After declining their 2010 option for Miguel Olivo, the Royals are searching for a catcher according to Bob Dutton of The KC Star. Dutton mentions that it would be best for the team to fill their hole behind the plate prior to December 12th, allowing them to non-tender the incumbent John Buck.
“We led all of baseball (last season) in passed balls and wild pitches,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “That will be fixed in 2010. Our defense in general is our main objective to fix before next season.
“And it starts behind the plate.”
The team has indicated that they aren't ready to hand the starting job over to Brayan Pena, even though he made "significant defensive strides last season."
Dutton mentions one interesting rumor to watch, a "deal sending second baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher A.J. Ellis." Callaspo, who hit .300/.356/.457 in 2009, would help fill the Dodgers' second base vacancy, while the 28-year-old Ellis would give KC a defensive standout behind the plate. Ellis also has a career .398 OBP in the minors, with more walks than strikeouts in nearly 1,800 plate appearances.
Even though there are plenty of catching options in free agency, Moore acknowledged that his team prefers to improve their club through trades.
“Our free-agent pursuit will not be as aggressive as in the past,” he said. “We’re going to focus on trades first. We’re going to exhaust every opportunity to make trades.
“In the previous two offseasons, we’ve been more likely to pop a free agent or two early on. I look for us to exhaust every possible trade scenario this offseason before we enter into the free-agent market.”
Tim previewed the trade market for catchers back in October. See any fits?