With the acquisitions of Carlos Beltran and Jeff Keppinger, the Giants have (kind of) fulfilled their needs at catcher and middle infield; the focus, of course, has now shifted to the Giants’ biggest weakness: catcher.
Since Buster Posey‘s injury, the Giants have gone (for the most part) with a Chris Stewart/Eli Whiteside duo behind the plate. Their production hasn’t been as horrendous as some would say (for example, they’ve hit .233/.333/.356 in July, which is fairly average production from the catching position in this depressed run environment); but overall, the Whiteside/Stewart combo carries a .220/.306/.337 (.285 wOBA) line on the season, and the Giants certainly stand to benefit from an upgrade behind the plate.
So who’s out there?
Ronny Paulino: As the Mets’ backstop, Paulino’s having a pretty nice season, hitting .294/.325/.375 (96 OPS+) in 51 games. He’s only 30 years old, and a career .275/.328/.382 (87 OPS+) hitter, so he seems like a fair bet to continue being a somewhat productive catcher over the rest of the season. And for what it’s worth, based on catcher defense ratings from 2010 and 2011, his defense seems pretty acceptable. He’s under cost control for another year in 2012, so he could serve as the backup catcher next year; one of the best reasonable options out there, though Sandy Alderson has said he’s done making trades.
Miguel Olivo: Under contract through 2012 (with a team option in 2013), though as a Mariner, he’s probably available (at least, I haven’t heard otherwise). By all accounts, he’s an awful hitter, with miserable career walk (4.2%) and strikeout (26.3%) rates, but he’s got enough power such that he’s not entirely worthless (career .180 ISO). Defensively, he’s notoriously bad at pitch-blocking, but is also quite adept at throwing out would-be basestealers. It’s depressing to say, as his plate approach is truly terrible, but he’d be an upgrade for the Giants.
Ivan Rodriguez: Pass.
Chris Iannetta: Similar contract situation to that of Miguel Olivo, and the Rockies are looking to move him. He’s hitting .220/.375 /.402 (102 OPS+) on the season, and has a career OPS+ of 99. He’s no defensive stud, but he’s one of the best options out there. As a member of a division rival, it’d be interesting to see. The Giants haven’t traded with the Rockies since 1998.
Ramon Hernandez: In all aspects, an above-average defensive catcher, and he’s mashing at the plate this year to the tune of a .308/.368/.502 line. With Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan, I’ve got to think that makes Hernandez expendable (especially considering that he’s only under contract for this season). The latest update, via Henry Schulman, indicates that he is potentially available (in exchange for a pitcher).
Mike Napoli: Yeah….not happening.
Yorvit Torrealba: The Giants should have traded Santiago Casilla for Torrealba when they had the chance, though they wanted the Rangers to cover some (or all?) of his contract for 2012. He’s hitting .261/.297/.385 (82 wRC+) over 274 PAs this season, which is in line with his career wRC+ of 82.
Rod Barajas: He’s been dreadful at the plate this year (.212/.262/.379) as he has throughout his entire career for that matter (.237/.282/.410). He’s got nice power, but I don’t even know if he’s worth pursuing.