2013 A's roster breakdown: Catchers

2013 A's roster breakdown: Catchers
November 29, 2012, 2:40 am
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Editor's note: This is the second installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season.The A's will enter 2013 without a veteran option at catcher. They don't seem too concerned by that fact. Derek Norris and George Kottaras are set to take the reigns in Oakland next season."We're comfortable with both of those guys," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Absolutely."Norris seems to be the logical choice to be the starting catcher for the A's next season. He was recalled on Aug. 21, and ended up taking over a bulk of the catching duty from veteran leader Kurt Suzuki. At one point in July the A's won 13 consecutive games started by Norris. He played well enough that Oakland felt comfortable trading Suzuki to the Washington Nationals. After Suzuki was traded there was a lot of concern about what would happen to the A's pitching staff. Norris proved he could handle the A's talented young pitchers.
It isn't a perfect statistic, but with Norris behind the plate, A's pitchers had a 3.08 ERA -- the lowest for a catcher in the American League with 50 or more innings caught. Despite the staff's confidence in him, Norris was only able to throw out 26 percent of would-be base stealers, which was third worst in the league. He will have to work hard in the offseason to improve that percentage.Norris, 23, only hit .201 in 2012, but he hit .339 with runners in scoring position, and four of his seven home runs came with a runner on. Kottaras also came through in big situations for the A's. He hit .293 with six of his nine homers coming with runners on base, and hit .368 with runners in scoring position. Norris is a right-handed hitter and Kottaras bats left-handed. That gives Melvin the opportunity to platoon the two catchers.Here in 2013:Derek Norris
George Kottaras
On the Farm:Jason Jaramillo
Blake Lalli
Max Stassi
Free Agents:NoneBiggest Question:Can Norris and Kottaras improve defensively?Analyst's Take -- Greg Cadaret:"I think Norris has the tools to be a good major league catcher. I think Kottaras is a major league backup. If you are splitting them 5050 I think you are weak there. Norris will improve once he gets the pressure off and stops trying to hit too many home runs. He has a tendency to let the frontside fly open and try and hook everything."I think he'll throw alright. I think he tried to be too fast sometimes. He showed the capability to block a ball, good hands, and the ability to call a game. A couple times he got lazy blocking balls and let a couple get away from him, but he looked like a guy that has some pop. He'll be a good major league catcher once he understands he doesn't have to try to do too much."Best Available (and possibly affordable):Mike Napoli, 31 (Not likely affordable)
Russell Martin, 30
A.J. Pierzynski, 36