One of the big questions the Yankeeâ€™s have involves their rotationâ€¦ who will they be throwing to?
Russell Martin, who was the Yanks main catcher last year, is now a free agent. However, the free agent pool of catchers is pretty limited. Here is a breakdown of some of the more established catchers on the Market.
- Russell Martin. Heâ€™s been with the Yankees for the past two seasons and has gotten mixed results. He hit 21 homers last season which was a career high for Martin. However, he coupled that with a career low in batting average and on-base-percentage with .211/.311. A big reason Martinâ€™s numbers could have dipped was because he was swinging and missing a lot more this season, punching out a career high 95 times in 422 at bats. Martin proves pop and is familiar with the staff but, if his decline at the dish continues, he is on the verge of being an offensiveÂ liability.
- Mike Napoli. He is the complete opposite of Martin. Offensively, Napoli is a force. He hasnâ€™t hit less then 20 homers since 2007 and thatâ€™s even when he was still splitting time with the Angels. Over the last three years, heâ€™s hit 80 homers. The big downfall with Napoli is he isnâ€™t anywhere near the defensive catcher that others in this group are. Napoliâ€™s career high in defensive WAR, Wins Above Replacement, was 0.7 and that was back in 2006 when he only played 99 games. Last year his dWAR was -0.2.
- A. J. Pierzynski. He might be the most interesting of the group. For the first time in his 15 year career, A. J. hit over 20 homers. He has his second highest total in RBIâ€™s and is a far better overall hitter then Martin or Napoli. He is a career .284 hitter and has not hit below .270 in four years. In his 15 year career, Pierzynski has had a positive defensive WAR 13 times. The risk with A. J. is he has the most mileage on his knees and one must wonder if his offensive output was a flash in the pan.
After those three, the rest are all career back-ups. Sure the Yankees have some catching prospects, but there have been no signs that they are ready to start contributing at the major league level.
As in every offseason, there are always questions to be answered and personnel changing amongst teams. One of main concerns for the Yanks this offseason and in future seasons will be filling the catcherâ€™s position.