Market For Catchers Too High For Arizona Diamondbacks


Trading Miguel Montero, in my opinion, was a good move for the Arizona Diamondbacks. It freed up $40 million in payroll that will be very valuable to the team as they look to become serious contenders in the near future. The one minor problem to that trade is Arizona has very little depth at the catcher position.

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When the Diamondbacks traded Montero to the Cubs, General Manager Dave Stewart was planning on acquiring another, more cheaper catcher. Apparently, the current market for catchers is too high for Stewart’s liking.

Earlier in the offseason, it was being reported that Arizona had interest in Dioner Navarro, Alex Avila, Welington Castillo and David Ross. Ross is now signed with the Cubs and there have been no progress made with other catchers listed above.

In an interview with Nick Piecoro of AZ Central, Stewart had this to say about the current catcher situation:

"“We’ve not made a whole lot of headway in that area yet. Without really giving up something that’s going to cost us a player that we don’t want to give away, we don’t have a whole lot of motion yet.”"

Stewart also thinks that teams know Arizona is very weak at catcher and are trying to leverage the Diamondbacks into giving up their best prospects and top players in return for one. Something Stewart has no interest in doing.

Which brings me to what Arizona currently has in terms of catchers. The Diamondbacks acquired catcher Oscar Hernandez in the 2014 Rule 5 draft. Hernandez only has single A experience under his belt, though.

During the 2014 season, the Diamondbacks acquired catching prospect Peter O’Brien via trade that sent Martin Prado to the New York Yankees.

Stewart has said that O’Brien is the catcher of the future, but he isn’t quite ready yet for full time major league action. O’Brien has good power that will likely shine at hitter friendly Chase Field, but it’s his defense that really needs work.

Stewart has also said that the team expects O’Brien to make it to the majors sometime during the upcoming 2015 season. Even when he does make the team, whether it be this year or next, Arizona is in desperate need of decent catcher that can fill the void until O’Brien is ready to take on the full time duties behind the plate.

As of right now, it’s looking like last year’s backup, Tuffy Gosewisch, will be the everyday starter. Gosewisch doesn’t have much time under his belt in the majors, but he does have a good defensive game. It’s his offense that is the issue.

In 129 at-bats during the 2014 season, Gosewisch only hit .225, .242 OBP and .553 OPS. Stewart is well aware of this and believes that his team has a strong enough offense to make up for the lack of production at the catcher position.

Personally, I think Stewart has done the right thing to not bite on a deal and give up top players when O’Brien (and other prospects) will be ready very soon. The Diamondbacks have a bright future with their upcoming prospects and freed up payroll, so, if that means having an off year at the catcher position, I’ll happily wait it out knowing what’s on the horizon.