I think this conversation show just how much the catcher position is undervalued. there are at least a handful of FA pitcher options that would improve the O's. but there isn't a single FA catcher that would improve the O's.
I looked into this a couple months ago and it really is open to one's interpretation. For example, in the history of the game guys like Bench, Dickey, Fisk and Berra stand out as top tier guys but none is anyone's first choice in building a team around. Maybe Bench. Further, in recent memory guys like Pudge and Piazza stood out but again I don't see them as cornerstones of champions. Pudge was a superb complement on some good teams but once more he's not my first choice to build a team around. The only guys in the past I think a team built around were Bench and Gary Carter.
On the best Orioles teams was Etchebarren, Elrod or Dempsey a vital element in the team's success? Dempsey is probably the O's greatest catcher ever and we all love the guy for many things including his WS MVP but Palmer and others spoke of how Skaggs caught a better game. Why did Dempsey get shutout of mgmt opportunities after his Dodgers AAA stint?
I think much of our admiration for the position of catcher goes back to our childhood memories of dirty, bruised teammates who wore the gear and played the most difficult position in little league. But MLB is not little league, and few guys who play catcher in the ML impact with thier bats for an extended period.
To some, the position of catcher is team captain. He's the guy who keeps the pitcher focused and he's the guy who deals with the homeplate umpire but is any ML catcher that guy? By the majors, the coaches and manager are in control and the adolescent sandlot rough and tumble backstop is outgrown by necessity.
Bottomline on all this is you have to trade the chips that do not fit into your long term plans for those that do. And, you can't hold onto guys until its convenient to do otherwise. This offseason, Wieters, Matusz and Norris together might get you a return you can work with. Would those three together bring you a frontline starting pitcher in return? I think so.
Is the position of catcher undervalued....or overvalued?
The ideal program for '14 though is to keep Matt, move Ohlman thru the upper rungs of the minors and find at bats for both Joseph and Clevenger to see if either can be in the long term plans for the ball club. Then, in July if the O's are struggling, you move Joseph up, platoon him with Clevenger and hope one of them works in tandem with Ohlman in '15. But if Matt continues to perform like he did last summer, he might get a lot less in return than you'd like.
To me Matt and Matusz are at their trade peak right now. Throw in Britton and you might have something to show for two top ten draft choices and a supplemental first rounder after 2014.
Edited by weenie, 24 October 2013 - 04:06 PM.