White Sox Desperately Need to Upgrade Catcher Position
By Matt Manetti
The White Sox will need an upgrade at catcher this offseason. Alex Avila is a free agent leaving Omar Narvaez as the only catcher going into 2017.
The Chicago White Sox have some work to do this offseason and one of those areas is catcher. Omar Narvaez is the only one under contract who has some major league experience. The team traded Dioner Navarro and Alex Avila is a free agent. With a solid pitching staff, this organization will need to make the necessary upgrade at the position.
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I wrote earlier the Sox would be wise to look into Matt Wieters in the offseason. His bat and defense would be an upgrade. However, there are other options in free agency. They do have Zack Collins in their system, but it’s not likely he’ll be ready for next season. Until then, they would be wise to bring someone in for the interim.
Another name could be Wilson Ramos of the Washington Nationals. Ramos had a solid season, batting .307 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs. Much better than all three of the catchers the White Sox used all season. At 29, he definitely has some good years ahead of him. And it’s possible his offensive numbers would improve in a hitter friendly park. However, he tore his ACL near the end of the season, and could miss most of next season.
Another option would be to plan on having Narvaez break camp as the starter and then bring in a veteran catcher as a backup. There are veterans available, such as; A.J. Pierzynski and Kurt Suzuki. Pierzynski was a fan favorite when he was with the White Sox and even won the World Series with them in 2005.
If they decided to go a different route, then certainly a guy like Ramos would be beneficial. Another top catcher would be Jonathan Lucroy. Lucroy had a great season for the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers. Lucroy didn’t have as great a batting average as Ramos, but he hit 24 home runs and had 81 RBIs while hitting a respectable .292. Lucroy has a $5.25 million team option however, and its highly unlikely the Rangers won’t pick up this option.
Narvaez wouldn’t be a terrible option. He’s only 24 and didn’t do a bad job managing the pitching staff. There’s no reason why the kid shouldn’t get a shot to be the starter. Because this team has other areas of need, they can’t afford to spend huge to upgrade catcher.
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There are plenty of options, and any move should help upgrade the position. The biggest question needing answering is whether they give the kid a shot or bring in someone with more experience?Either way, something needs to be done so they can scratch catcher off their lists of needs.