After being non-tendered on Friday, this catcher could become a free agent target for the Pittsburgh Pirates as they look to solidify the position this offseason
Friday night was the deadline for Major League Baseball teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players for the 2023 season. This saw the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miguel Andújar agree to a contract for the 2023 season, as well as the Pirates trade Kevin Newman to the Cincinnati Reds.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates tendered contracts to each of their arbitration eligible players this was not the case across all of baseball. Players who were non-tendered become free agents. This includes catcher Jorge Alfaro, who was non-tendered by the San Diego Padres, and is a player the Pirates should pursue.
During his first, and only, season with the Padres, Alfaro hit for a .246/.285/.383 slash line last season. In 274 plate appearances he post a wRC+ of 90, OPS+ of 94, and he hit 7 home runs. His 11.2% barrel rate was well above the league average of 6.7%, while his 89.4 MPH exit velocity was a full MPH above the league average.
Alfaro’s seven-year MLB career has saw him play for the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins in addition to the Padres. In 1658 career PAs he owns a .256/.305/.396 slash line, 89 wRC+, and an OPS+ of 89. While al of these numbers are slightly below league average for a hitter, they are above league average offensive output from the catcher position.
The catcher position is in a weird spot for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis are the organization’s top two position player prospects and two of the top catching prospects in all of baseball. Additionally, both are expected to arrive in the majors in 2023.
That said, the Pirates need a stopgap at catcher until one of the two arrive. Additionally, it is never a guarantee that prospects will pan out. Plus, with Davis, he is already establishing a reputation of being injury prone. All of these reasons add to the need of the Pirates to add catching help this offseason.
Alfaro could prove to be a strong stopgap at the catcher position for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would also be nice insurance in case Rodriguez and/or Davis run into injury or performance issues. Even if Rodriguez and Davis do both reach the majors in 2023, Alfaro would still be a quality piece to have in the catcher room.