Since Pudge Rodriguez left in 2003, the Rangers’ search for an elite, full-time catcher has resembled an Uptown 20-something’s love life. Lots of singles. Often messy. Too many cups of coffee with too many names we can’t remember. And mostly, nothing permanent.
A roll call, if you have a minute?
In Rangers’ catching lore there has been Jim Sundberg, Pudge and then …
Sandy Alomar Jr. Einar Diaz. Gerald Laird. Rod Barajas. Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Taylor Teagarden. Mike Napoli. Matt Treanor. Bengie Molina. Yorvit Torrealba. A.J. Pierzynski. Geovany Soto. Robinson Chirinos. Carlos Corporan. Chris Giminez.
There was a time when the Rangers were so overloaded at the position that they attempted to make blue-chip prospect Max Ramirez into a 3rd baseman. But now? Watching Buster Posey with the Giants in 2014 and the Royals’ Salvador Perez this fall reminded that the Rangers are woefully short of having an elite catcher.
They went to consecutive World Series with Molina and Torrealba behind the plate, so we’re not talking about the next Pudge. But, um, where’s the next Torrealba even?
I didn’t see enough in the current crop of Giminez or Chirinos to believe they are the answer. And the free-agent catching pool appears thin, led by a 30-year-old still recovering from Tommy John surgery (the Orioles’ Matt Wieters) and a 29-year-old who is considered only an average defender (the Tigers’ Alex Avila).
I’m not sure who is the Rangers’ catcher of the future. Let’s hope Jon Daniels has a plan. Because for too long the position has suffered the fate of a patchwork afterthought.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.