Well if they are I feel Mitch Garver will be one of the lower paid catchers in baseball year after year. I wish that we would put as much expectation on the players as we do on the officials. Don't get me wrong, I have barked at many an umpire in my life, way many. But that does not change the fact that we expect perfection from them, and at the same time seem quite enthralled with an entire infield that can do only one half of their proscribed duties, the offensive half, with any apparent proficiency. We are enthralled with a catcher who can hit, but couldn't block a four year old from getting into the candy drawer. A cleanup hitter who swings at pitches in a different zip code. But have an umpire miss some close pitches, even say 10 out of 250, and we want to mechanize it? For the players we cheer lustily for their successes and excuse their faults. For the officials we ignore their abilities, and demean their mistakes.
I have nothing but respect for the umpires... I'm not one of those people who call out umpires by name and judge them individually. As a matter of fact, it is my opinion, that MLB umpires are absolutely incredible at their jobs. The job is impossible to perform perfectly so you won't hear me criticizing them when they don't.
I want the umpire to have the tools necessary to perfect their performance. Each missed call is random and potentially critical to the result of the game. The possibility of missed strike or ball call impacting DIRECTLY the result of Game 7 in a World Series is absolutely real... It is just a matter of timing.
I've used this example frequently because it stung me personally: 2017... Wild Card Game between the Twins and Yankees. The Twins jumped on Severino for 3 runs in the 1st inning. Santana was no doubt, shaky in the bottom of the first. He walked Gardner followed by a Judge single and the Yankees had 1 and 3rd with nobody out. However... he got Sanchez to pop out with Gardner remaining at 3B and then it happened: He had two strikes on Gregorious. He threw a pitch in the strike zone that Gregorious looked at... It should have been strike three with two outs... Instead it was called a ball and on the very next pitch Didi parked it and the game is now tied 3-3.
I don't blame the umpire and I recognize the role that Santana's performance played in the equation. I also understand it was the first inning with 8 more innings of random events yet to take place. However, that missed call was a significant game changing moment, because everything looks different if the Twins enter the 2nd Inning with 3-0 lead instead of a 3-3 tie.
Now... take that same real-life scenario that happened to us and place it in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the World Series. What if the ump missed a strike call with two strikes and two outs on Bregman and he blasts a game winning home run off Hudson on the next pitch. You can't say this won't happen, you can't quote me odds that it will happen... it can absolutely happen. It's just a matter of unfortunate timing. The Nationals losing in that fashion would be a nightmare unless you lived in Houston. Joe Torre would have to stand there in front of throngs of media to defend a guy that was simply tasked with a doing a job, that was impossible to begin with. We'd have a system in place the following season, if it's ready or not. A full year of baseball down to the tubes because it was decided by a human element call.
Hell, the U.S. congress would probably pass legislation making strike zone automation law while taking away the Anti-Trust Exemption if it happened to the Nationals.
My strong feelings toward this subject have nothing to do with lack of respect toward the umpires, I think they are incredible. I'm saying we have the technology to eliminate the human mistakes, the human mistakes influence the final results of games. So, improve the system, get it done and utilize it as soon as possible.
We don't need any more proof that the final results are indeed influenced by these random missed calls when pitch framers like Jason Castro are paid 3 years and 24 million dollars.
Catchers are compensated for their ability to fool umpires. This sentence tells you all you need to know. Umpires can be fooled. Teams employ those who are best at fooling them so they've seen the statistical evidence and a value for the ability has been assessed and paid.