Sox’s Flaherty signing raises questions
December 24, 2005 5 Comments
The Yankees may have won the Johnny Damon sweepstakes, but the Red Sox signed their own defector yesterday. Boston signed John Flaherty to a one-year deal worth $650,000. The 37-year-old gets an additional $100,000 if he makes the Red Sox Opening Day roster.
While $650,000 isn’t a lot of money for the Red Sox, I don’t understand this signing. John Flaherty served as the Yankees back-up catcher last year, but the numbers show that he is far from a good option as a back-up catcher. In fact, John Flaherty was one of the least valuable catchers in the Major Leagues last year.
On the Yankees, Flaherty served as Randy Johnson’s catcher for the better part of the season. In those games, he had 138 plate appearances, accounting for 2.2 percent of the Yanks’ plate appearances on the season. In 47 games, Flaherty hit .165/.206/.252. He had 6 runs created last season for an RC/27 of 1.42. In other words, from Baseballl-Reference’s perspective, a lineup of Flaherty’s would eke out less than 1.5 runs per game.
The picture gets worse when you consider some other numbers. Of the 103 players who caught last season, Flaherty’s -9.6 VORP ranked him second to last behind Miguel Olivo. In other words, for $650,000, the Red Sox are paying for a catcher who is not only a weak offensive producer but is significantly worse than a replacement level catcher. Flaherty’s negative VORP means he would actually cost the Red Sox a win during the course of the season.
While it is no sure thing that Flaherty will become Doug Mirabelli’s replacement, the Sox are on the hook for the money no matter what. The team has Kelly Shoppach ready at the AAA level to step in behind Varitek. Why they would waste their money by guaranteeing Flaherty a contract is beyond me.