Catching market starting to thin out for the Brewers
First, Yasmani Grandal signed with the Chicago White Sox. Then, Travis d’Arnaud signed with the Atlanta Braves. Now, Stephen Vogt will join the Arizona Diamondbacks. Is there any catchers left for the Milwaukee Brewers to sign?
The starting catcher market is starting to thin out, and the Milwaukee Brewers may be stuck with the leftovers if they don’t move quickly. Yasmani Grandal left the market over a week ago when he signed a four-year deal with the White Sox. Travis d’Arnaud signed with the Braves a few days later on a two-year deal. Stephen Vogt inked a one-year deal worth $3 million with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday evening. His deal is said to include a vesting option that would make it a two-year deal worth about $7 million.
Is there anyone left to start for the Milwaukee Brewers?
Who’s still on the free agent market
There are a few options on the free agent market that may make sense for the Brewers, but not too many.
Jason Castro is probably the biggest name still available at catcher in free agency. He’s capable of smashing right-handed pitching, but should not, under any circumstances, start against a left-hander. He hasn’t been linked anywhere yet, but he may find a team quickly now that the market is moving. He’ll likely want a two-year deal, but should get less than the $16 million d’Arnaud signed for.
Robinson Chirinos is also on the open market still, and is a capable option. He’ll turn 36 next year and he’s coming off the best year of his professional career. He also played a career high 114 games last year plus a deep playoff run. He’s not an every day option, and would be better served as a back up catcher / DH against lefties than starting every day.
Francisco Cervelli, Matt Wieters, and Yan Gomes are also still available. Of that group, Gomes is the most intriguing for the Brewers. Gomes is a righty who hits lefties well, but he’s capable of handling over 100 games behind the plate as a starter. Few catchers left on the free agent market can handle the same workload.
How about the trade market?
Omar Narvaez is the only name at catcher generating rumors at the moment. Willson Contreras is also rumored to be available, but it’s hard to see the Chicago Cubs moving him to an in-division rival like the Brewers.
The Brewers were never going to give Grandal four years, a two-year deal for d’Arnaud might look silly if he gets hurt again, and missing out on Vogt is barely a miss. The Brewers may not have a starting catcher right now, but a trade for Narvaez or a one-year deal for Castro or Gomes makes more sense for the Brewers. The catching market is a bit thinner than it was when the off season started, but there’s a lot of time left for GM David Stearns to find an acceptable ‘Plan B’ or ‘Plan C’. Let’s just hope it isn’t Wieters.