All Things Baseball

Frank Catalanotto a Steal for Rangers

Frank Catalanotto

In an offseason full of insane overspending and horrible decision-making, one team appears to have sniffed-out a bargain. The market for solid, but cost-effective outfielders was thin this offseason, and teams that were in need of such a player decided to pull the trigger on expensive contracts early. The Dodgers signed Juan Pierre for 5 years and $44M. The Angels added Gary Matthews Jr. for 5 years and $50M. And then there’s the Texas Rangers, who found their man without spending too much, and may get more out of him than the Dodgers and Angels from theirs.

Texas signed Frank Catalanotto, a former Ranger who played for the Blue Jays the past few seasons, to a 3-year deal worth $13.5Million (including an option for a 4th season for $5Million). This signing, in my opinion, is the best of the offseason so far, considering value, cost, and potential.

Take a look at Catalanotto’s statistics for this season…

  • Games: 128
  • At-Bats: 437
  • BA/OBP/SLG: .300/.376/.439
  • OPS: .816
  • Doubles: 36
  • Triples: 2
  • Homeruns: 7
  • RBI: 56
  • Runs Scored: 56
  • SB/CS: 1/3
  • Walks: 58
  • Strikeouts: 37

There’s nothing not to like about those numbers, except perhaps the disappointing 33% SB success rate. Catalanotto, expected to hit leadoff for the Rangers next season, did everything necessary to fill that role, except steal bases, which is not always considered a prerequisite for hitting in the #1 spot.

Now look at these numbers…

  • With Runners On: .354/.446/.554
  • With RISP: .330/.430/.474
  • With RISP and 2-out: .375/.500/.475

They speak for themselves.

The one glitch in Catalanotto’s numbers is his line with nobody on base (.263/.325/.363). While that’s probably the most important situation for a leadoff hitter to be successful in, I see no reason why Catalanotto can’t turn those numbers around, especially considering that his line with the bases empty in previous years was very good.

Still thinking about that one glitch in Catalanotto’s numbers? Well, consider this: Juan Pierre and Gary Matthews Jr. had much bigger concerns surrounding their numbers and performance, but still received much longer and pricier contracts than Catalanotto.

Frank Catalanotto’s career numbers are actually better than those of Gary Matthews Jr…

  • Catalanotto: .297/.362/.454 with 70HR and 382RBI
  • Matthews Jr: .263/.336/.419 with 78HR and 315RBI

It’s ridiculous, considering their career numbers, that Gary Matthews Jr will earn $10M a season while Catalanotto will get just $4.5M per year; not to mention that Gary Matthews Jr. was hitched to a 5-year deal while Catalanotto only received 3-years. And I’m not blaming the Rangers for underpaying Catalanotto; this is a knock on the Angels (and other teams who’ve made similar errors in judgment) for missing the big picture and flagrantly overspending to fill their needs.

So why were teams so quick to nab expensive options such as Pierre and Matthews Jr. when players who could be much better signings for the money were still available? Because they succumbed to the insanity of this offseason of overspending and decided that if money must be spent, it’s best to do it early to be sure and lock up their targets. The Rangers and GM Jon Daniels did not fall into the trap of bank-breaking to fill needs and found a cost-effective option that worked for them.

Frank Catalanotto is the best free agent signing in terms of value so far, and other teams would be wise to follow the early example for avoiding outrageous spending provided by the Texas Rangers.


3 Responses to “Frank Catalanotto a Steal for Rangers”

  1. Yeah but you fail to mention that the Rangers had to give up their #1 draft pick by signing Catalanotto.

    It’s not THAT great of a deal.

  2. I agree. Met Cat when I did some PR work for the Rangers back around 99, and he’s also a cool guy. Very glad to have him over Mathews or DeRosa (each of whom we should have traded last July when their value was at an all-time high, as evidenced by the ridiculous contracts they got from Oak and Cubs).

    Anyway, cool blog, and good post about Cat. But, while I agree outrageous spending should be generally avoided, don’t buy in to this front office’s fan-fleecing ways. Check out my blog at:

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