Posted By Jeff Fletcher on July 31, 2011 1:52 pm
The Giants came up empty in their search for a catcher before today’s trading deadline, but they will certainly keep looking.
The obvious primary target is Ramon Hernandez. I doubt that he’d get through waivers. To be traded, a player doesn’t have to clear all 29 teams, just those who come higher in the wavier priority than the team that’s trying to acquire him. The order of waiver claims goes like this: all the way through his current league, in reverse order of standings, then all the way through the other league, in reverse order of standings. For the Giants to get Hernandez, no team in the NL with a worse record than the Giants could claim him.
I assume the Pirates would claim Hernandez. Their starting catcher Ryan Doumit is out, and they’ve been using Michael McKenry, whose .644 OPS is worse than Eli Whiteside’s .682. (Also, he apparently doesn’t know how to get a guy called out at home, even when he tags him.) Anyway, Hernandez would be an upgrade for the Pirates. He knows the NL Central. He wouldn’t cost much. (Hernandez is due $1 million for the rest of the season.)
I think the Brewers might also give Hernandez a shot. Jonathan Lucroy has been pretty good, so Hernandez would be a marginal upgrade.
The Braves are ahead of the Giants at the moment, but just by one game. If they slip behind the Giants, and if Brian McCann doesn’t come back as quickly as hoped, they could also jump on Hernandez and block him from the Giants.
After that, there really aren’t too many catchers out there who would be an offensive upgrade on Whiteside/Stewart. What’s left are other guys who don’t hit much, but at least have more experience behind the plate. If the Giants are just looking for someone like that, there are some choices: Rod Barajas, Gerald Laird, Yorvit Torrealba.
Then there’s the big name in that little subset, the catcher equivalent of Orlando Cabrera … Pudge Rodriguez.
The Nationals almost certainly have no use for him, with Wilson Ramos. He’d also have to clear waivers, and the Pirates could claim him, too, but he’s obviously less attractive than Hernandez. Pudge is on the DL right now with a strained oblique, but he’s expected back soon.
Can’t you just hear the press conference with the Giants getting Pudge, though?
“This is an MVP, a guy who has won a World Series, a guy who has won Gold Gloves … yada yada yada.”