MLB Free Agency: A's Best Remaining Options for True Starting Catcher

The A's signed Chris Herrmann to a one-year, $1 million contract at the MLB Winter Meetings earlier this month, not long after they re-signed Josh Phegley to a one-year, $1.075 million deal, so right now, they're Oakland's two catchers.

While there's a chance the A's could enter the season with that Herrmann-Phegley platoon, they'd ideally still like to add a true starting catcher. So, let's examine the best remaining options on the free agency market:

Yasmani Grandal

Grandal is the last available "top-tier" catcher available, and he's expected to land a four-year contract in the range of $60 million, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman. Obviously, that's well out of Oakland's price range, especially for a below-average defensive catcher such as Grandal.

The 30-year-old slashed .241/.349/.466 with 24 home runs and 68 RBI last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he had a horrendous postseason, both offensively and defensively. That could cost him some money on his next contract, which still should be hefty.

Jonathan Lucroy

Lucroy, who spent last season in Oakland, is the A's top choice, but the sides are nowhere near an agreement. Heyman reported the team offered the 32-year-old a one-year deal worth about $4 million, but Lucroy doesn't want to take a pay cut from last year's $6.5 million salary.

In his one season with the A's, Lucroy slashed an underwhelming .241/.291/.325 with just four homers and 51 RBI, but he did a tremendous job with Oakland's pitching staff, especially after all the injuries hit.

Matt Wieters

A four-time All-Star, Wieters' production has dropped off sharply the last two seasons. He recorded a slash line of .238/.330/.374 with eight home runs and 50 RBI last year in Washington. Still, at just 32 years old, there's a chance Wieters could regain his 2011-to-2016 form, or at least get close to that level.

Wieters also is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, and his defense remains above average. He'll probably receive at least $5 million, and if he's willing to take that kind of deal, he could be a nice fit in Oakland.

Martin Maldonado

Maldonado won't wow you with his bat, but he's as good defensively as any catcher in baseball. The former Gold Glove winner threw out a ridiculous 49 percent of attempted base stealers last season to lead MLB.

Maldonado, 32, slashed .225/.276/.351 with nine homers and 44 RBI in 119 games last year between the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros. Heyman projects Maldonado to land a two-year, $16 million deal, which seems unreasonably high for a defensive catcher, though he's unlikely to accept a one-year contract, making him unlikely to wear the green and gold.

Nick Hundley

Hundley has quietly put together four consecutive quality seasons between the Colorado Rockies and the Giants. The 35-year-old posted a .241/..298/.408 slash line with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 96 games for the Giants last year.

While Hundley can handle the bat, his defense is subpar. He threw out just 21 percent of attempted base stealers last season, well below the league average. Still, Oakland could use his offense, especially if he costs under $3 million, as Heyman predicted.

Devin Mesoraco

After a breakout season in 2014, Mesoraco has struggled to stay healthy. The 30-year-old did manage to play 84 games last season between the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets, slashing .221/.303/.398 with 11 homers and 33 RBI.

Mesoraco still has some pop in his bat, but he's a defensive liability. Last season, he threw out just 21 percent of attempted base stealers.

Heyman expects Mesoraco to receive between $2 million and $4.5 million on a one-year deal. That could make him a nice low-risk option for the A's if Lucroy doesn't re-sign.

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