package (with a couple of bullpen arms) for Snyder, Montero, or Shoppach. And then we can use Buchholz to make a package for Hardy. The Brewers has just lost Sabathia and Sheets, so they will be interested in a pitcher with Ace potential.
    I love the idea. We can upgrade the two weakest positions of our lineup, and take our offense to a whole new level.

  21. Gerry November 15, 2008 at 9:39 PM #

    The Sox farm systems is developing a reputation for putting top talent in their roster, like the, ahem, Rays.
    Youk, Pedroia, Papelbon, Lester are are already baseball legends. MDC, Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie, Buchholz, Bowden have shown their high sides, and their promise is remarkable. Hanley Ramirez, Kelly Shoppach and perhaps Dave Murphy are examples of mistakes that were great ideas at the time.
    Jared, you mentioned Jed's range, which improves with experience. Zero errors. You saw him hit and carry the team as a young rookie, until his fracture and sprain slowed him down. We know that Buchhoz, Bowden and Masterson will be good to great, and that our 2009 pitching depth of just 6 starters is shallower than a sand bar.
    I'll stick with Lowrie, and keep that shallow, young gun pitching depth, and build off it. The catching market is so rich with talent, we need not trade away the kids to resolve the issue.
    Healthy or injured, we already have the best lineup in baseball, offense and defense. Keep it intact. We need pitching. We need help. We have money. Sign FA's to augment, not supplant these kids. Be creative. Wasn't it Lester, Ellsbury and Masterson for Santana? A good idea at the time.

  22. M.A.G November 16, 2008 at 9:39 AM #

    SAM K, regarding Snyder and the Arizona's Park factor, I have recolected this splits:
    Home: .237 AVG .358 OBP .441 SLG .799 OPS
    Away: .236 AVG .340 OBP .462 SLG .801 OPS
    So, Snyder's numbers are not inflated for the Arizona's Park factor at all. In fact, he has a higher SLG and OPS away. On the other hand, clearly the guy knows how to walk.
    Besides this, he beggan the season slow, but the second half he hit for .292 AVG and .503 SLG. So, I think he is a better hitter than many thinks.

  23. M.A.G November 16, 2008 at 5:52 PM #

    Well, I take the second half numbers of a page called Scout.com, and here's the link: http://diamondbacks.scout.com/2/731634.html
    The page looked reliable, but if the information is incorrect, I apologize in advance.

  24. Sam K November 16, 2008 at 7:30 PM #

    His 3-year splits do show a slight increase at home (.794 OPS compared to .775 on the road).
    Also, I’m not sure where you’re getting those second half numbers, but according to ESPN.com, his post-ASB numbers are .224/.360. He slugged .469 for an OPS .829.
    He would be an upgrade over Varitek, but I’d rather get someone who could be truly good.

  25. Sam K November 17, 2008 at 3:18 AM #

    Hardly your fault, but I would assume ESPN's stats to be correct.

  26. Brenda November 17, 2008 at 10:38 PM #

    Just a thought on Tek….I think that It would be great to bring him back for a two year deal and bring Salty or Tea on board to learn from his experience. Both would love the opportunity and that way he could be the catcher to groom his replacement. The market is thin for young catchers, but both these young men have terrific potential. Tek's guidance would be a tremendous influence on these young talents.