Padres Seek Backup Catcher

The Padres expect to ease catcher Nick Hundley into a bigger role in 2011, but they’ll look to complement him with a backup, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times. GM Jed Hoyer said the Padres are not looking for someone to play as much as Yorvit Torrealba did in 2010. Instead, the Padres are looking for a catcher who can "play a fair amount” while Hundley starts 95 games, Hoyer says.

Gerald Laird, Bengie Molina, Miguel Olivo, Matt Treanor, Jason Varitek and Gregg Zaun are among the free agent catchers who could be willing to accept part-time jobs, so they could fit in San Diego if their demands fit the Padres' budget. It’s too early to rule out Henry Blanco and Yorvit Torrealba, the two catchers who shared time with Hundley in 2009-10, but A.J. Pierzynski probably isn't a fit. He said he'd like to catch in San Diego, but other teams figure to offer more playing time and more money.

Hundley hits lefties (.672 career OPS) and righties (.708 career OPS) at about the same rate, so  the Padres can consider backstops who bat from either side of the plate. Manager Bud Black says the organization believes in Hundley “as a major league catcher” at this point in his career. The 27-year old batted .249/.308/.418 in 307 plate appearances in 2010 and he threw out a career-best 29% of would-be base stealers.

22 Responses to Padres Seek Backup Catcher Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    I like the idea of Gerald Laird. Good throwing arm, something that the Padres love — Defense.

    • BlueCatuli 5 years ago

      Hypothetically, the Cubs put together a package for Adrian Gonzales, any chance Castillo, or Hill are involved as a cheaper option to one of the above named backstops?

      • jb226 5 years ago

        I highly doubt it would happen, but sure. At least from the Cubs’ perspective there’s no problem with that proposal. I don’t think they would have a ton of value from the Padres’ side though, especially Hill.

        • BlueCatuli 5 years ago

          It wouldn’t be a deal breaker, and not just the Cubs, but any team pursuing Gonzalez.

  2. Brad Vance 5 years ago

    Agreed, I think Laird is the best fit.

  3. GasLampGuru 5 years ago

    The Padres need a backup who can hit because Hundley won’t last the whole season as the starter. He has too many holes in his swing.

    Great…another season watching Hundley flail away at sliders on the dirt and fastballs in his eyes.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      So why not just find a starter and make Hundley the back up? The Pads are rebuilding.

      • GasLampGuru 5 years ago

        I would prefer they found a real catcher and make Hundley the backup, but that won’t happen.  As I recall, Torrealba was supposed to be the backup but outplayed Hundley.  May as well find a backup who can hit because he’ll be starting by mid-season.

  4. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    Please take Doumit away from the Pirates.

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

      Ha! You know what? Doumit wouldn’t be bad as a back up. Just make sure that’s where he stays-as a back up.

      • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

        Doumit gives you pretty good offense from the C position. His defense is somewhat questionable but at least he brings something more to the table.

  5. Take my Laird, please!

    • jphenix2002 5 years ago

      netting the Tigers a draft pick would be his best offensive contribution

  6. truthlemonade 5 years ago

    Hundley’s bat is taking some criticism here, but he actually had a higher OPS+ (102) than all of the guys mentioned here, except for Torrealba who barely beat him at 103.

    Hundley is also significantly younger than all of these guys.

    I question if Molina and Olivo would consider being backups since both of them topped 400 plate appearances last year. Then again, Molina turns 37 next year and is a bad hitter.

    Varitek could be interesting, but I fear a repeat to the bad attitude and superiority complex which Doug Mirabelli brought to San Diego. I know, they are two different people, and I am being unfair, but that’s what I’m thinking.

    I think the best option would be to resign Torrealba, or try to get Olivo if you can get him. I wouldn’t mind Molina though. Or if SD could get Russell Martin from the Dodgers, I would be excited. It seems as if LA doesn’t like Martin anymore. I think Martin is a better option than most of the catchers listed here.

    • woadude 5 years ago

      Hey San Diego loved Mirabelli, it was because the Red Sox desperatly needed him back to catch Wakefield’s butterflies that they reluctantly traded him back to the Red Sox for Josh Bard and Cla Meridith, quite a fleecing of Theo at the time because Meredith was highly coveted by Theo and Bard was an up and comming starter that was the heair of Varitek at the time…just saying

      • truthlemonade 5 years ago

        Are you being serious? Mirabelli whined his way out of SD. He was unhappy when the team signed Mike Piazza to be the primary catcher. He was also frustrated with the low key baseball atmosphere of San Diego, and upon returning to Boston, he said, “It’s good to be back to the big leagues.” By the way, that year, 2006, the Padres won their division, and the Red Sox did not. But Mirabelli hit .202 in the big leagues. Way to go Doug!

  7. Ill go with Laird…but in the end the Friar’s will sign Zaun to a minor league deal, you know how this team work..

  8. Hundley is the backup catcher, Olivo or Torrealba it’s the best choice.

    • Olivo has an OPS+ 10 points lower than Hundley’s 102. Torrealba was just one point higher at 103. Love to see Torrealba back, but not at $3.5 million.

  9. Laird hit .207/.263/.304. He makes Hundley look like a HOF at the plate. He would bring a little defense which would be a plus, but his bat stinks.

  10. woadude 5 years ago

    So the Padres need a catcher? watch for Red Sox rumors to now include the names Wagner or Exposito in all Agon trade rumors from now on

  11. woadude 5 years ago

    Lars Anderson, Michael Bowden, Rizzo, Wagner, and Kalish should get it done.

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