With Travis d’Arnaud and Yasmani Grandal now off the board, teams could turn to the San Diego Padres for catching help.
The market for catchers has been on fire recently, and that could increase the chances that the San Diego Padres make a move soon.
In the past week, the Chicago White Sox have signed the top free agent catcher in Yasmani Grandal to a four-year $73 million deal, while the Atlanta Braves signed possibly the second-best free agent catcher in Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year $16 million contract.
For teams who are looking to acquire a catcher this offseason, two of the biggest names are now off the board.
That could force those teams to turn their attention to the trade market where the Padres have some intriguing trade candidates.
The most obvious of the group is Austin Hedges who is set to make close to $3 million in 2020 and is under team control for three more seasons.
Despite only hitting .176 in 102 games this past season, there will be a number of teams interested in Hedges this offseason.
And the reason teams will be want to take a chance on Hedges is because he’s considered by many as the best defensive catcher in the league.
Teams will also think that they can make him into an average hitter, especially if you take him out of Petco Park.
Plus, the other free agent catchers out there aren’t very attractive. You might as well take a chance on a young and inexpensive player like Hedges who has some upside.
But Austin Allen is another young catcher with years of control that could draw some interest from other teams.
He’s hit 20 or more home runs for three straight seasons in the Minor Leagues.
The same can be said for Luis Torrens who is even younger and had an OPS of .873 last season at Triple-A.
Francisco Mejia appears to be the future catcher for the Padres and I would be shocked if the Padres considered trading him.
They also have Luis Campusano coming up through the system.
Point being, the Padres have a lot of good, young depth at catcher. And as the free agent market for catchers thins out, don’t be surprised if teams start calling A.J. Preller trying to take from that depth.
What do you think? Could a Padres catcher be on the move pretty soon? Which one are you most willing to part with? Let us know in the comments below.