The Tigers had one of the least productive catcher situations in the majors in 2020, ranking second to last in fWAR (minus-0.9) and third worst in wRC+ (44). None of Austin Romine, a former Yankee whom the Tigers signed for $4.1MM last offseason, Grayson Greiner or Eric Haase proved to be the solution. The Tigers want more production behind the plate as a result, but they could try to find it from within. General manager Al Avila suggested the Tigers want Jake Rogers to step up going forward, per Evan Woodbery of MLive.com.
“With those three guys, you might be able to get through the season,” Avila said. “We’re happy with the defense, but we’d like to have an upgrade on the offensive side. We’re hopeful that Jake is that guy.”
It’s highly questionable whether Rogers, whom the Tigers acquired from the Astros in the teams’ 2017 Justin Verlander trade, is actually capable of filling the void for Detroit. Granted, he’s still just 25, and while he has been a promising prospect since he debuted in the pros in 2016, Rogers recorded terrible production with the Tigers last year. Rogers ended up with an abysmal .125/.222/.259 line and 51 strikeouts in 128 plate appearances, and he saw no MLB action this season.
If the Tigers aren’t totally sold on Rogers, they will have the option of re-signing Romine, but it doesn’t appear that will happen, nor does it look as if they’ll add any other free agents behind the plate, according to Woodbery. That should rule out Alex Avila, the GM’s son and a former Tiger who’s due to become a free agent soon, as well as the other catchers in the upcoming class.
“If you really want an upgrade (at catcher), you have to develop your own,” the elder Avila noted.
Catcher is a defense first position. Any offense is gravy. It is literally the worst offensive position outside of pitcher in the league. Rogers struggled offensively last year because he wasn’t really ready for the call up. Not sure if he will hit enough but next year seems the time to find out. Plus, any catcher who is good offensively and defensively will be priced out of the Tigers range.
I’m a Mets fan.
Catchers should be a fine to great game callers and defenders.
Any offense should be a bonus.
how long has it been since you guys watched baseball? catchers arent offensive liabilities anymore. look arround, theres at least a dozen catchers that you can easily name that are good hitters, position or otherwise.
Easy for the Phillies fan to say.
Having a strong defense Catcher who is at least decent offensively and that can start at least 120 games a year are a rare luxury.
At least 12? a dozen? No there’s not.
Grandal, Realmuto, Contreras, Cervelli, Posey are pretty much the only catchers that offer consistent offensive production.
The game is very much happy with defensive first catcher, more precisely theyre happy with guys who can pitch frame.
Austin Hedges. Premium defense and arm. Best pitch framer in the game by far. Padres had been dying to replace him for years.
Padres haven’t been trying to replace him for years. You say that cause he was traded…… If he was still with the Padres you’d be raving about his glove and defense.
Considering he posted a wrc of 90 last year, doubt its been years.
if he was posting 85-95 wrc he’d still be a in a Padres uniform. the 47 and 43 he posted with both teams is what did him in.
80-100 wrc is acceptable offense if you get great defense and pitching framing.
That is all well and nice until you have to compete against teams that have catchers who play well both offensively and defensively and your team is therefore at a competitive disadvantage. Same goes with good defensive shortstops and centerfielders. It is fine to have good field, no hit players at key defensive positions until you have to face teams that have good field, good hit players at these positions and you are trying to score runs with six guys while the other team has 9.
AA mystifies me sometimes There’s one name that says it all: Grayson Greiner. Why not? Miguel Cabrera is going to bat 3rd for the next 3 years regardless.
I mean no one is really “out of our range” dollar wise. We owe Miggy $30M and have no other significant obligations. We have the most money to spend of almost any team, in theory. The question is do we spend any this winter or wait till next when we are really ready to compete? If e want Realmuto, we can afford him. Question is, is worth it when we’re still probably another year away from competing?
Jake Rogers was rated, in 2018 I believe, as the best defensive catcher anywhere in the minors. Minor league pitchers raved about his work behind the dish. He had trouble with passed balls in his cup of coffee in 2019 and of course didn’t hit. Give him a chance next year. If he doesn’t work, Dirk Diggler (Dillon Dingler) is probably right behind him.
Yes, you have to develop your own. James McCann was developed in the Tiger’s system, has become consistant with the bat, has a great arm, blocks balls well, and even improved on the theoretical fooling the umpire into calling a ball a strike category. Bring him home.
He ran out of gas the second half of the season for Chicago last year and this year he’s had an above average year hard to judge
I’m tired of this misinformation. James McCann had a poor July in 2019 when Welington Castillo was injured and the White Sox couldn’t rely on struggling rookies Zack Collins and Zeby Zavala. When Castillo returned and Collins hit better after being recalled later in the season, McCann also finished out the 2019 season with solid numbers.
McCann was also strong for the White Sox sharing the load with Yasmani Grandal during this past abbreviated season. His one question mark was pitch-framing which also improved in 2020. The duo of Grandal and McCann is among the strongest in MLB and I hope the White Sox will continue with both next year and at least offer the latter a QO in order to increase their chances of retaining him in 2021.
There’s no way the White Sox will offer a QO on a backup catcher. They’d be on the hook to pay him $18M if he accepts it (which he probably would). The Sox will either need to pay him something along the lines of 4/36+ to remain as a backup catcher / super sub or watch him leave via free agency.
McCann won’t leave!
JR will pay him one way or the other.
Dorothy_Mantooth: Why is that?
Are the White Sox strapped for cash with a projected 2021 payroll considerably less most other contenders?
Because McCann is their backup catcher but would be a starter and potential All-Star catcher on many other teams just as he was for the White Sox in 2019?
Because they’d rather let him go into a weak catching FA market as the clear second best option and receive zero compensation if he were to sign with another team?
Because the White Sox will be forced to spend big FA dollars elsewhere this winter plugging multiple holes with so much young talent on hand that is mostly locked up for years as pre-arbitration eligibles, arb-eligibles or as players who have already been signed to long term extensions?
The White Sox primary concerns this offseason will be to decide on their starting RF in 2021, who becomes their closer and whether they are comfortable going into next season with their depth of young starting pitching candidates.
Will Nomar Mazara get one more shot to claim the RF job in his final year of arbitration eligibility or do they try to improve the position with a FA like George Springer or a trade for someone younger like Alex Verdugo?
Do the White Sox try and re-sign pending FA Alex Colome, pursue another veteran or simply have a competition next spring among their numerous young power arms to determine who their closer is in 2021?
Is the front office comfortable rolling with Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning and Michael Kopech along with other potential starting candidates like Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Jonathan Stiever and Jimmy Lambert in 2021 or do they supplement that with another veteran pitcher? Will young phenom Garrett Crochet be afforded a shot as a starter or will they bide their time and use him as a late inning lefty for a couple of years like they did with Chris Sale back in 2010?
If I were Rick Hahn, I’d try and retain McCann and that starts with a QO offer just as they did with Jose Abreu last winter. I’d kick the tires on Springer and discuss trade options to fill their RF position but would be fine giving Mazara one more shot as a platoon option with Adam Engel or maybe even consider talking to a presumably more humble Yasiel Puig again like they did last winter.when he hit free agency for the first time and came up empty. I’d also contemplate adding a veteran closer to their spring training competition be it re-signing Colome or someone else. I’d also discuss some trade scenarios including with the Brewers for Josh Hader. Finally, I would likely bring in one more veteran SP option but not somebody who would break the bank. That could be someone like Jose Quintana who the organization and fan base would be very comfortable with. I might also be inclined to finally cut bait with Rodon as a non-tender candidate this December as he enters his final arbitration season and also consider using some of my other young potential SP’s as trade bait or as late inning bullpen options.
The bottom line is that the White Sox don’t have any severe financial restraints or roster holes that would automatically prohibit them from at least offering a QO to McCann or maybe even Colome next month. If McCann accepts it gives the White Sox arguably the best catching depth in all of MLB which could also help a pitching staff chock full of young power arms that still lacks experience. If Colome accepts it gives the White Sox a proven closer and an additional year to groom their next one. I also hope that the front office prioritizes locking up their remaining core pieces like Giolito, 2B Nick Madrigal and 1B Andrew Vaughn like they have already done with Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Luis Roberts and Aaron Bummer rather than investing huge dollars on any single ‘star’ free agent who may be available this offseason.
Tiger catching is illegal please let them be free
I won’t be surprised if the Tigers sign McCann back on a 1 year deal.
McCann starts and Rogers backs up. By ’23 Rogers or Dingler need to be ready.
McCann will get more than a one year deal, even with teams cutting payroll. Two- to three-year deal if he prices himself reasonably.
They could’ve signed McCann last year for about what they got Romine! Sign McCann! Give him a couple of years and let him teach! Not sure about Al’s thinking here.
Really? McCann was under contract with Chisox. They picked up the option. He was not a FA.
True, wasn’t thinking about that, but should’ve thought about resigning him before 2019. At least consider him now.
Sandy Leon would be an upgrade
Pending free agent C James McCann makes too much sense for a reunion with the Tigers. Since leaving Detroit two years ago he proved with the White Sox that he is a more than capable starting catcher, one who can hit and most importantly play defense and help develop a young pitching staff. His work with ace Lucas Giolito is well documented and he could offer the same to the likes of Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal in Detroit.
The White Sox already committed an expensive FA contract to Yasmani Grandal last offseason but would still be wise to retain McCann this winter. The Tigers would be even smarter to make sure that does not happen with a deal befitting an All-Star backstop, one that should be considerably cheaper in dollars and years than what top of the class catcher J.T. Realmuto will be signing in the coming months.
One way in which the White Sox might prevent a rebuilding team like the Tigers from signing McCann would be to offer him a qualifying offer this offseason. It was a primary reason the White Sox waited until last winter to sign Grandal who himself was tagged the previous offseason by the Dodgers.
Some might believe a QO would be too rich for the White Sox considering their investment in Grandal but it would be a whole lot cheaper than the years and dollars McCann figures to receive as the #2 catcher in this offseasons market. Grandal isn’t getting any younger. He will turn 32 next month and can also be used as a backup at 1B and as a DH when Edwin Encarnacion’s 2021 option will be declined following the World Series. There will be plenty of reps available in Chicago for McCann and Grandal and it will also give the White Sox one more year to ascertain whether Zack Collins can develop into a capable defensive catcher going forward. A QO would also guarantee the White Sox an extra pick in next summer’s amateur draft if McCann were to decline it and sign with another team this winter.
If the Mets don’t get Realamoto, I think they will sign McCann. 3 years/$36 million? Done
Romine is a BUC. A decent BUC, but a BUC.
The Tigers knew going into this season that Romine was a backup but gave him starting catcher money for a single season. Bringing back McCann wouldn’t all together be a bad idea, but I also say it’s time to deploy Jake Rogers to see what you’ve got there. He was awful in ’19 but like it’s been said here was not ready to come up yet and it was a bad idea to expose him to major league pitching because his confidence got crushed by the time they stopped starting him. You could see it in his face every AB that he knew going in that he was about to strike out and he was embarrassed that entire season of his performance. Not sure what the thinking was then, but by now it’s time to see what he can do, and if it’s the same result you know you have a backup catcher that can play some good D and have a good repore with the staff. And you’ll need a starter until Diggler is good to go in ’22.
After subtracting $46,350,000 from the opening day payroll in 2020 (not prorated)
And adding back minimum salaries for those 7 roster spots
And figuring none of the 10 arbitration eligible players is non tendered
2021 opening day payroll comes in under $73 million, or just over half the major league average/ median
The Tigers did not lose money in 2020, and will not lose money in 2021, even if there are no fans at games.
They can afford to put a decent team on the field, and could contend if the young players continue to improve.
But, theres that term you hear tossed about “sustainable success”. That’s loading up on top draft picks (1-5) and creating several waves of future starters.
Coming out of a rebuild too early denies yourself the future prospects (3-4 years down the road) to fill future positions.
I think AA is doing it right. He’s locked into another high draft pick for this year, and next year doesn’t look like it’ll be much different from this year. I think 2022 is when they’ll probably start spending money on multi-year free agents.
Until then, I love him doing 1 year deals, hoping to flip them for more prospects. By the time the trade deadline comes around, there’s usually a prospect that has earned some MLB playing time anyways.
Have you seen the Tigers books?! They had no fans and/or stadium revenues in 2020. Payroll was on the high side with Zimmerman and Cabrera for a last place club. Tigers very well could have lost money in 2020.
I’m tired of seeing these comments about McCann going back to DET. He has a way better market than that. I get it’s nice to imagine, but it’s like how some Boston fans thought they’d resign Mookie after trading him to LA
Doubtful that Detroit signs McCann. McCann’s offense, defense and pitch framing took steps back in his last year in Detroit. McCann was a “change of scenery” candidate went he went to Chicago. White Sox are not going to pay McCann starting catchers money. I can see McCann getting a contract with some team that needs a starting catcher, but not likely the Tigers or the White Sox.
He’s going to Philly to replace JT
Ducky Buckin Fent
Romine is a fine backup catcher.
For my fellow Yankee fans, I’d like to put extra emphasis on the word “backup”.
It appears to me that his performance this year bears that out.
Anyone remember all the Romine > Sanchez nonsense? Ducky does.
The more things change…
Now we have HOTTAKES! of Higgy > Sanchez.
“And the band played on…”
Fast track last years draft pick former Ohio State Catcher Dillion Dingler to the majors. He is ++ defensively and can hit…
Sign realmuto and have Roger’s as backup. JT starts 120 games at catcher and 40 at DH. It reduces workload and he should age well. It also gives Roger’s a chance to learn from an all star.
JT could get $200,000,000 on the open market. Is Detroit willing to spend that?
Hard to walk with four balls
not in this market
“Still just 25”?… at 25 you’re never a prospect. You’re a starter or a journeyman.
Whit Merrifield made his MLB debut with the Royals well past his 27th birthday. Who was he at age 25?
McCann is terrible defensively . Plus he likely doesn’t want to come back to the Tigers. Tigers clubhouse is a poison pill that’s why everyone succeeds when the leave. Rosenthall, Iglesias, McCann, Castellanos etc.
Rogers is a future Perrenial all star with his defense and ability to hit with power. Started futures game at C and that is large part why. He has hit every single minor league level with an OPS over .800 to go along with his defense.
Let’s hope the Tigers poison pill clubhouse/FO dynamic doesn’t mess him up too. He needs time to develop like yadi had (took him 5 yrs to hit avg)…..at least longer than 1 month. Rogers has the tools just needs time and adjust.
Next time you might want to consult some stats before making such a ludicrous claim regarding James McCann’s defensive acumen. Aside from having positive dWAR metrics throughout his career he has also been far above league average when it comes to CS%. Additionally, his one questionable defensive metric of pitch-framing improved considerably this past season. All of this is on top of the fact that McCann is an astute student of the position, one who goes above and beyond most of his peers in the aspects of pitch calling and working with his pitching staff. He also epitomizes a quality often attributed to the best catchers in MLB, that of being a team leader.
Every c is a student of the pos. Every c thinks they’re a leader. He started hitting excellent when he went to White Sox. His is a mediocre to bad reciver/framer. He’s had a fg defense stat of .4 or negative in half his career. He’s a an offensive C. Nowhere near being considered as a defensive C. He’s good ballplayer and will make a lot of money this offseason but no one considers him a defensive guy. That’s not a bad thing. But people put him in the offensive c category.
I don’t know why you chose the nickname of ‘the guru’ but it certainly does not apply to baseball knowledge with your comments regarding James McCann. If you were even a casual White Sox fan you would know better.