The big story today is that the Royals and Miguel Olivo both exercised his $2.7MM option for next year, so Olivo will still be a Royal.
I’m a little surprised by this, mostly because I thought Olivo was pretty darn sure (“hell no!”) he wouldn’t remain in Kansas City after this season. But more than that, I’m relieved that the team won’t have to go shopping for a backstop this winter. Here’s a complete list of free agent catchers this offseason from MLB Trade Rumors:
Brad Ausmus (40)
Paul Bako (37)
Josh Bard (31)
Michael Barrett (32)
Gary Bennett (37) – $900K club option for ’09 with a $50K buyout
Henry Blanco (37)
Johnny Estrada (33)
Sal Fasano (37)
Toby Hall (33)
Paul Lo Duca (37) – Type B
Adam Melhuse (37)
Chad Moeller (34)
Ivan Rodriguez (37) – Type B
David Ross (32)
Javier Valentin (33)
Jason Varitek (37) – Type A
Vance Wilson (36)
Gregg Zaun (38) – Type B
Of those names,none really stand out to me as someone I’d want. Many, like Pudge Rodriguez, are in decline. Others, like Gregg Zaun, Paul Bako and Sal Fasano*, have been with the Royals before and are well past their prime compared to the catchers KC has now.
*Side note about Fasano. In the summer of 2007, I found someone on Facebook who was allegedly David DeJesus. It obviously wasn’t DDJ, just someone pretending to be him, but one thing I remember about the fake profile was that one of the only groups “DeJesus” was in was “Put Sal Fasano on the Ballot for the 2007 MLB All-Star Game.” Random!
Moving along in the list, I feel that Varitek would be too expensive. Lo Duca was booted to the minors far part of this year and wouldn’t be an improvement. Michael Barrett seems to have a fallen off a statistical cliff after his very good 2006 season.
So yeah. It’s a pretty uninspiring free agent market for catchers. To let Olivo part ways with the Royals would create a difficult task.
MID-POST UPDATE: Since starting this post, the Kansas City Star has expanded its story about Olivo’s retention to include the news that Olivo will be the Royals’ #1 catcher for 2009. Interesting.
Elsewhere in the Royals roster:
Matt Tupman and Yasuhiko Yabuta outrighted to Omaha. I’m glad the team has ended – at least temporarily – the Yabuta-as-a-Major-Leaguer experiement. Dutton referred to him as an “expensive whiff” at this point, and I agreed with that assessment a long time before he wrote it.
As for Tupman being moved, I’m not surprised. He didn’t show enough improvement through his mid- to later 20s to warrant staying on the 40-man. His shoulder problems didn’t help, and at this point Brayan Pena deserves the roster spot instead. I had hoped that Pena would be given a shot in September, but I can wait until Spring Training to see what he can do.
And farewell to Angel Sanchez. He certainly had – and still has – potential to be a nice middle infielder at some point, but is injury-prone so I don’t blame the Royals for not pushing to hold on to him. The way to build organizational depth in the middle infield is not to fill roster spaces with guys who get hurt often and carry a light bat when they do play. I wish him the best with the Blue Jays.