The Padres view Nick Hundley as their starting catcher of the future, and Yorvit Torrealba isn't looking to take a diminshed role or salary. While the 32-year-old had already declined his side of a $3.5MM mutual option, he further confirmed his bachelorhood in a phone interview with Carlos Alberto Gonzalez of Lider en Deportes (link in Spanish) yesterday, saying:
"It's not very likely that I'll continue with the Padres, because they want to reduce payroll and they're offering me much less than I had hoped; in fact, they want to give me less than I made this year."
And it's not just his own case that soured Torrealba on the Padres. He also questioned the team's approach to its star players, saying, "It seems like they want to get rid of Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell." In the short term, Torrealba said his agent will be at the winter meetings this week trying to wrangle a two-year deal, preferably from a National League team. His former team the Rockies are the only NL team he noted as having called him thus far, while from the American League he has received queries from the Mariners, Rangers, and Red Sox.
In platoon duty with the Rockies and Padres over the last two years, Torrealba has shown he can still get on base at around a .350 clip and respectably control the running game. He threw out 37% of would-be base stealers last season in just under 800 innings, his best marks in both categories since 2007 and 2006, respectively. Torrealba generally shows more power against right-handed pitching, but his OBP has actually been higher against left-handers in three of the last four seasons, and his .698 OPS against lefties this season was higher than a number of higher-profile regulars, including fellow free agent A.J. Pierzynski.
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes sees Torrealba taking over first-string catching duties from Russell Martin in Los Angeles, though a reuinion of the Torrealba/Chris Iannetta platoon that put the Rockies near the top in catcher OPS leaguewide in 2008 and 2009 could also be interesting. However, if the catcher has his eyes on something closer to a full-time role than he had in San Diego, one of the AL squads he mentioned could be his best bet. On the Padres' side, they have one more week to offer Torrealba arbitration and potentially earn another draft pick if the catcher—who is a type B free agent—follows through and signs elsewhere.