Now that the whole league has officially entered the offseason, the time has come to talk of other things: of shoes and ships and sealing wax and who the Texas Rangers’ catcher will be next season.
With A.J. Pierzynski now on the market as a free agent, Yu Darvish doesn’t have anybody to throw to. Trying to play baseball without a catcher could potentially lead to some complications down the road so here are a few free agents who I think the Rangers should consider signing.
McCann has done extremely well over the last 9 years for the Atlanta Braves. He is a 7-time All Star and 5-time Silver Slugger. The 29-year-old catcher has a career batting average right in the middle of the pack at .277, although he did have a fluke year in 2006 where he hit .333 and also blasted a single season-high 24 home runs.
Behind the plate he is a brick wall and had a .997 fielding percentage this past season. Brian McCann is one guy I see who has a lot of potential to be a leader on this Rangers squad.
Salty has already played for the Rangers (2007-2010) in his career. Although he didn’t put up numbers of any value while playing for Texas, in recent years with the Red Sox he has seen a dramatic increase in his ability to hit for power.
This past season he hit .273 with 14 home runs and 65 RBIs. These stats are very comparable to Pierzynksi’s .272 average, 17 home runs and 70 RBIs this season.
John Farrell was a believer in Saltalamacchia this year as he started the majority of ball games for the 2013 World Series Champions Boston Red Sox. If Texas is looking for a player to replace A.J. Pierzynski this might be the best guy for the job.
I would be a little bit disappointed if the Texas Rangers passed up on McCann and Saltalamacchia and instead decided to sign John Buck, but he is significant enough that it’s worth the time to evaluate him.
Buck isn’t going to blow anybody away with any aspect of his game. He’s a pretty good defensive catcher as he only had 4 errors behind the plate this year. On offense, his career batting average stands at just .234 but he does have 133 home runs.
He was an early season pick up for my Fantasy Baseball team, but a player who was quickly dropped due to his inability to produce. Buck is a guy whom the Rangers can stick somewhere in the second half of their order and hope that every once in a while he comes up with a good hit, but he’s not the player McCann or Salty would be.
Everyone expects the Rangers to come out on Opening Day in the spring and continue to be a dominant team in the American League. However, they have a few loose ends to their lineup that need to be tidied up before the first game. Finding a starting catcher is definitely a big goal for Texas this offseason but so is re-signing closer Joe Nathan and right fielder Nelson Cruz.
This will be a very familiar looking starting 9 for the Rangers but keep an eye out for at least one new face in the lineup next year.
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