McAdam: Look past Molina for catcher help

McAdam: Look past Molina for catcher help
May 13, 2011, 4:20 pm
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By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

Bengie Molina isn't the answer for the Red Sox.

Maybe the Sox ownership will loosen the purse strings and green-light the signing of Molina. Then what?

Molina has been in retirement since last November, when the World Series ended. He didn't take part in spring training this year, and even if he's been keeping himself active -- hitting in a cage, catching bullpen sessions -- it's likely he would need almost a monthat the minimum to round into Major League playing shape. By then, it would be nearly mid-June and more than a third of the season will be over.

If the Sox are looking for more offense from the catching position -- they've gotten almost nothing from the duo of Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to date -- it's worth noting that Molina hit a whopping .249 in 118 games split between the Giants and Yankees.

That represents an upgrade over the two catchers currently on the Red Sox roster, but it's not about to kick-start the entire lineup.

If the Red Sox are looking for someone to better call games and handle pitchers, it will take time for Molina to familiarize himself with the current staff. And other than the 57 games over the final 2 12 months of last season, Molina last regularly caught in the American League five years ago, meaning he'll need time to acclimate himself to A.L. personnel.

One area which definitely needs improving behind the plate for the Red Sox is throwing. Combined, Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek have thrown out just eight would-be base-stealers all year. Last year, Molina gunned down 23-percent of baserunners -- an upgrade, to be sure, but not considered even league-average.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.