Ranking the Blue Jays’ FA Backup Catcher Options

Who are the free agent options to backup Russell Martin?

(UPDATED to include recent non-tenders)

I recently wrote an article for Jays Journal about the need for the Blue Jays to have a backup catcher who’ll carry more of the load. I mentioned a few options of who might fit that bill. I’ve gone a step further in this piece and have ranked all the major league free agent catching options as they fit the Blue Jays’ needs.

  1. A.J Ellis – low cost, improved framer, best game caller in MLB
  2. Alex Avila – solid offense for C, another great game caller
  3. Chris Iannetta – good defense aside from framing, low cost
  4. Jeff Mathis – excellent defense all around, poor bat
  5. Geovany Soto – solid offensively and defensively, injury risk
  6. Ryan Hanigan – good framer, great caller, not much offense left in tank?
  7. Dioner Navarro – solid bat in past, dreadful framing, rapport with some Jays pitchers
  8. Bobby Wilson – solid framing/defense
  9. Hank Conger – great framer, decent otherwise, poor 2016
  10. Chris Gimenez – solid framer, poor offense
  11. Eric Fryer, Below average framer, otherwise solid D, gets on base

  12. Brayan Pena – injury filled 2016, decent in most areas

  13. Juan Centeno – bad framer, decent D solid offensively in 2016
  14. Bryan Holaday – poor framer, otherwise decent D, below average bat

  15. Ramon Cabrera – inexperienced, poor framer, passable bat

  16. A.J Pierzynski – great career, terrible 2016, anything left?
  17. Hector Sanchez – below average D/framing, below average bat

  18. Steve Clevenger – poor framing, not much offense
  19. Nick Hundley – terrible defender in every regard, solid bat
  20. Jarrod Saltalamachia poor defender and framer, decent bat at times
  21. Wilin Rosario – back from Korea, is he even a catcher anymore?
  22. Josh Thole – Ya…

Free Agents but Starters:
Kurt Suzuki
Matt Wieters
Wilson Ramos
Welington Castilo

 After about number 10 on the list, minor league free agents should start being considered instead of the names below there.

As you can see, I’ve prioritized defense over offense, as I believe is appropriate for the position. Every name on this list has at least one obvious flaw but that’s why they’re backups. Offense is the flaw that matters least for a backup catcher. Whoever the Jays bring in is almost certain to perform better with the bat than Thole anyway.


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