The catching market has changed substantially over the last several months. Yadier Molina paved the way with his five-year, $75MM contract, and yesterday Miguel Montero reaped the rewards. He agreed to a five-year, $60MM extension with the Diamondbacks, leaving Mike Napoli as the top catcher on the free agent market after the season.
Napoli, 30, is said to be seeking a deal somewhere between Victor Martinez‘s (four years, $52MM) and Molina’s. He’s hitting just .233/.325/.436 in 154 plate appearances this season following last year’s breakout .320/.414/.631 campaign. Furthermore, Napoli has only started behind the plate in 25 of his team’s first 46 games.
Quality catching is very hard to find, which is why Molina and now Montero have cashed in so handsomely. Napoli is next in line for a huge contract despite his slow start to the season.