Thursday, December 8 2022

Ranking the top five MLB free-agent catchers originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Teams looking for a new catcher this offseason will have a handful of intriguing options to choose from.

The priciest option of the bunch will be Willson Contreras. After spending the first seven seasons of his MLB career with the Chicago Cubs, the three-time All-Star is set for a big payday this winter.

More MLB Free Agents: Top 25 overall | Top 10 SP | Top 5 RPTop 10 OF | Top 5 1BTop 5 SS

Also set to hit the open market is former Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez, who was traded to the Houston Astros at this year’s deadline. A return to Boston could be on the table with Sox backstop Kevin Plawecki hitting free agency as well.

Contreras and Vazquez are the two names you’ll want to keep tabs on most, but here’s a look at the top five catchers set to become free agents this offseason.

1. Willson Contreras

Age: 30

The Cubs had a chance to unload Contreras at the trade deadline. Now they’ll likely have to watch their slugging catcher leave for nothing. Contreras will be the most coveted backstop on the free-agent market by a long shot after his third All-Star campaign.

2. Christian Vazquez

Age: 32

Vazquez was in the middle of one of his best offensive seasons before the Red Sox sent him to the Houston Astros as the trade deadline. The 2018 World Series champion slashed .282/.327/.432 with eight homers and 42 RBI in 84 games this year with Boston. He struggled with the Astros, but that shouldn’t deter teams from signing him this offseason. Don’t rule out a return to the Red Sox, either.

3. Gary Sanchez

Age: 30

Sanchez hasn’t looked like “The Kraken” since his 2019 All-Star season, but he still has plenty of pop. The former New York Yankees catcher has 14 homers through 107 games in his debut season with the Minnesota Twins. He should have a fair amount of teams interested in his services with the designated hitter in both leagues.

4. Omar Narvaez

Age: 31

Narvaez quietly has been one of the better all-around catchers over the last few years. He was an All-Star in 2021 and while his numbers dipped this season, his track record speaks for itself.

Age: 32

Barnhart isn’t going to light up the box score, but he makes up for his light hitting with his presence behind the dish. The two-time Gold Glover was a favorite in Cincinnati before joining the Detroit Tigers in free agency last year.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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