In search of a second catcher

Few mentions of Pudge this winter
Fixing the free agent compensation system

The Yankees currently have two catchers on their projected Opening Day roster, but the differences between Jorge Posada and Jose Molina are extensive. Meanwhile, with Posada’s working his way back from a very serious injury, his catching 140+ games this season is no sure thing. To that end, Steven Goldman wonders if the Yanks would be best off signing a second starting catcher. He makes a compelling case for the argument, but the Yanks’ options are Jason Varitek and Pudge. While both could be had for the right price, they don’t add much offensively to the team. The Yanks will sink or swim with Posada. Hopefully, his shoulder can carry the load.

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Few mentions of Pudge this winter
Fixing the free agent compensation system
  • A.D.

    No way the Yanks want to give even a 4th round pick to Boston for Tek.

  • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

    Why would Tek be better than Molina? I think Molina is about as good as anybody with the glove and seems to be great with pitchers. I know his bat is MIA but so is Tek’s.

    Pudge was not as good as Molina for us last year so really I do not see anybody on the market better than Molina even as a potential starter.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      I was so unpleasantly surprised with just how awful Pudge was in his time with the Yankees. When Cash pulled the trigger to get him for Krazy Kyle, I was pumped. It was a move that made so much sense and just didn’t work out–for either team, really. So, I guess it was a wash.

      • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

        Matt, i understand your point of view. I liked the trade when we made it and still like it in concept. To me the move was more of an insurance move. If Molina had gotten hurt we would have had NOBODY to fill in as a full time catcher.

        Now I am sure that Cashman was hoping to catch lighting in a bottle, but even though that did not happen is was a great move on his part.

        Great moves do not always work out, but that was one of his better trades.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          Oh I agree with you. I thought it was–and still think it was–a very good move. Getting rid of Farnsworth was great, even if Pudge’s return wasn’t all too big.

          • Dave M

            I got the feeling that the Yankee pitchers didn’t even like throwing to Pudge either.

  • History Teacher

    I don’t want Varitek on the Yankees…EVER! Not to mention he’s broken down and washed up. Pudge has seen his best days. I say we go with Molina (terrible offense, but great defender).

    What about one of those young catchers? Why not give them a shot? We can afford some growing pains with Tex in the lineup. They certainly can’t hit much worse than Molina.

    Why isn’t Austin Jackson ready to compete with Gardner and Melky? If it’s only those two, let’s get a solid CF for a year or two.

    • Should be working

      Cause hes not ready. He hasnt even played in Triple A yet. Let him develop. I believe Garden will be fine in CF this year.

    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      “I don’t want Varitek on the Yankees…EVER! ”

      I am there with you on that one.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        I’m guessing you all said the same thing about Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens too and would have said the same about Babe Ruth 89 years ago.

        I’m not saying that Varitek should come to the Yanks; he shouldn’t. But he shouldn’t because he sucks and not because he’s on the Red Sox. That’s a fan-driven concept.

        • Jay CT

          To an extent I agree, but there is a difference. Varitek has been an out and out DICK to the Yankees. He kept an image of his “fight” with ARod on his laptop for the whole season as “motivation.”

          I agree that some players you dislike only because they are on the wrong side of the line, like Damon, Ortiz, hell… even Manny has his supporters. But Varitek, besides being broken down, is an asshole.

      • History Teacher

        I had no problem with Boggs or Damon, but I ‘ve always hated Clemens even when he was a beast for the Yankees. Varitek (besides sucking) has always been a hated Red Sock and I don’t want anything to do with him. Let Boston go and overpay for him.

  • Should be working

    We have 2 new pitchers and I dont think you want them throwing to 3 different catchers. Especially when one of them (Pudge) is known for not being a pitchers catcher. They need to get familiar with Posada and Molina. I think we’ll be ok. If Matsui and everyone stays healthy we have more than enough offense to balance when Molina is in the game.

  • History Teacher

    I’d rather see Gardner than Melky. I also think we’re ok with Molina and Posada. We can always get Chad Moeller later on hahaha.

  • Jack

    Hopefully, his shoulder can carry the load.

    Ben, I am shocked and appalled that you did not make the “shoulder the load” pun.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      It was very tempting but I had to restrain myself.

  • viridiana

    Varitek and Pedro are two Boston creeps that I would never want to see with the Yanks. I had no objection to Johnny Damon– who always seemed like a great guy. But Varitek is the coward who attacked A-Rod with his mask on. Pedro is the coward who flung consecutive potential career-ending pitches in on the hands of Jeter and Soriano. Can we at least declare a moratorium on bringing up these two names? I’ve got to believe there are plenty of current Yankees who feel the same.

    As to Pudge, a low-base deal might not be the worst idea. yanks are very vulnerable in terms of infield and catching back-ups. Cash has showed total disprespect for the back-up infielder position. If Jeter, Cano or A-Rod get plunked in the WBC, we’re in big trouble relying on the likes of Angel Berroa and Cody Ransom. Pound-foolish, maybe. Penny-foolish for sure.

    • steve (different one)

      “career ending”? really?

      i was pissed too, but don’t you think this is a stretch?

      • Jays

        I agree.
        Plus, objectively speaking, Jobba C. seems worse in terms of trying to get guys.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      As to Pudge, a low-base deal might not be the worst idea.

      We can’t spend 3 of our 25 roster positions on catchers, and since Molina is already under contract, I think we should forget about Pudge. If Posada proves he’s not up to catching 120+ games, then Cash is going to have to work his magic.

      Cash has showed total disprespect for the back-up infielder position.

      If you carry 3 catchers, that’s one less back-up infielder you can carry (unless you go w/ 11 pitchers, which I believe they should do, at least to start the season).

    • jsbrendog

      Varitek and Pedro are two Boston creeps that I would never want to see with the Yanks. I had no objection to Johnny Damon– who always seemed like a great guy. But Varitek is the coward who attacked A-Rod with his mask on. Pedro is the coward who flung consecutive potential career-ending pitches in on the hands of Jeter and Soriano. Can we at least declare a moratorium on bringing up these two names? I’ve got to believe there are plenty of current Yankees who feel the same.

      this is stupid. you sign players that make your team better, not that the fans don’t like because oh poo poo he threw at someone or did this or that. unless he killed a man (and even then if mid-late 90s pedro did kill a man i wouldn’t care and i’d still take his 15+ wins and sub 2.50 ERA and massiv e strikeout numbers) you sign ppl who ,make your team better and give you the best chance to win while taking that ability away form others you are competing against. In this case, neither pedro nor varitek make out eam any better so it is a moot point. but either one would by chance make our team better you sign them.

      This whole BUT HE PLAYED FOR THE SUX SO I DONT WANT HIM IN PINSTRIPES!11!1!!11! is just dumb.

      close rant

      • http://incumbentgm.wordpress.com The Third Yip-Yip

        Pedro also decked the Zim, for whatever reason.

    • cellbody

      Didn’t Jabba (sp?) do the same thing, aiming at the head of a Red Sox player?

  • Doug

    We have been spoiled by Jorge’s offense. However I would take Molina at Catcher and whatever offense he gives is a bonus. AFter all he did hit the last homer at Yankee Stadium. LOL!

    Pitchers love Molina and I won’t be suprised if you see Posada as DH more this year.

    I also agree that we need a good infielder. I liked Betemit because he could play all infield positions and play them solid.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      I’ve been saying this for a while: Jorge Posada is probably the best offensive catcher since Mike Piazza. Yes, his defense is less than desirable, but he needs to be the catcher because of his bat. Having him and Matsui as the DH in the lineup is much better than the effects of Molina’s defense.

      As for Betemit, he was a very “meh” fielder at just about every position.

    • Should be working

      Solid? Really?

      • steve (different one)

        Betemit was stretched defensively up the middle, but he hit pretty well for a backup infielder.

        i know everyone hated the guy for some reason, but he was a fine bench player.

        guys who are just a little better than Betemit are called “starters”.

  • Matthew

    Let’s hope Jorge has his swimmies on!

  • The Lodge

    Kevin Cash is the cause and solution to all our potential catching problems this year.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    You know, Posada’s one of those guys who you don’t realize exactly how much he means unless he’s not there.

    That said, I love Jose Molina to the point that I am utterly biased and will refrain from making any further comment.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      “You know, Posada’s one of those guys who you don’t realize exactly how much he means unless he’s not there.”

      Yep. See: 2008 Yankees offense. We will not realize Posada’s greatness until he is retired.

      “That said, I love Jose Molina to the point that I am utterly biased and will refrain from making any further comment.”

      Love him. I was at Old Timer’s Day and the highlight was when he hit his first homer.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        I co-wrote a piece on Posada and the hall of fame last february or March-in some respects his numbers are similar to Yogi Berra!

        I got a signed baseball from Molina on ebay after he hit the last Yankee Stadium home run. It’s actually the only signed memorabilia I have with me in the Bronx…my O’Niell, Rivera, Berra, Cone and LaPorta (yes, I know he’s not a Yankee) are all in Jersey.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          Yes! I will be drumming so hard for Posada to Cooperstown when his time comes up.

          This weekend, my dad got Willie McCovey and Bob Gibson at Westchester. We’ve got 18 total, 16 of which are HOFers (the only non-HOFers are Rose and Willie Randolph).

          • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

            Sweet.

            I try not to spend too much on memorabilia and save my money for tickets.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

              Yeah, we only get them in person–it’s much cheaper that way, haha.

  • http://twitter.com/OldRanger Old Ranger

    I would pay a lot of attention to Cervelli come spring training. If he can get his bat up to the way it was before the injury, he would be in contention for the 25 man roster. He is about as good as Molina, defensively but, better with the bat.

    • MattG

      I saw a lot of Cervelli in Trenton. I am certainly no scout, but it was easy to see the difference between him and the opposing catcher. He is very athletic behind the dish.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        But can he hit?

        For the sake of this post, we’re not really concerned with a good backup. We’re talking about someone who could, if need be, step in to replace Posada and put up numbers better than what Molina/Moeller/Pudge put up last year.

        • MattG

          Apparently not while I am in attendance.

          • Jay CT

            Well, its not like Old Ranger is EVER high on our prospects right?…

  • jsbrendog

    pray to MO and Mo shall make sure posada’s shoulder is fine.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      You know, Mo would probably actually be offended by that :-P

      Well, okay, maybe not…

      • jsbrendog

        he’d smile, rub his bald spot and give a humble nonchalant brush off response. which only proves his is god

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          touchè

  • Jake H

    I just wonder if Posada can catch that many games. The problem is will that guy that they sign get enough time 1 with the pitchers, 2 at bat to be effective?

  • JeffG

    Kevin Cash is pretty much a basic backup catcher behind Molina. If Posada really can’t go this year and we wanted an upgrade in offensive production neither Pudge nor Vagania-tek are going to be the solution.
    We’d probably look to make a trade but I’m still hoping that is not the case. Let’s just wait till ST to see how Jorge is holding up. Patience.

    • A.D.

      I agree, I think that is Posada is a major problem, and his shoulder is never quite right to catch, then the Yankees will likely need to go out and make a trade for a catcher, basically the same names that the Red Sox have been rumored on, and that means they’ll need to deal some of the young pitching to get a catcher.

      Pudge and Tek aren’t actually good solutions for a potential Posada replacement if he’s not right. If they were they’d be fielding contract offers from teams that need a catcher.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Well, let’s remember that the only problem with Posada is his shoulder. It’s not like he hurt his legs/knees and we’re not sure if he can squat behind the plate for 120 games. The only question is how he’ll do against base stealers, and he can get help in that dept (mostly from the pitchers).

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      And hit for power. That’s one of the big questions following shoulder surgery.

      Anyway, I’m not at all advocating Varitek or Pudge. I’m just saying that those are the two best options out there, and they both pretty much suck.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        If his power takes a dip, I don’t think it’s going to be too awful, considering the power addition of Tex–and the minor addition of Swisher–so long as his discipline and patience doesn’t take a hit.

        • Jay CT

          Yeah Mike, I cannot disagree with you more. If teams know that Posada can’t throw out a guy, then every team will be sending every one of their baserunners. Obviously, this is a bad thing to stretch every hit or walk into a double. Also, as its been pointed out, the power disappeared. The issues that go along with shoulder recovery are tremendous- ask any physical therapist, or just come into my therapy place. A friend of mine is freinds with Dr. Gill, the Red Sox doctor, and he has told me for years Damon no longer has a rotator cuff. You cannot hide an injury like that behind the plate the same as you can in the outfield.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Very true. And, let’s be honest, he really can’t get much worse there.

      • Jack

        I actually looked this up a couple months ago, and in the three years before this season, his CS% was pretty much at league average. So yeah, he can get much worse there.

      • Jack

        http://riveraveblues.com/2008/.....ent-169444

        He actually wasn’t a terrible thrower. We’ll just have to see how far back he bounces.

    • A.D.

      True, the issue won’t be if he can physically catch that many games, its if he’ll be effective at stopping a run game, and else they can pick their spots more with Molina, resting Posada against teams that like to steal, or when pitchers that don’t hold runners well are pitching.

      As long as Posada doesn’t suddenly go Pudge and just call fastballs to try and throw out runners we’re fine.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        And Posada isn’t all like OMGZ LOOK AT MY ARM usually.

        • A.D.

          Yeah it would only be if he got in his own head about the arm and teams were stealing on him

    • Jake H

      Very true. Hopefully pitchers will throw over more.

    • MattG

      If he could get help with an injured shoulder, why weren’t they helping him with a healthy shoulder?

  • A.D.

    The new thread on comp system has comments closed…whats the deal?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      A mistake. They’re open now.

  • http://twitter.com/OldRanger Old Ranger

    May I reiterate my earlier post; Cervelli is the bast catcher we have ready to play back-up or even take over for Posada. He is about the same on defense as Molina (almost as good) but has a better bat. If his bat comes around to where it was before his injury we should be ok with him at catcher. Unless there is a great down turn in his abilities, I would rather use him…he is on the 40 man already plus, he may be able to hold the fort until Montero/Romine are ready to take over.

    • Jay CT

      His bat was against Double A pitching, mostly pitchers that won’t get so much as a cup of coffee. I am still waiting to hear the player that the Yankees have on the farm that is not a solid MLB player in the making…

      However, if you turn out to be correct, I will be the first to apologize.

    • Rob in CT

      I don’t think Cervelli would be better than Molina *right now* at the ML level. I think he has the potential to be better than Molina, but not yet.

      The solution for now, IMO, is to play Molina against LHP (which he can kinda sorta hit a little) and hope Jorge is healthy enough to start against most RHP. Molina against RHP is, well, suboptimal.

      I’ve long been telling Yankees fans who were down on Posada that they will miss him when he’s gone. Switch hitting catchers with patience and power do not grow on trees. The guy’s a borderline HOFer. Man, I hope that shoulder is ok. If it’s not, my two favorite Yankees (Bernie, Posada) will have been prematurely ruined by injury (knee, shoulder). That would suck.

  • ortforshort

    I don’t think you want to go into the season with a catching staff that consists of a 37 year old coming off of major right shoulder surgery with a backup who cannot handle more than a light load. Altho’ Pudge had a bad couple of months with New York, I don’t see any good alternatives for next season and you need someone. I say sign Pudge for next season. You don’t want to get stuck with Chad Moeller clones when Posada breaks down.

  • cream

    the bottom line on tek is that he would cost the yanks a 4th round pick, add to the payroll and offer little above what molina offers offensively. having said that, i would have no objection to him joining the yankees – he is an old school player who is widely respected through out the game and would serve as a viable insurance policy. the fact that he popped arod is a plus as far as i am concerned.