Jacob Stallings, Pittsburgh Pirates
One of the most talked about catchers that could be on the move in the coming month is Jacob Stallings from Pittsburgh. The barrier for Cleveland is that what makes Stallings such an attractive trade target could also create a bidding war for the 31-year old backstop.
Despite being 31-years old, Stallings still has plenty of team control left. He’s only making $1.3 million this year and will be in the arbitration process through the 2024 season. For comparison, Austin Hedges is making $3.28 million this year and only has one year of arbitration left, not to mention far worse stats.
Since catcher is a defensively heavy position, we’ll start there. Stallings has a career .992 fielding percentage and has had three errors this season. That’s about par for the course after having four in 2020 and five in 2019. That would be a bit of a downgrade, but it might be worth it for an offensive upgrade.
At the plate, Stallings doesn’t blow anyone away, but he would be a step up from what Cleveland has had so far this year. He’s slashing .230/.318/.399 with 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 29 RBI. Now, RBI are hard to come by on a struggling team like Pittsburgh, but the doubles are very promising.
By himself, Stallings has as many or more doubles than all but six teams in Major League Baseball have receiving from their catchers in total. Placing him in a lineup like Cleveland’s, where other guys will get on base ahead of him, and those doubles will soon translate to RBI. The issue could be the price.
Stallings is going to be the premier target among catcher-needy teams, but his team control means giving up a bit more leaves more time for that value to be returned.