State of play: AL Catchers

H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

With several big-name catchers available on the free agent market, what is the state of the catching situation in the American League?

The free agent catching market is shaping up to be one of the most compelling stories of the hot stove season. The current crop of available backstops includes five former All-Stars, a Molina, and the starter from the defending World Champions. The Cincinnati Reds got things going by signing backup Brayan Pena on Friday, which prompted us to take a look at the state of NL catchers. Here is a look at the landscape in the AL, which is a bit more stable than in the NL:

Team Catcher 1 Catcher 2 Notes
Baltimore Orioles Matt Wieters Taylor Teagarden Wieters started 134 games behind plate in 2013, so backup catcher is a minor concern for the O's.
Boston Red Sox Open David Ross 2013 starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia is free agent; Sox rumored to be after McCann or Ruiz.
Chicago White Sox Tyler Flowers Josh Phegley 2013 OPS check: Flowers (603), Phegley (522)
Cleveland Indians Carlos Santana Yan Gomes Best-hitting catching duo in AL? Santana (832 OPS) and Gomes (826) might just be. Gomes is also a good defender.
Detroit Tigers Alex Avila Open 2013 backup Brayan Pena signed with the Reds; Bryan Holaday could be an in-house option to replace him.
Houston Astros Jason Castro Carlos Corporan Castro is the best catcher you've never heard of (4.5 bWAR in 2013).
Kansas City Royals Salvador Perez George Kottaras Perez posted a 757 OPS and won the AL Gold Glove.
Los Angeles Angels Chris Iannetta Hank Conger In-house options are solid, but not good enough to preclude thoughts of going after McCann.
Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer Ryan Doumit Probably the team's only strong position. Even if Mauer or Doumit move to another position full-time, youngster Josmil Pinto is ready for a shot (963 OPS in 83 PA's in 2013).
New York Yankees Chris Stewart Austin Romine Other underwhelming in-house options include Francisco Cervelli and J.R. Murphy. Likely to go after a free agent, but maybe not McCann. Even Joe Girardi himself would be an improvement behind the plate.
Oakland Athletics Derek Norris Stephen Vogt 2013 starter John Jaso may move to DH or 1B due to concussion issues; Norris and Vogt act as platoon partners rather than starter/backup.
Seattle Mariners Mike Zunino Open 2013 backups Kelly Shoppach and Humberto Quintero are free agents, Henry Blanco might retire, and Jesus Montero was injured, suspended, and moved to 1B.
Tampa Bay Rays Open Jose Lobaton 2013 starter Jose Molina is free agent; Chris Gimenez is also on 40-man roster. Ryan Hanigan an option?
Texas Rangers Geovany Soto Open 2013 starter A.J. Pierzynski is free agent; team signed Soto to one-year deal and named him the 2014 starter.
Toronto Blue Jays J.P. Arencibia Josh Thole Arencibia has power, but a career .258 OBP; will the team explore the free agent market?

A (non-comprehensive) list of top free agents at the position:

- Brian McCann
- Carlos Ruiz
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia
- A.J. Pierzynski
- Jose Molina
- John Buck
- Dioner Navarro
- Kurt Suzuki
- Yorvit Torrealba
- Humberto Quintero
- Kelly Shoppach
- Ramon Hernandez
- Wil Nieves
Yenier Bello?
- Mike Napoli?

Mix and match the free agents with potential destinations in the comments!

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