ST.PETERSBURG – When the Tampa Bay Rays signed José Molina this past November many believed it would be a good acquisition. After further review, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
With a career batting average of .238 the Rays couldn’t have expected much in the way of offense, and through 47 games Molina has played, he has lived up to that expectation, hitting a meager .195 with four home runs and 13 RBI.
He has shared catching responsibilities for the Rays with José Loboton and Chris Gimenez. To be fair, offensive production from the Rays catchers has been abysmal this season.
However, that’s not why you bring in José Molina to anchor your catching platoon. While the offensive production was to be expected, defensively Molina has been a disappointment.
Coming into 2012 Molina had thrown out an average of 39% of base runners attempting to steal, 10% over the league average over the course of his 13 seasons.
This year Molina is throwing out just 17% of base runners, 10% below the league average for 2012. He has played in 47 games for the Rays and played 48 last year with Toronto as a catcher. The Rays have 89 games left and with a long summer ahead they may do well to start shopping for another catcher.
He has seemed very slow behind the plate at times and to the casual observer almost lackadaisical. That’s not the case. It seems the body is not cooperating with what the mind wants to do for Molina.
Molina handles a young, but very talented pitching staff for the Rays. And while establishing relationships with the pitching staff is done over time, it doesn’t appear like they are all on the same page just yet.
Tampa Bay Rays General manager Andrew Friedman has made some great free agent acquisitions and trades for the team. Catching is just one area that the Rays could use some help, but it is one area that the Rays can ill afford to neglect.
Molina is at that point in his career where he would be best served to catch one or two games a week.
It might just be the time for Friedman to start making some calls to other teams about available catchers. What do you think ?