Elbo: The shifting marketplace for catchers

Evidently the Man Who Made The Giants won't be catching for the Padres after all, despite my repeated suggestions that he was headed to Petco. Los Friars de San Diego have reportedly shunned Benito Santiago in favor of obtaining Ramon Hernandez from the Oakland Athletics, along with overpaid designated lummox Terrence Long, in exchange for outfielder Mark Kotsay.

The Athletics may likely be kicking Yorvit Torrealba's tires right now. The only catcher currently on their roster is notorious NLDS strikeout victim Adam Melhuse, who had never hit above the Mendoza Line prior to 2003 but delivered modest offense in 77 at-bats as a backup this year. I have to think Billy Beane has something up his sleeve, including a healthy interest in Yorvit, because it seems a little bizarre to let a 27-year-old All-Star catcher go in exchange for an outfielder with a 756 career OPS who will make $5.5 million in 2004. (Even if it means that T-Long goes too.) Although Yorvit isn't exactly a sabermetrician's wet dream, he is inexpensive, which is why the A's might be especially interested in making a deal.

Who could the Giants get for Yorvit? Eric Byrnes? Justin Duchscherer? Chad Bradford? (I don't suspect it's the last, as I believe he'll do nicely in the closer role previously occupied by free agent Keith Foulke.) I even wonder if the A's would consider moving Erubiel Durazo, the once-coveted 1B/DH who turned out to be a bit of a letdown last year.

At any rate, Benito Santiago will have to Make a new team -- perhaps Dusty Baker's Cubs -- next year.


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