Mariners Report Cards: Catcher
Our report card series continues with a positive one, the catching position. Let's take a look at how Seattle's catchers graded out in 2023, and what the position will look like in 2024.
For as many negative/middling grades I have handed out so far in this series, your Seattle Mariners grade out extremely well at the premium positions and catcher is no exception. Between Cal Raleigh, a healthy Tom Murphy, and Luis Torrens returning, Seattle created an excellent catching situation again in 2023.
Two of the three players’ futures on the team are up in the air as the offseason begins, so what does the catcher position look like in 2024?
The Seattle Mariners finally have a franchise catcher, and he is one of the very best in all of major league baseball. Cal Raleigh is an awesome player, and the Mariners are very lucky to have him. He is a switch hitter, a good defender, calls a great game, and is a legitimately feared power hitter from the left side.
Cal’s 30 homers were good enough for a franchise record, putting together a 4.7 fWAR season behind a 111 wRC+. He is one of the best catchers in the game, and I think he has a chance to continue to improve as we move forward.
Although Raleigh’s performance was superb, it wasn’t his play alone that was impactful. Tom Murphy returned in 2023 to produce in a big way for Seattle. Until a thumb injury sidelined him in August, Murphy was one of the best offensive catchers in baseball.
He was able to play in 47 games while posting a 140 wRC+ in limited work. He slashed .290/.335/.538 while primarily facing lefties. He is a great partner in crime with Cal Raleigh, who does his best work handling righties. Murphy did a great job handling the pitching staff and being a leader, something Seattle sorely missed down the stretch.
Luis Torrens did a nice job in limited work. I would love for Seattle to bring him back on a minor-league deal.
Overall, both these players are terrific and complement each other perfectly. They are also two of the best teammates and leaders that Seattle has, so I would expect the Mariners to bring Murphy back this offseason.
There are really only two negatives from the Mariners catching situation from 2023. Tom Murphy missed a lot of time once again due to injury, and Cal Raleigh was badly overused.
Injuries have become a theme for Murphy, who has missed significant time in 2020, 2022, and now 2023. He is set to be a free agent, but Seattle would be smart to bring him back as the partner for Raleigh.
The two are just a perfect pairing, but Murphy’s durability concerns cannot be denied. Seattle could look to bring him back as well as retaining Luis Torrens or another capable backup in the likelihood Murphy misses time.
Raleigh dealt with a beating in 2023, so it would behoove the Mariners to retain their depth.
Video analysis is located below!