03-13-2013, 09:36 PM #1
Miller: Escobar Could Be Gardy's 3rd Catcher
There has been some talk about this, but I don't think it's been this frontal before. I don't know if Gardy is still lobbying for Thome with this kind of talk, or if he's impressed with someone like Colabello, but it seems like this is a serious option:
Escobar spent a half-hour this afternoon catching pitches from a pitching machine, getting ready for the grand super-utility experiment. It's clear Gardenhire is considering Escobar as an emergency catcher, on hand only in case Joe Mauer or Ryan Doumit get hurt during a game. That would free up a roster spot, the one held last year by Drew Butera, for a stronger pinch-hitter, which definitely appeals to the manager. "Another catcher is only a phone call away," he said. "He would only have to get you through nine innings, or whatever."
Escobar works at catcher, impresses in infield | StarTribune.com
03-14-2013, 05:58 AM #2
Interesting quote coming from Gardenhire about a catcher only being a phone call away.
03-14-2013, 06:20 AM #3
It makes sense... It's all they have to do... Throw the pads on someone to complete the game in case of injury. Fly someone in from AAA for tomorrow's game and there is no need for a third catcher.
Why they didn't come up with this idea last year... I have no idea.
Glad to hear they are considering it this year.
Going forward... They should be training emergency catchers (plural) throughout the minors... to not put future eggs in one basket in case Hermann doesn't work out.
If they don't start training emergency catchers... They are making a mistake.
We carried three catchers last year making it philosophically necessary and with the tenure of those who hold the philosophy... they should have been prepped for it already.
03-14-2013, 06:55 AM #4
The need for an "emergency catcher" implies that you carry two catchers and both of them go down in the same game. Even if the day's starting catcher goes down on the first pitch of the game and the other is the DH, you're swapping the other catcher behind the plate immediately. Having to mix and match hitting a pitcher in the lineup 3-4 times has way less potential for damage throughout the game than throwing a barely-trained "emergency catcher" behind the plate and hoping that he doesn't colossally **** up somewhere between catching, throwing out runners, communicating with the pitchers while calling the game, etc...
Planning around this non-event by spending any kind of organizational resources to "train emergency catchers" is beyond pointless. In the one-in-a-million chance that both catchers go down, any player on the field would be capable of strapping the pads on and slogging through a couple innings behind the plate even without any kind of preparation or notice. There's no advance licensing component required to wear shin guards.
03-14-2013, 08:18 AM #5
I agree with you... I wouldn't give it a second thought personally... I think a third catcher is wrong and wasteful. Always have... Always will.
However... Last year the Twins had a third catcher on the roster... It was Drew Butera... We had a third catcher because???
Gardenhire feels differently... Therefore training emergency catchers in the minors makes sense from that perspective... not mine.
03-14-2013, 08:35 AM #6
Of course, he went on in similar fashion about "no scholarships" and wasted bench players previously, and at the first sign of a catcher with a twinge, Butera retook his place on the bench for the rest of the season...
03-14-2013, 09:16 AM #7Do or do not. There is no try.
03-14-2013, 09:19 AM #8
But what if Escobar goes down? I'd feel a lot safer if Butera was there to back him up.
03-14-2013, 09:34 AM #9
03-14-2013, 09:37 AM #10
Yeah...we'll see. As I posted somewhere in another thread, they started the year with 2 catchers in 2012, too, until the stress got to Gardy and the warm security blanket of Butera sitting at the end of the bench was summoned.
03-14-2013, 09:41 AM #11
Having an emergency catcher is only one way to go about solving this issue.
Moving the remaining catcher behind the plate and losing the DH for a few innings of one game isn't the end of the world either. Having a pitcher hit if it's a low leverage situation is just fine, if not, pinch hit for they guy, what's the huge issue?
With no snark intended, is a pitcher batting that much worse than Butera?
03-14-2013, 09:47 AM #12
There's nothing anyone here can do to "fix" the problem. RB was simply commenting on the best approach given the circumstances we face. The team's manager embraces that "stupid, misguided notion" and that's just reality. I don't see anything wrong with posing scenarios that might make Gardy's affinity for a third catching option more palatable as opposed to redundant complaints about it.
03-14-2013, 09:56 AM #13
03-14-2013, 10:00 AM #14
I understand the frustration over Butera (and have expressed it a few times myself) but given Joe Mauer's health in 2011, it is quite arguable that the Twins started the year in 2012 with about 2 1/3 catchers. And frankly, Mauer is still probably only about 1/2 a catcher if you want to keep him on the field.
Now, if you believe that Doumit is easily a full 1/2 catcher (or better), there's obviously no need for a third catcher. But Gardenhire's need for a security blanket has a lot to do with both Joe Mauer's durability and his flexibility in terms of positions.
I hope that Gardenhire is confident enough in Mauer and Doumit that he doesn't need a Sweet Drew blanket this season. From my standpoint, that would be a very good thing because it would indicate some pretty strong confidence in both Mauer's and Doumit's health (and a little bit of "risk taking" on Gardenhire's part).
03-14-2013, 10:18 AM #15
03-14-2013, 10:37 AM #16
03-14-2013, 10:44 AM #17
I forgot that.
And, actually, that's about what they started with.
03-14-2013, 10:45 AM #18
I agree with Fro, there is zero reason to be training emergency catchers throughout the minors, its a one in a million chance.
Let's put it this way, you would be much better served teaching your position players how to pitch then to worry about having a glut of emergency catchers in the org, seeing how position players pitching occurs about 20x more then the whole 3rd catcher being "needed"
Anyone can go behind the plate for a few innings and catch a few balls, yeah, its probably going to be ugly but it is what it is.
03-14-2013, 10:46 AM #19
03-14-2013, 10:51 AM #20
They called up Butera about the time they called up Diamond. I assume the two had been working together in AAA but I don't know that for sure. In any case, immediately Butera started catching Pavano and Diamond.
So I believe the Twins' reasoning for bringing Butera onto the roster was less about having a redundant backup and more about his knack (however real or imagined) for handling some pitchers. At least, handling them better than Doumit. But now that Diamond has established that he can pitch effectively to whoever is catching, and Pavano and Liriano are not on the team, then Gardy has no reason to break camp with him. I will be curious to watch however, if Gibson gets on track, if they bring up Butera again when they call up Gibson.
Last edited by Willihammer; 03-14-2013 at 10:54 AM.