While no formal announcement has been made, it sounds like Gustavo Molina will probably start the year as the Yanks’ backup catcher. He’s not one of those Molinas, but he is a catching Molina (it’s not just about blood) and I am therefore wary. The Yankees would have some valid reasons for choosing him: Montero and Romine aren’t ready behind the plate and would be better served by playing every day, and Molina is an excellent defensive catcher.
In fact I’ve never seen Molina play – but you know how I know he’s an excellent defensive catcher? Because, in his major league career, he has hit .122/.158/.146 with zero home runs and an OPS+ of -19. Yeah. They’re not keeping him around for his bat.
Of course, his “major league career” is only 23 games and 45 plate appearances over four years. If you look at his minor league numbers, over 11 seasons, they are significantly better — but still pretty lousy. I never expected to miss Francisco Cervelli so very much. But it’s spring, and a new season, and a time of optimism and hope generally, so who knows? Maybe Molina will guide Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett to success while improving his batting average to something crazy like .200. Stranger things have happened. Probably.
Then again if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times… beware of Molinas, dammit.