Trading a catcher this offseason won't be easy, because there are plenty of free agents and many teams are going young. We analyzed the free agent catching market here; now it's time to consider the trade market.
MLBTR broke the news last week that the non-tender deadline was moved up ten days, to December 2nd. The non-tender candidates mentioned here – including Russell Martin, Ronny Paulino, Mike Napoli, Jeff Mathis, and Dioner Navarro – will presumably be shopped in advance of that date – before the Winter Meetings. Of course, non-tender rumors can kill a player's trade market, as we saw with Kelly Johnson and Matt Capps last winter.
Catchers Under Contract
Three catchers under multiyear extensions may be trade candidates: Ryan Doumit, Chris Iannetta, and Kelly Shoppach. Doumit, owed $5.6MM for one year, would be a salary dump on the Pirates' part. They seem likely to move him somehow. Iannetta, owed $6.1MM over two years, had a lost season after the Rockies signed Miguel Olivo. If Olivo is re-signed for 2011, the Rockies might want to trade Iannetta before his stock drops further. Shoppach is owed $3MM next year and has a club option for '12. If the Rays have faith in the strong play of John Jaso, they could trade Shoppach and find a cheaper backup. Shoppach missed significant time due to knee surgery this year, however.
The trade market for catchers offers no stars. Instead you'll find bounceback candidates and useful but overpaid players. Offensive-minded clubs should look to the trade market, with Doumit, Napoli, and Iannetta possibly available.