Pick a catcher, any catcher

The Astros shut Jason Castro down on Sunday after a long 2009 season. Castro remains on target to help the Astros at some point next year, but it’s likely the Astros will have to sign a veteran catcher to help bridge the gap. Kind of like last year when they signed Toby Hall, who was injured, and then signed Ivan Rodriguez later in the spring.

My colleague who covers the Rangers, T.R. Sullivan, has compiled a nice list of available free agents with some comments. Here are the catchers who could be out there. Maybe one of these guys will be wearing an Astros uniform in March? (excuse if some of these guys have already had options picked up/declined)

Bengie Molina – He is 35 but top catcher on the market.
Miguel Olivo – Royals have option on him but may look elsewhere
Yorvit Torrealba – Rockies hold an expensive option.
Ramon Hernandez – Watch to see if Reds decline option. Could be re-sign at lower price.
Brad Ausmus – He is 40. But did hit .295.
Ivan Rodriguez – He wants a two-year deal. Rangers unlikely to go that route.
Jason Kendall – He’s 35, wants to return to the Brewers.
Rod Barajas – The Jays will make an attempt to re-sign him.
Jose Molina – Probably stays with the Yankees as a caddy for Posada.
Gregg Zaun – Rays hold option on veteran part-time switch-hitter.
Brian Schnieder – Apparently won’t be back with Mets.
Paul Bako – Strictly a mediocre backup.
Jason LaRue – Ditto
Chad Moeller – Ditto, might return to Orioles
Ramon Castro – Backup catcher. White Sox don’t want him.
Henry Blanco – Nice backup catcher but is 38.
Mike Redmond – 38 and Twins career likely over



If the Astros are so sure Castro will be in the big leagues next season, why would they spend any money on a catcher? They might as well stick with Quintero and Towles until Jason does get the call, and save them some green in the process (green that they could invest in a 3rd base/starter/good bench player)

What are the chances of having Ausmus mentor Castro during the off season since they are both from Southern California? I know Ausmus has interest in coaching some day, and this could be a good way to get started.

I’d go after Miguel Olivo. He’s got some power and can help boost the offense.

I would like to see Ausmus back with the team as a backup. He could mentor Towles or Castro (Who should be with the team) and help mentor him through the season, plus it would be nice to see Ausmus retire as an Astro.

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