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A reason for optimism at the backup C position? Nope. We're screwed.

I've got this feeling in the pit of my stomach, the very depths, that your backup catcher for the 2008 Red Sox is going to be Doug Mirabelli. I really forsee only two situations where this would not be the case:

  1. Wake decides he is unable to pitch and retires.
  2. We get a dependable defensive C in a trade.
Why only a trade? Let's take a look at 'Belli vs. some of the FA options (select 'C' from the second pulldown menu. Yep. There ya go.)

I've eliminated several players from my analysis. Those who are starters (Michael Barrett, Jorge Posada, Paul Lo Duca), those who were starters, aren't anymore, but think they still are (Jason Kendall, Rod Barajas), those who aren't starters but think they are (Ramon Castro, Yorvit Torrealba). Others were chopped off for more obvious reasons.

Our remaining competitors: Paul Bako, Gary Bennett (StL team option), Mike DiFelice, Jason LaRue, Damian Miller, Jose Molina, Kelly Stinnett (and 'Belli)

2007 RC/G:

  • Bako: 2.2
  • Bennett: 2.9
  • DiFelice: 3.1
  • LaRue: 1.9
  • Miller: 3.2
  • Molina (combined): 3.1
  • Stinnett: 1.5
  • 'Belli: 3.1
Let's narrow the field. Everyone who creates less than 3 runs per game, pack your stuff.
  • DiFelice: .345 BABIP, 3 XBHs, by far best season since 2003 in Kansas City. Pass.
  • Miller: Has actually been 4+ most of his career. .274 BABIP in 2007 vs. a career mark of .318. Bad luck? Decline? Old age? Product of sporadic playing time? Probably a combination of all. Shouldn't be written off entirely.
  • Molina: I'm pretty sure the Yankees will match anything but a silly offer to resign him, as the backup C position for the Yanks had been a bottomless pit of crap for years before he came aboard. Nonetheless, 3.1 is in line with his career average, and despite a good 29 games with the Yankees at the end of the season (102 OPS+), I expect him to be right there for at least the next few seasons.
  • Mirabelli: Oh how he spoiled us from 2001-2005. (OPS + of 126 {partial}, 88, 92, 124!, 87) He still has the longball in him, and it's my opinion that he's better against the running game (Wake not included) than Jason Varitek is. He blocks the plate well. He knows our system and how we do things. He loves playing in Boston.
These are meaningful and meaningless platitudes all, but maybe I've even convinced myself of what I tried to convince people all summer. There isn't a whole lot better out there folks. I've been guilty of it myself, everytime he strikes out or GIDPs, I sit wondering why we can't find someone more productive at that position. The reality of the catching market is that those better than he (and especially, those who are younger as well), aren't backups. They become starters on teams that don't have a "franchise catcher". Unless such a trade goes down before then, expect a look at some interesting trade options within the next couple of days. At least, more interesting than replacing Dougie Fresh with Damian Miller.