Free Agent Market: Catchers

Today let's take a look at the free agent market for catchers.  As usual, plenty of backups will be eligible for free agency after the season.  As far as those who have been used as starters in recent years, we have Rod Barajas, Josh Bard, Ramon Hernandez, Jason Kendall, Bengie Molina, Miguel Olivo, Ivan Rodriguez, Brian Schneider, Yorvit Torrealba, Jason Varitek, and Gregg Zaun.  It's safe to assume Boston will exercise Victor Martinez's $7.7MM club option for 2010.

  • Looking for OBP?  Zaun is your best bet at .355 this year.  After that you get to Kendall, Hernandez, and Varitek in the .330 range.
  • Power?  Olivo is slugging .467, though his OBP is just .276.  Bengie Molina and Barajas have similar numbers.
  • Durability?  Bengie Molina's played 114 games this year (though he's hurting currently), Kendall 112.
  • Olivo (31), Bard (32), and Torrealba (31) are the youngest free agent catchers.
  • In shutting down the running game, Pudge leads with a 32.7% caught stealing rate.  Barajas is next at a 29%.  Bengie Molina leads in volume with 23 runners cut down.  Ramon Castro and Henry Blanco have strong rates in limited playing time.
  • Zero passed balls for Varitek, with Kendall and Bengie Molina allowing only three.
  • Here's an interesting attempt to measure catcher defense that puts Pudge at the top of the free agent list.  And in The Fielding Bible II, John Dewan's top defensive catchers who are also free agents are Jose Molina, Kendall, Barajas, Bengie Molina, and Pudge in that order.
  • Possible free agent compensation: Varitek, Pudge, Barajas, Olivo, Hernandez, Kendall, and Schneider project as Type Bs (Varitek, Olivo, and Hernandez have options).  Aside from V-Mart, Bengie Molina projects as the lone Type A.  He earned $6MM this year.

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