I have always wondered why MLB teams want their bench players to be better defensive players than offensive players.
They aren't on the field very often. Sure, they want them to be both. But, they seem to lean towards the defensive side. Especially with backup catchers.
They want that guy who "calls a good game" and is a "catch and throw guy." WHY?
He is not going to catch very often. Pitchers can muddle their way through a game here and there without having the regular catcher in there.
The pitcher should be making his own decisions as to what to throw and where to throw it anyway. The catcher should be merely suggesting a pitch to the pitcher. The final decision is up to the pitcher.
I remember one day as an Oriole. I had a rare scoreless outing, but was obviously having some difficulty, so to speak, communicating with my catcher. After the game, Frank called us both into his office and came down on him pretty good. He told him that his job was to suggest the pitch, and if the pitcher shakes it off, suggest something else. Frank told him that the box score would have my name as the pitcher, not his. It is totally up to the pitcher and that he did not want it to happen again.
With many teams having a twelve or thirteen man pitching staff, I feel that a team would be better off having a more offensive minded backup catcher on the bench.
The backup is only catching once a week. Yet, if he was a good hitter, he would be available every game of the year to help the club as a pinch hitter. As a former pitcher, I do know how important it is to have a guy you can rely on behind the plate. There are times when you need to lean on him. But a pitcher will only throw to the backup catcher every now and then.
Back up players in general should be veteran guys that you don't feel will be regulars for your club. I don't think I'm going to have Johnny Bench, but think about some of the back up catchers we have sent to the plate over the last few years as pinch hitters late in a game...