Hidden Vigorish

Detailed Analysis of The Pittsburgh Pirates

How Teams Have Fared After Losing a Primary Catcher in Free Agency

In a few short weeks Pirates catcher Russell Martin will become a free agent. The Pirates hope to retain him, and for good reason. Like most primary catchers he is an integral part of the team’s success. Recent history has not be kind to teams that have lost their primary catcher to free agency. Over the past five seasons 13 primary catchers have parted with their teams via free agency. For this study I’m considering a primary catcher to be one that has started more than half of his team’s games behind the dish. Those teams on average have won 7.1 less games in the following season. If you factor the “Barajas” effect, the numbers look even worse. Three times Rod Barajas has left a team after being its primary catcher and those teams improved by 10, 4, and 15 games. The only non-Barajas teams that didn’t get worse were the 2010 Dodgers that improved by two games after losing Russell Martin and the 2009 Royals who also improved by two games after Miguel Olivo left for the Rockies. Excluding the teams with Rod Barajas, the difference after losing a primary catcher was 12.1 less wins in the subsequent season. Here is the full list of teams that have lost their primary catcher in free agency over the last five seasons:


Year Player Team Change in wins
2013 Brian McCann Braves -17
2013 A.J. Pierzynski Rangers -24
2013 Jarrod Saltalamacchia Red Sox -26
2012 Rod Barajas Pirates +15
2012 Russell Martin Yankees -10
2012 A.J. Pierzynski White Sox -22
2011 Rod Barajas Dodgers +4
2010 John Buck Blue Jays -4
2010 Yorvit Torrealba Padres -19
2010 Russell Martin Dodgers +2
2009 Jason Kendall Brewers -3
2009 Rod Barajas Blue Jays +10
2009 Miguel Olivo Roayls +2


1 Comment

  1. Martin made a big difference with the Pirates pitching staff and his hitting improved but I hope the Bucs don’t go over board trying too re sign him. he has a couple of good years left……Rod Barajas flat out stinks!

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