If you’re looking for a catcher this winter – and many teams will be – you probably have to put Jorge Posada at the top of the list. His incredible season couldn’t have come at a better time. Here’s the list of possible free agent starting catchers, with their 2008 age in parentheses:
Jorge Posada (36)
Ivan Rodriguez (36) – $13MM club option for ’08
Paul Lo Duca (36)
Michael Barrett (31)
Jason Kendall (34)
When we last checked in on Pudge’s option, Ken Rosenthal said the Tigers were "almost certain" to exercise it. For the sake of argument, let’s say Kendall’s recent resurgence is for real and allows teams to consider him as a starter. That means four available catchers: Posada, Lo Duca, Barrett, and Kendall.
Barrett is the youngster of the group, and before this season began I would’ve ranked him first. But even a biased Barrett fan such as myself must admit that his stock is falling rapidly with the altercations, mental gaffes, and subpar offensive performance.
Despite the power outage, Lo Duca should be a respectable choice for some team not planning to spend $10MM+ a year on a backstop. Posada, though, is where it’s at. He’s showing no signs of age and is the type of player GMs love. And a catcher who can easily post an OPS over .800 is a major asset.
Contract talks with the Yankees from last spring have been tabled as Posada prefers to focus on playing. It seems like both sides want him to finish his career as a Yankee, though there is some uncertainty in Posada’s comments. He’s keeping his options open. I think it will require four years and maybe $48MM.
Plenty of teams would line up for Posada – the Angels, Mets, Phillies, and Astros come to mind.