It's official, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a free man after clearing waivers Tuesday. And the Miami Marlins may just be in the market for a strong backup catcher as their options are limited to offensively challenged Jeff Mathis and career minor-leaguer Jhonatan Solano. Is it time for the Marlins to hit the trade market and attempt to acquire a quality backup?
One thing is for sure, J.T. Realmuto has emerged as the starting catcher. Ever since being called up Relamuto has showed tremendous skill in all facets of the game, and has actually been considered a clubhouse leader. Pitchers love to throw to him and the team loves his offensive boost. That being said, a more tenured veteran could be beneficial to Realmuto's development as a player.
So what exactly is out there? One viable option is Cubs catcher Wellington Castillo. Castillo's name has been thrown around in many conversations due to the fact the Cubs acquired both Miguel Montero and David Ross this offseason. Another benefit is Castillo is currently entering the final year of his contract and is only due $2.4M this year. Castillo falls into a category with many average catchers with average offensive and defensive production. Castillo is cheap, and can be a potential force in the Marlins offense.
Journeyman catcher Erik Kratz knows what's it's like to bounce around the league. Splitting time between three clubs in 2014, Kratz was in and out of Triple-A all season long but finally stuck in Kansas City. The five-year veteran is controllable through 2018. At his age 34, and his experience a player like Kratz could have a good influence on a younger player like Realmuto. Add in his cheap contract and his many years of control, a deal for Kratz could be beneficial.
Another viable option is Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro. Navarro has been seeking a starting job since the Jays inked Russel Martin in the offseason. Teams such as the Detroit Tigers have been linked to Navarro but nobody could finish the deal leaving Navarro out of options and stuck in Toronto. While his chances of starting in Miami would be low, he would get more time than he is currently seeing with the Blue Jays.
The Rockies were shopping catcher Wilin Rosario this winter. With Nick Hundley now taking over the catching responsibilities in Denver, Rosario is easily expendable. While he doesn't offer the leadership opportunities some of the other candidates posses, he has tremendous upside and could possibly be another big bat in the Miami lineup.
While the Marlins are in no dire situation to make a move for a catcher, acquiring one would make sense. There are no minor-league catching prospects within the organization. The trade deadline is a long ways down the road, but now could be the time to make a move minor or major.