Friday, September 11, 2009

Brewers Catchers for 2010

The Milwaukee Brewers’ season has been unofficially over for more than a month now. With the September call-ups joining the club, it’s time for Brewers management to take stock of the talent they have at each position in order to start the transition into the off season and prepare for 2010. Over the next few weeks, I’ll do the same thing here at BPBSports. Let’s start with catcher.

Incumbent starter Jason Kendall is scheduled to become a free agent after the season but has expressed an interest in returning to the Brewers for 2010. Back-up catcher Mike Rivera is salary arbitration eligible and also expressed an interest in returning to the club, but he seems to prefer the starting job. Kendall is an average hitter (source: here) and above average defender. Rivera has not been given the chance to prove whether he is an every day catcher. Kendall, 35 years old, and Rivera, 33 years old, are advanced in baseball age and do not provide a long-term solution for the Brewers at the catcher position.

Brett Lawrie, the Brewers’ first round pick in 2008 (16th overall), showed interest in staying at catcher, which was part of the reason the Brewers selected Lawrie. Once Lawrie joined the Brewers after competing in the World Baseball Classic for Canada, he changed his mind on playing catcher and elected to play second base. In 2009, Lawrie split time between A and AA where he hit .274 and .269 respectively (source: here).

The only other catcher on the Brewers 40-man roster is Angel Salome. At 23 years of age, Salome is quite a bit younger than Kendall and Rivera. He has appeared in only three major league games, and only as a pinch hitter. In 2008 at AA Huntsville, Salome hit .360 in 411 at bats (source: here). The Brewers promoted Salome to AAA Nashville in 2009 but he battled injuries and he hit only .286 in 314 at bats (source: here).

The Brewers are in a difficult position that will most likely require them to bring back both Kendall and Rivera as short-term solutions. The Brewers should give Salome every chance to earn the starting job in spring training, though. If for some reason Salome’s not ready at that point, I’d rather see him go back to the minors for a while where he can catch every day until he is ready. The Brewers are so thin at catcher that they should force Lawrie to play catcher. That would give the Brewers options to choose between Salome and Lawrie as their long-term solution at catcher unless they make a move outside the farm system. In the mean time, with the potential free agents available at catcher slim, get used to Kendall and Rivera for 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment