The Colorado Rockies should make the catcher position a top priority this off-season as they assess their roster for the 2015 season and beyond.
New Rockies’ general manager Jeff Bridich was a catcher at Harvard. That part about him going to Harvard seems to have been an object of fascination since his hiring, but his former position on the field could be relevant almost immediately as he starts assessing the Rockies’ roster.
Saunders writes the following about the Rockies’ situation at catcher:
"Bridich has not discussed any specifics regarding his first offseason as the big boss, but I’m quite certain he has paid close attention to the Rockies’ situation behind the plate. He knows what Wilin Rosario and Michael McKenry can and can’t do.And, yes, he knows that Pirates catcher Russell Martin will soon be a free agent — a very costly free agent.Above all, Bridich is acutely aware how important a quality catcher is to a winning baseball team."
Until Russell Martin has signed with a team, he will be a hot topic for the Rockies. Rightfully so; he feels like an even better fit at catcher than either of the guys the Rockies pursued last off-season (Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz).
In case there is any doubt that the Rockies need a new everyday catcher in 2015, consider this: Rosario posted a 0.7 fWAR season in 106 games in 2014, thanks in part to his abysmal defense and in part to a down year at the plate. If not for an uncharacteristically great season from Michael McKenry, who slashed .315/.398/.512 and was a 1.7 fWAR player, the Rockies might have struggled to get replacement level production at catcher.
Also, I think we can all agree that their collective defense, even if only because of Rosario, was well below replacement level. The Rockies’ defense at catcher was down in a deep, dark dungeon well below replacement level, a place that Yadier Molina has only heard about in scary stories around a campfire.
Rosario’s plus power from the right side of the plate is no longer an argument to keep him. There is no fit for the ‘Baby Bull’ on the Rockies, and they need to get aggressive about moving on. McKenry can be fine as a back-up, but we should all be weary of getting too excited over his performance last season.
Even if they don’t land the big fish in Russell Martin, they need to cut bait and move on with Rosario and find a different answer behind the plate.