Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thinking About 2013 : The Catching Situation

As we all know Russell Martin will be a free agent after the 2012 season, thankfully not signing the extension this past off season, and so will backup Chris Stewart. That only leaves the Yankees with long time back up and fist pumper Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine, who missed most of the 2012 season with a back injury. What should the Yankees do to shore up, or stop gap for guys like Gary Sanchez, the catching situation for next season? One guy comes to mind when I looked at the 2013 Free Agents from MLB Trade Rumors, Mike Napoli.

Napoli is not going to bat .300, he is not going to be Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate and controlling the running game, but he will be a definite improvement over what we have had the last couple of seasons. Napoli is a power hitting catcher that is currently playing for the Texas Rangers and has played for them the last two seasons. Napoli strikes out a little more then you would like to see but also has a nice on base percentage to even it out. That is just the beginning of what Napoli could bring to this team.

Napoli, like I said, is in his second season with the Texas Rangers so he has post season, pennant chase, and World Series experience which is always a plus in New York. You do not hear about Napoli being a trouble maker, a club house cancer, or anything like that so I consider that another plus to the Yankees. Mike Napoli is also easily considered the best available catcher, unless the Braves somehow have a computer glitch and click DECLINE when asked to pick up the option on Brian McCann, and the Yankees love to get the big names.

While both Napoli and Russell Martin are both hitting around .200 the similarities pretty much stop there. Napoli's OBP is usually around .120 points higher then his batting average and has a mid .400 SLG% year in and year out.In 2014 Napoli will be two years removed from a 30 home run season while Russell has never had a 20 home run season in his career. Napoli is having a considerable "down" season this year and still has a 20 point higher wRC+ at 106 so this kind of seems like a no brainer to me. Napoli also has less errors then Russell Martin, although he is no defensive catcher by any means, and also has some experience at 1B which could come in handy to give Teixeira days off.

The downside of Napoli will be that there are not a ton of power hitting catchers so the market should be pretty high for Mike. Not to mention that this will be his first year of free agency so he will probably want a multi year deal. This season Mike Napoli signed a 1 year,$9.4 million deal to avoid arbitration and stay with the team so expect a, and I say this loosely, significant raise on that. Is he going to command $15 million a season? Doubtful but I do not see him taking an AAV of less then $12 million in my opinion. This should be considered by the Yankees brass and the Yankees fans alike because this, assuming the money is right, makes too much sense NOT to do.

Plus his girlfriend would be a very welcomed addition to the wives and girlfriends section...


  1. I know he doesn't fit in the budget, but Joe Mauer sure would look good in Pinstripes...maybe I'm just GREEDY...

    1. Well I am greedy to and if you look back at past posts I actually advocated for us getting Mauer when he cleared waivers. Corner outfielders are a hell of a lot easier, and cheaper, to find that are still productive then offensive minded (and not at the same time defensively lost) catchers.

    2. In general that's true, but you're leaving out key points that change things dramatically...

      1. People such as myself are not interested in just any corner outfielder, we're interested in a young corner outfielder (or CF, actually) that could hit in the middle of the order. Those don't come cheap at all, and are hard to come by. In fact, chances are that we could only acquire such a player through trade... which is hardly cheap and easy.

      2. Good catchers, especially for a team that doesn't need one to hit in the middle of the order, are fairly easy to find and inexpensive. Defense doesn't cost a lot, and that's all the Yankees really need out of that position, thanks to having so much other firepower elsewhere. I don't see where the team needs and offensive minded catcher at all. Hell, Martin hit below .200 most of the season and they should win the division. And if you're going to blame that sub-.200 hitting for the Yankees woes in the 2nd half then I have to vehemently disagree. The losses of Teixeira, ARod, Pettitte, and even Pineda hurt more. I'd say Cano's issues lately are tougher on the team as well.

    3. I mentioned corner outfield and not center field particularly because it is not out of the realm of reality to move Gardner back to center field. That would give us the speed we need and we could look for more power and such at the corners. I am not entirely sold that we need a Justin Upton type hitting in the middle of the order as we have gotten by just fine with Swisher and Granderson lately but then again I would not be against it if the price were right.

      Joe Mauer is one of those special cases because he is far from a slouch behind the plate, especially for a big guy. He is, in my eyes anyway, the closest thing to an all around catcher besides Yadier Molina. In no way am I, or would I, blame Martin for anything to do with the losses in the second half because (as im sure you know) I am perfectly fine with a defensive first catcher. To reiterate though I believe that Mauer could give us the same defense as Martin and the same offense as Posada did... and THAT is harder to find then young corner outfield middle of the order type hitting.

  2. Give me a defense-first catcher over an offense-first catcher. The Yankees have proven they can win without a catcher whose bat is better than his glove.

    If they wanted a catcher that is of the hit-first variety, then they would have kept Montero.

    1. I know I pretty much summed this up in the other response but Montero was let go because of his defense, something no one is saying about Joe Mauer. Also Montero was swapped for a young power pitcher who has had success in the majors and 5 years of team control left... and I think that had more to do with it then Montero's lack of defense but I could not say that for sure.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)