This is the next installment in our series about positions of need for the Miami Marlins. I already wrote about our need for a shortstop and third base. This article is going to be focused on The Fish’s need to improve at catcher. Catcher is a very important position, as the catcher’s hitting ability can often be sacrificed in favor of better defense. Better defense is especially important to the Miami Marlins, due to our young pitching staff.
The Miami Marlins need help at catcher.
The Miami Marlins currently have two options for the position: Jacob Stallings and Nick Fortes. Stallings currently has a -0.4 WAR with a .204/.276/.268 batting line, 2 home runs and 21 RBI in 54 games and 154 AB’s. He also has a 0.3 dWAR. He had a 2.3 dWAR with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, which is why The Fish acquired him in the first place.
Nick Fortes is Stallings’s backup, but seems as if he might be seriously challenging him for a starting spot. Fortes has a 0.8 WAR with a .323/.432/.581 batting line, 2 home runs and 6 RBI in 11 games and 31 AB’s. He also has a 0.2 dWAR. That batting line is not likely to be sustainable due to his .320 BABIP and a complete lack of similarly great performance in the Minor Leagues.
Who could the Miami Marlins acquire on the trade market? There are quite a few options…. A lot of people will mention Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. The impending free agent has a 2.9 WAR, a .275/.390/.517 batting line with 12 home runs and 27 RBI in 59 games and 211 AB’s. He also has a 0.2 dWAR. The “impending free agent” part is what troubles me. The Fish should only pursue him in free agency after the season.
Another free agent option is Christian Vazquez of the Boston Red Sox. He has a 0.7 WAR/0.3 dWAR and a .273/.314/.409 batting line with 4 home runs and 29 RBI in 52 games and 176 AB’s. He should also come cheaper than Contreras. Another option is Mike Zunino of the Tampa Bay Rays. Zunino was phenomenal last season, but has a -0.6 WAR this season, so is a questionable option.
An intriguing trade option is Carson Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kelly may be a change of scenery candidate. He is a former top prospect who has a -0.7 WAR and a .120/,169/.145 batting line at the moment. That said, he has a 0.3 dWAR and hit 13 home runs in 304 AB’s last season.
What should the Miami Marlins do? I think that we should try to acquire Contreras and if we can’t then Vazquez. I’m not a big fan of giving up prospects for rentals. If Arizona makes Kelly available, then I would do it for the right price.