Trade Market For Catchers

Last summer, catchers Steve Clevenger and Drew Butera were traded in July, while Kurt Suzuki and John Buck were dealt in August.  The Orioles, Blue Jays, and Dodgers could consider adding a starting catcher, while clubs such as the Royals and Giants could seek a backup.  Here’s a look at this summer’s trade market for catchers.  The roles listed below could differ based on the acquiring team.

Starters

Miguel Montero (Diamondbacks), Carlos Ruiz (Phillies), Kurt Suzuki (Twins), Jason Castro (Astros), Welington Castillo (Cubs), Wilin Rosario (Rockies), Yasmani Grandal (Padres), A.J. Pierzynski (Red Sox)

  • Montero, 30, has been the most productive of the group.  He’s having a resurgent campaign after a lost 2013, and at the trade deadline he’ll have roughly $43MM left on his contract through 2017.  However, the D’Backs are not looking to dump salary, and aim to contend in 2015.  To that end, trading Montero doesn’t make sense, but GM Kevin Towers is known as the Gunslinger for a reason.
  • The Phillies made a three-year commitment to Ruiz last offseason, so he’s not the most likely candidate to be dealt.  Plus, he’s currently on the seven-day concussion DL.
  • Suzuki, a free agent after the season, seems a reasonable trade candidate.  He’s having his best season in years and will be owed less than a million bucks by the deadline.  The Twins could look to extend him instead, though.
  • Castro’s performance has taken a tumble since his breakout 2013 season.  Certainly the Astros would consider trading the 27-year-old, who is under team control through 2016 as an arbitration eligible player.  However, the club will probably be disinclined to sell low.
  • Castillo is a speculative name here, in that the Cubs would likely at least listen.  He’s 27 years old and under team control through 2017, and the Cubs don’t have much catching in their farm system.  But if they manage to acquire a better “Catcher of the Future” candidate in another trade, moving Castillo becomes more palatable.
  • Would the Rockies trade Rosario?  They made an offer to Ruiz in the offseason, suggesting they weren’t thrilled with Rosario’s defensive chops.  Rosario, just 25, is under team control through 2017.  He hit 49 home runs from 2012-13.
  • Grandal is a player who could be considered more by a non-contending team, if the Padres decide to cut bait with the former top prospect.
  • At 6.5 games out, the Red Sox are currently on the bubble of contention.  The meager return they could get for Pierzynski may not be worth shaking up their catching situation, with the veteran having the worst offensive season of his career.

Backups

Robinson Chirinos (Rangers), Ryan Hanigan (Rays), Rene Rivera (Padres), Carlos Corporan (Astros), Chris Gimenez (Rangers), John Ryan Murphy (Yankees), Austin Romine (Yankees), Tony Sanchez (Pirates), David Ross (Red Sox), J.P. Arencibia (Rangers), John Baker (Cubs), Jose Molina (Rays), Geovany Soto (Rangers), Gerald Laird (Braves)

It should be noted that Soto is currently on the 60-day DL, recovering from March knee surgery.  This group presents a wide range of options, with a few players who are able to play regularly as well as some young players who have yet to establish themselves.  Hanigan would be the most complicated one to move, with nearly $12MM coming to him through 2016.


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