Fatal flaw: Every MLB contender has a weak spot

Jun 13, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts as he talks to New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) on the mound during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts as he talks to New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) on the mound during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
9 of 14
Next
Victor Caratini. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Victor Caratini. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

San Diego Padres

The Padres have already made one move of significance. This week they landed Adam Frazier, the National League’s hit leader, in a trade with Pittsburgh. Frazier is a competent second baseman with great bat-on-ball skills.

Too bad he can’t catch. That’s where the Padres need an upgrade. That position is their fatal flaw.

San Diego has existed this year by alternating Victor Caratini, Webster Rivas, Austin Nola and Luis Campusano. Caratini, a lifetime backup, has carried the bulk of the load, and the additional duties have not served him well. He’s hitting .224 with a .658 OPS and producing negative defensive numbers.

Starting the season, Nola was supposed to be the other half of the answer behind the plate. But he is below .200.  Rivas has become the Plan B almost by default, but he’s at .220.

Add it all up and Padres catchers have generated -1.3 WAA this season. Among MLB teams, that ranks 26th, ahead of only the Rangers, Indians, Braves, and Marlins.

A contender can survive without production from its catchers if they excel in such intangibles as team leadership. That does not describe Padres catchers. Among them, Caratini, Rivas, and Nola have never been known for their team leadership skills.

If the Padres are serious about making a run at the World Series this year, they need a quick and clear upgrade at catcher.