The Mariners’ catching tandem of Cal Raleigh and Tom Murphy struggled in 2021; what’s the plan behind the plate next season?
Ben: Cal Raleigh got off to a rocky start at the big league level in 2021. However, Jerry Dipoto and company should know catcher development takes time, and they wont give up on Cal just yet. But for a team that needs to win now, the Mariners need a splash.
With a weak free agent class at catcher, the Mariners can look to the trade market, and I believe Willson Contreras can be their guy. Acquiring Contreras gives the Mariners a solid, proven option at the position, and allows them to bring Raleigh along slowly to soften his landing a bit more.
Connor: Since the Mariners have heralded Cal Raleigh as the “catcher of the future” for the past couple of years, I think it’s far too early to bring in an everyday catcher who would take all of his at-bats. With a weak free agent market at catcher, the Mariners would have to give up quality prospects to bring in a player such as Willson Contreras, and I’m not willing to do that.
I wrote earlier this month that Luis Torrens’ best future consists of him developing his catching skills, and I stand by that. Raleigh and Torrens splitting time against righties, and Torrens playing against lefties, feels like the best plan to me going into next year.
Derek: I don’t envision the Mariners moving on from Cal Raleigh before giving him a full season as the primary guy behind the dish. Personally, I would like to see the Mariners move Torrens back to catcher. I know the team loves having Murphy call games, but I just don’t see a spot in the lineup for Torrens other than backing up Cal, and I think the Mariners would prioritize keeping his bat in the lineup over Murphy calling games.
Max: Cal Raleigh, despite struggling mightily in his first glimpse at the big leagues, showed enough promise behind the dish to warrant the chance to start next year as the team’s primary catcher. Still getting established in the majors, Raleigh’s defensive ability and offensive upside provide the team with an intriguing option behind the plate. Giving Raleigh time to develop will be crucial for the future success of the team.