Red Sox Reportedly Targeting Outside Options At Catcher

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 07: Ryan Doumit #41 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws to first base during the Opening Day game against the Colorado Rockies on April 7, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Boston Red Sox are looking at external options at the catcher position.  The team is becoming more and more skeptical that the tandem of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek will be able to carry the load the whole season.

Rosenthal metions that the Red Sox have made contact with free agent catcher Bengie Molina.  Molina spent time with the world champion Giants before being traded to the Texas Rangers in July, and hasn't played since last season when he hit .249/.297/.326 with five homers and 36 RBI. Molina caught 118 games between the Giants and Rangers and threw out 24% of baserunners.

I would prefer that the Sox would take a pass on Mr. Molina, as I personally think Salty and Tek' can put up these numbers.  The Red Sox apparently see my point and are "not ready to move on him."  Rosenthal points out that Molina has a tremendous game calling ability as well as playoff experience, but he's Jason Varitek with a slightly better bat.

Rosenthal acknowledges that the trade market for a catcher is pretty thin at the moment.  Here's more:

The Sox are cool on the Nationals' Ivan Rodriguez, the Royals' Jason Kendall is on the 60-day DL and the Pirates would rather trade the more offensively oriented Ryan Doumit than Chris Snyder, sources say.

Like Molina, I personally don't think the Sox should view Kendall or Pudge as upgrades to the Tek/Salty duo at this point.  However the Pirates catchers seem very intriguing to me. 

Doumit is a career .267/.332/.439 switch hitter.  Doumit over his career has only averaged a 25% CS percentage, which is slightly higher than Varitek (24%) and Saltalamacchia (21%).  However, his bat would certainly be a upgrade to either of them.

Snyder was obtained last year by the Pirates from the Arizona Diamondbacks last year and has done quite well for Pittsburgh.  Snyder is currently swinging a .300/.390/.400 bat for the Pirates this season.  He's also owns a career 30% CS percentage.  Though that number has declined since 2009, he would certainly be able to nab more runners than Saltalamachia or Varitek could.

Rosenthal also touches on the Angels' Jeff Mathis, whom we just saw a few days ago.  Mathis can be described as a solid defensive catcher, but only swings a career .199/.262/.311 bat.  Mathis however has only thrown out 23% of base runners in his career.

To be fair, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has shown signifficant improvement with his bat this season at times, but he still poses a defensive liability.  I think it's fair to say that Salty will be playing for his spot the next few months leading up to that July 31 Trade Deadline.

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