Padres’ Priorities: Catcher
Our veteran catcher Josh Bard took the free agency route recently. The rookie catcher Luke Carlin was moved off the 40-man roster. That leaves the highly-regarded Nick Hundley. This year was a bad year for our catchers. Both Michael Barrett and Bard had minimal playing time, as they were injured the majority of the year. As a result, Nick and Luke got a lot of playing time. Luke was not-so-good. He had decent catching, but slumped badly at the plate. He was 14-for-94. Nick was definitely better. He was a great defensive catcher, and the pitchers were comfortable with him. He also faired pretty well at the plate, hitting 5 home runs with 24 batted in. He did have a lot more playing time than Luke, catching 60 games to Luke’s 36. The most exciting part about Nick is his ability to snag baserunners. He has a good arm, and great release to second. I think he will definitely be on the Opening Day roster.
But he needs an experienced veteran catcher at his side. While Bardo was on the DL, he took Nick under his wing. But now that Bardo is gone, we need another catcher. Yesterday, 65 players filed for free agency. Among them were catchers Jason Varitek, Paul Lo Duca, and Ivan Rodriguez. Now, I have no idea how much money the Padres are willing to sign a free agent to (probably not much). They might get a catcher through a trade. But I tell you what, there is a great crop of free agent catchers floating around out there. I hope the Padres take a look at these guys at least.
Other notable free agents are Manny Ramirez, Greg Maddux, Joe Beimel, Derek Lowe, Ben Sheets, Bob Abreu, and Milton Bradley. It will be a very interesting offseason…