The pickings might be a little slim when it comes to the best free agent catchers in 2023. Most of MLB’s best catchers last season were either young or already tied to long-term deals. That’s bad news for teams hoping to upgrade at that position. However, the market for catching isn’t completely empty. There are a few good options among the best MLB free-agent catchers in 2023.
Ranking best free agent Catchers for 2023-24 offseason
So who are the best free-agent catchers in 2024 for teams that need a backstop for next season? Well, you won’t find many of these players linked to lucrative deals when it comes to making free agency predictions.
However, there is a solid collection of catchers available in 2024 for teams that need one. Here are the five best free-agent catchers heading into 2024.
5. Yasmani Grandal
At age 35, the best days for Yasmani Grandal are surely behind him. He was on the open market after the 2019 season and signed a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox.
However, it’s safe to say that he didn’t live up to that contract, hitting eight home runs or less in three of his four seasons in Chicago. After hitting .234 with an OPS of .647 in 2023, Grandal is no longer an impact offensive player. But he’s been around long enough to still have some value as a backup and should get a guaranteed contract from someone and a chance to continue his career.
4. Victor Caratini
After spending the last two seasons with the Brewers, Victor Caratini is on the free-agent market for the first time at age 30. His upside offensively is a little lacking, as he’s a .236 career hitter in the big leagues. But he did outperform his career numbers in 2023 while also providing strong defense behind the plate.
Caratini is the type of catcher who is going to contribute to a team by managing the pitching staff and calling a good game. Perhaps more importantly, he’s the youngest free-agent catcher among the top options this winter. That should help make him a viable option for teams that are looking for a catcher.
3. Martin Maldonado
Offensively, teams shouldn’t expect much from Martin Maldonado. He’s hit below .200 for the Astros in three consecutive seasons, although he’s hit at least 12 home runs in each of those seasons. More importantly, Maldonado maintained a job with a championship-caliber team because of what he does behind the plate.
As far as defense-first catchers are concerned, there isn’t a better option on the free-agent market this winter, and there aren’t many better options in baseball, period.
2. Tom Murphy
Injuries have limited Tom Murphy to just 61 total games with the Mariners over the last two seasons. On the bright side, he’s been a productive hitter when he’s been healthy, hitting .290 with an OPS of .873 in 47 games this past season. That creates a little bit of risk-reward for a catcher who will be 33 in 2024.
At this point in his career, Murphy probably fits best as a backup catcher. However, we’re talking about a high-end backup who can still be an asset on a contending team.
1. Mitch Garver
There is no doubt that Mitch Garver is the best catcher available this offseason. Winning a World Series ring with the Rangers certainly helped his stock. Garver had three home runs and 14 RBI in 14 postseason games. Of course, that was after he hit .270 with an OPS of .870 during the regular season.
To be fair, Garver has been wildly inconsistent offensively from one year to the next during his career. He’ll also turn 33 before the 2024 season, so his age is a factor, especially since he’s a catcher. On the other hand, he’s coming off the best season of his career and won a Silver Slugger award earlier in his career. For teams that need a part-time catcher and a part-time DH, he’s the perfect fit.