MLB free agency: Five starting catchers the A's could target originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com
Fortunately, it's a deep catcher market this offseason. Here are five potential names the A's could consider:
Why not begin with last year's starting catcher? Lucroy gave the A's exactly what they needed last season, from defense to clubhouse leadership. While his offensive numbers were a bit down, he still slashed .241/.291/.325 with four home runs and 51 RBI, sixth-most among American League catchers. Lucroy also led MLB with 31 runners caught stealing.
The 32-year-old earned $6.5 million last year, but Spotrac lists his current market value at just $2.3 million. Other teams might be scared off by his recent decrease in offensive production, but Lucroy's value goes far beyond the numbers.
McCann became a free agent last week when he was non-tendered by the Tigers. The 28-year-old is coming off the worst season of his career, slashing .220/.267/.314 with eight homers and 39 RBI. But the year before, McCann's slash line was a solid .253/.318/.415.
Like Lucroy, McCann is a stellar defensive catcher and knows how to manage a pitching staff. He earned $2.375 million last season and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to get $3.5 million in arbitration, making him affordable for the A's.
Wieters is a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner, though his production has declined the last two seasons. Still, he slashed a respectable .238/.330/.374 last year for the Nationals. He also threw out 37 percent of attempted base stealers, well above the league average of 28 percent.
Wieters, 32, earned $10.5 million last season but figures to get less than that in his next contract. Of course, with Scott Boras as his agent, he will still likely command a hefty sum.
The A's have become quite familiar with Maldonado the last two seasons with the Angels and Astros. The 32-year-old has never lit it up offensively but has always been solid behind the plate.
Last season, Maldonado slashed .225/.276/.351 with nine home runs and 44 RBI in 119 games between Los Angeles and Houston. More impressively, he led all of baseball with a 49 percent caught stealing rate. Maldonado earned $3.9 million last year, which Spotrac also lists as his current market value.
Finally, the A's could just look across the bay for a potential catching option. Hundley slashed .241/.298/.408 last season with the Giants, belting 10 home runs in just 96 games. However, the 35-year-old's defense is a bit of a concern, as he only threw out 21 percent of attempted base stealers in 2018.
Hundley earned $2.5 million last year and will certainly be affordable on the free agent market. He could, at the very least, split time with Phegley behind the plate in Oakland.