The Marlins continue to be in the market for a catching upgrade, reports the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. Skipper Don Mattingly more or less confirmed that’ll be a priority this winter, responding to questions about the team’s incumbent catching situation, noting that “It’s an area we’re looking at. It’s fairly safe to say it was some kind of message when we grabbed two catchers at the trade deadline.”
Mattingly’s rather plain assessment doesn’t bode well for the team’s current group of catchers, who combined for a wRC+ of 57 that ranked third-worst in all of baseball. Things weren’t much brighter on the defensive side of things either, as the unit posted -6 DRS.
Miami’s starting catcher, Jorge Alfaro, may find himself in the most trouble after posting -9 DRS and a 69 OPS+ over the past two seasons. The former Rangers and Phillies prospect has showed mixed progress in his tenure as a Marlin, as he has incrementally improved his year-over-year hard-hit rate and flashed a cannon that resulted in a 43% caught stealing rate. Still, Alfaro has regularly posted strikeout rates above 30%, has been walking less every year since 2018, and undid some of his defensive good by allowing a league-high 13 passed balls in 2021.
Further working against Alfaro is his rising salary through arbitration, for which he is eligible a second time this offseason. As a smaller market team, Miami is unlikely to dedicate a portion of its payroll to a player who is establishing a pattern of underperformance; a non-tender of Alfaro this offseason has seemed likely for quite some time.