July 14, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach (10) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Free Agent Catching Targets

With the impending loss of David Ross, the Braves are now looking for a quality back-up catcher.  This is usually not a big deal, but with Brian McCann‘s injury likely leaving him out of the lineup until May, the Braves need a catcher able to hit enough to play everyday.  Here are a few guys that could fill that role.

  • Dioner Navarro – The switch-hitting 29-year-old is coming off a decent season as the backup for the Reds.  However, over the past four years, he’s hit a poor .215/.270/.323, and I’m not sure if that’s enough to warrant the main backup spot.  He is better from the right side, which serves well when McCann comes back.

  • Kelly Shoppach – The 33-year-old is a three-true-outcome guy, especially when you include his ability to get hit by pitches.  Over the past four years, he’s hit .206/.307/.380, showing the strikeouts and good power.
  • Yorvit Torrealba – The 34-year-old has been on the decline the past couple years, but has still hit .268/.323/.378 the past four seasons.  He doesn’t wow you with any skill, but he doesn’t hurt you either.
  • Gerald Laird – The 33-year-old has adjusted to the backup role the past couple years, but has hit .231/.299/.329 the past four years.  While his CS% is 35% for his career, he’s only thrown out 19% the past two years.
  • Chris Snyder – The 32-year-old has been hampered by injuries and high strikeout totals the last few years.  He’s hit .205/.323/.355 the past four years, but his worst season was this past year for Houston.
  • Rod Barajas – The 37-year-old had a terrible 2012, so he may be a stretch for this spot.  He’s hit .225/.277/.405 the past four years, but much worse this past year.  He also only threw out 6 of 99 baserunners this year, though Pittsburgh pitchers are not known for holding runners.
  • Miguel Olivo – The 34-year-old probably possesses the worst plate discipline in the game, striking out six times for every walk, leading to a .241/.276/.427 line the past four years.  He has enough power to warrant a job, but that is also sliding.

I did not include Mike Napoli, Russell Martin, or A.J. Pierzynski in this list, since they will likely command full-time positions, and the Braves don’t have the money to pay for such a player unless they trade McCann.  Out of the list above, I would personally take Shoppach or Laird, with Navarro and Torrealba at the next tier.  Losing Ross is a tough blow, but losing a backup catcher should not be a season killer.

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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