Poll: Top Free Agent Catcher

Assuming you consider Victor Martinez a part-time catcher, part-time first baseman, and part-time designated hitter, John Buck was the best free agent catcher available this offseason. He hit .281/.314/.489 with 20 homers for the Blue Jays last year, but he's since signed a hefty three-year deal with the Marlins. As always, the number of teams looking for a quality backstop far exceed the number that are actually available, but there's still a few out there.

Miguel Olivo is a lock for double-digit homers year in and year out, and the same can be said for Rod Barajas. Both have thrown out a high percentage of would-be base stealers historically. Yorvit Torrealba has a .346 OBP over the last two years, a mark just eight other catchers can top. Jason Varitek hit for a ton of power (.473 SLG) in limited action this year. Then there's A.J. Pierzynski. He's started no fewer than 124 games behind the plate in five of the last six years, and his .284 AVG since 2008 can be topped by only three other catchers.

The Dodgers, Rangers, and Padres are known to be seeking help behind the plate, and it's safe to assume that the Mariners and Red Sox will hunt for upgrades as well. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Yankees, Rockies, Mets, or Orioles tried to improve their backup catcher situation either.

Who is the best catcher still available on the free agent market?

Click here to vote, and here to see the results. Thanks in advance.

26 Responses to Poll: Top Free Agent Catcher Leave a Reply

  1. rockfordone 5 years ago

    AJ has fallen that far- He can’t throw anyone out and has no power anymore.

    • shysox 5 years ago

      This is a little bias, but AJ is still the best catcher on the market – no questions asked. He strikes out less than 70 times an year with regular playing time, Olivo would probably strike out 170+ times, no joke. He struck out 117 times in 394 at bats in 2010. Torrealba and Barajas would probably strike out about 100 times in a full season. The last 5 years, and his whole career, he’s put up better numbers than Olivo, Torrealba, and Barajas. But I’m only talking about AJ’s strikeouts because that’s one of his very strong points, not often you can you find a player that can strike out under 70 times in regular playing time. Other than his strikeouts, which is obviously not the best determining factor, AJ hit .300 only last year, and .284 the year before, sure he’s fallen to a .270 batting average but that shows you he’s capable of hitting for a high average, unlike Torrealba, Barajas, and Olivo. He’s averaged a .284 batting average every year he’s played, and as a White Sox fan, I don’t remember AJ taking a trip to the DL in his 6 year tenure. He’s very durable, however, the cons are that he doesn’t throw out a lot of runners, and he walks very little.

      Pierzynski: 2493 AB/703 hits/.282 batting average/50 HR/270 RBI
      Olivo: 2972 AB/501 hits/.254 batting average/81 HR/282 RBI
      Torrealba: 1293 AB/314 Hits/.243 batting average/30 HR/189 RBI
      Barajas: 1557 AB/375 hits/.241 batting average/62 HR/278 RBI

      • bbxxj 5 years ago

        I don’t care if AJ only strikes out 5 times a year if he has an OBP of .300 and isn’t hittin for power – he is still a bad offensive player. No matter how it’s spun, a sub .700 OPS is not good.

        • shysox 5 years ago

          He’s not a “bad” offensive player. He’s about average to below average at this moment. But he’s the best out of the 4 and certainly better than Torrealba.

          • jwsox 5 years ago

            average over all yes but to for a catcher you guys all need to stop thinking that all catchers hit like mauer, vmart, and posey…they dont.

      • rockfordone 5 years ago

        shysox -As a Sox fan, also, durability yes- Hitting no – Defense poor – power gone – My point is AJ would be a nice player at 3M but doesn’t strike as a guy who would be a good role player. Time to move on

        • jwsox 5 years ago

          which is why he is looked at as a quality stop gap type player…maybe a year or two untill the catcher in someones system is ready he is still a good ball player though

          • rockfordone 5 years ago

            JW -Sox aren’t a good team – go with Flowers and Castro. AJ at DH??? Need 1b, Power in of.

          • jwsox 5 years ago

            why exactly are the sox not a good team? based on last year? had to say when you have a second year player a a new position(im pretty sure he has never played) it was also his 3rd position in 2 years(2 position changes while adjusting to the bigs) They had a horrible injury to one of their top of the order pitchers. Had a new AL player in juan adjusting to the AL and quentin battling injuries and adjusting to playing the other side of the field. Also the team had to deal with ozzie’s mentalness in thinking that mark kotsay was better the thome.(considering kotsay and jones were supposed to split time at DH and jones had about 1/3rd the at bats kotsay had) then the jackson for dunn thing blew up in kennys face(fine considering jackson was great for the sox) and the manny thing was a little too late…They were not a great team last season yes(neither were the twins or anyone else not named the rangers, yankees, rays and giants) but they were for sure a good team

            and i never said anything about the whitesox bringing him back and never said anything close to him as a DH so im wondering where you got that

      • jwsox 5 years ago

        he also is one of the best at calling games he knows how to work with a vet and a young pitching staff, he is a gamer(some may call him a cheater) but the dude does what he can to win, he didnt steal 1st like so many people think he did a few years back it was a dropped 3rd strike people let it go….but many players and fans have said he is one of those guys you love to have on your team but hate playing against him. His avg did slip this season but check his average after the all star break pre all star break = .247/.288/.376 slash line(looking at catchers out there not horrible) post all star break =.299/.315/.403(very very good) heck his august and september slash lines are 333/.356/.464 and .342/.354/.461 those number are nuts.

      • I just realized how good Rod Barajas seems.

        Pierzynski: 2493 AB/703 hits/.282 batting average/50 HR/270 RBI
        Barajas: 1557 AB/375 hits/.241 batting average/62 HR/278 RBI

        I know RBI are largely lineup dependent, but AJ’s in a good lineup. Still, 12 more HR and 8 more RBI in 936 less plate appearances. Either Barajas is really good or AJ’s really bad.

  2. bbxxj 5 years ago

    Outside of Martinez obviously, I think Torrealba is the best FA catcher. His OBP allows him to help turn the lineup over much better than any of the other catchers who seem to trade in outs for home runs or hits in AJ case. If you are searching for a catcher in this situation you don’t (or shouldn’t) need a middle of the order power threat, just someone who isn’t an out machine and can keep the lineup going to your middle of the order.

  3. johnsilver 5 years ago

    There is no best catcher on that list and none are starters for sure. Boston may as just wait for varitek to find out nobody wants him to start and see if he will come back for 500K-1M as Beckett’s personal catcher and mentor Salty if martin gets non tendered if nobody else wants him or another catcher is not traded for after the 1st of the year.

    Having him for a coach would be a better choice however.

    • rockfordone 5 years ago

      u hit the nail on the head – the whole list are just back-ups. Time to look to the kids.

  4. HerbertAnchovy 5 years ago

    I’m not liking that everytime I answer a poll question now it goes to the Survey Monkey site.

    • Reign Delay 5 years ago

      Good call. At first I thought it was just an error but now I see it keeps happening.

    • That is an error on our part. But for polls like this we are going to do them so you don’t have to leave the site at all.

  5. Sox will sign Varitek for 1 yr/4mil.

    I know that it would never happen in 1,000 years but I’d like to see the Red Sox sign Crawford 7/140, and offer Rivera 3/60 and Jeter 3/75 just to see the drama play out from the Sox having stuck it to the Yanks .

    They could then turn around and trade Casey Kelly, Rizzo and pick any other two highly regarded prospects not named Iglesias or Ranaudo(sp?) for Adrian Gonzalez. Although I like the idea of holding the prospects and signing him in a year for large dollars as a FA.

    Either way you have a starting nine of:

    Ellsbury CF
    Pedroia 2B
    Crawford LF
    Gonzalez 1B
    Youkilis 3B
    Ortiz DH
    Jeter SS, Iglesias after 1 1/2 years and Jeter getting 3,000 hits in Sox laundry.
    Drew RF, Kalish in a year if he doesn’t get dealt in AG deal.
    Salty/Varitek C to bring the kid along and huge plus is he knows the staff.

    I would have Iglesias on the MLB roster for defensive purposes 2 of the last 3 years of the Jeter deal. Third year he may even be the starter.

    Starting 5 of Lester, Buch, Beckett, Lackey, Dice K

    Bullpen of Bard, Paps and Rivera, and since it’s not my money Downs 3/21.

    Theo, your free to use my plan no contact for approval required.

    • Devern Hansack 5 years ago

      In your theoretical, THREE members of the bullpen would be making $39 million next year, assuming Papelbon gets around $12 million through arbitration. Are you high?

      I would also prefer if the Sox didn’t offer Jeter $25 million per year for his age 36, 37, and 38 seasons and then eat $37.5 million when transitioning to Iglesias.

    • jwsox 5 years ago

      hahaha you can sign mo and jeter for that much and watch as yankees fans are laughing their buts off as you pay that much for that much age…your talking about 65 mill a season in 3 people then signing gonzoles who is looking for 20 mill a season so here is 80 mill devoted to 4 players thats not including the money owed to the pitching staff and ot including arb raises…you talking another 10 +mill a season to pap so include that your talking 90 mill a season to 5 players then throw the 15 mill for lackey now 105 mill 14 for drew(119) ortiz 12(131 mill) beckett 15(146) 12 youk(158) 10 for dice k(168) 7 for cameron (175) scutt 5(180) lester 5(185) pedoria 5(190) and thats with out the arb raises to jacoby, bucholz….so your looking at a payroll north of 200 mill..good luck signing mo jeter crawford and stil making a run a gonzo

    • Fangaffes 5 years ago

      It’s amusing to consider, but seriously, don’t help the Yankees out of their dilemma. They are going to be stuck with overpaid players in serious decline for the next several years and there’s not much they are willing/able to do about it.

    • sploorp 5 years ago

      I like seeing anybody stick it to the Yankees!

  6. Jerry Mandering 5 years ago

    I think Olivo just barely edges out AJ due to his superior defense and speed. AJ has become the epitome of averageness while Olivo has seen a kind of resurgence, albeit it was with the Rockies.

    On a related note I think the ChiSox are waiting on the Dodgers decision on Russell Martin before they make any further catcher decisions. The fact that they were willing to over pay for V-Mart and declined arb on AJ shows they’re pretty focused on upgrading that position.

    • PookieGonzales 5 years ago

      I had to watch Olivo a whole year and while he has a great throwing arm….. lets just say his blocking leaves a little to be disired.

  7. thebigdog 5 years ago

    The vast majority of the value of a catcher is how he calls the game — if pitchers aren’t comfortable, they won’t pitch well. (Buerhle has never shaken off AJ)

    It’s also interesting to see some of the same people who claim that Juan Pierre stinks because stolen bases aren’t very important, also claim that AJ stinks because he can’t prevent them.

  8. oleosmirf 5 years ago

    because Rod Barajas is an all or nothing hitter who translates extremely well to Fenway and that Green Monster.

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