The Los Angeles Dodgers made their first signing of the offseason Tuesday, though it will hardly register with most fans.
It will, however, potentially affect the Albuquerque Isotopes as veteran catcher J.C. Boscan was inked to a minor-league contract.
The Isotopes went through an eye-popping nine catchers last year, so depth at the position is clearly a need for the Dodgers organization.
Drew Butera, who finished last year as the Isotopes' starter, is still on the Dodgers' 40-man roster. He is out of options and would have to clear waivers and accept an assignment to Albuquerque if the Dodgers were to try to send him down.
With that in mind, the Dodgers have added Boscan, who turns 34 in December. He spent most of this past season at Iowa (.232/.297/.270, 18 RBI). Boscan does have big-league experience, having appeared in 17 games with the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs the last four years, batting .250 (7-for-28) with two RBI.
Last offseason the Dodgers signed multiple catchers, though only Jesus Flores made it through spring training and eventually played for the Isotopes, though he was released after posting anemic hitting numbers early in the year.
With neither of the remaining Double-A catchers, Gorman Erickson (.199/.324/.414) and Jan Vazquez (.190/.285/.341), seemingly worthy of promotion, the Dodgers figure to sign at least one or more free agent catchers this offseason.
Here are the top candidates to be potential Isotopes in 2014 The general rule is that most of this list has at least some MLB experience.
Bryan Anderson: The former Cardinal picked up a few at-bats with the White Sox (18 total), but spent most of the year at Charlotte (.224/.302/.400, 7 HR). He is a defense-first backstop, like most minor-league journeymen. Anderson turns 27 in December, so he is still relatively young.
Ed Easley: One of the only players on this list without MLB experience, Easley swung a hot bat at Reno (.334/.394/.478, 6 HR, 49 RBI) this past season. Easley, 28 in December, was a former supplemental first-round pick of the Diamondbacks.
Rob Johnson: The 31-year-old veteran has 265 games of MLB experience under his belt, including 20 games with the Cardinals this past season. Johnson spent the bulk of the year as the starting catcher at Memphis (.236/.317/.395, 7 HR).
Matt McBride: More of a utility player than a true catcher, McBride, 28, could be a useful reserve for the Isotopes. He hit well (.328/.359/.683, 15 HR, 45 RBI) despite battling some nagging injuries at Colorado Springs. McBride has 169 career games at catcher, 170 at first base and 207 in the outfield.
Humberto Quintero: He spent most of last season in the Majors, used sparingly as a backup first for the Phillies and then the Mariners. Quintero, 34, was not much of a hitter (.237/.275/.366, 4 HR) so he might have to settle for a minor-league contract this offseason.
Guillermo Quiroz: Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has always had an affinity for ex-Giants and that's the team Quiroz played sparingly (.186/.237/.302) this past season before being released. Quiroz, 32 on Nov. 29, has cracked double digits in home runs in the minors three times, most recently when he hit 15 in 2012 with Tacoma.
Kelly Shoppach: Once upon a time Shoppach cranked out 21 homers for the Indians in 2008. The now-33-year-old veteran has 572 games of MLB experience under his belt. He hit .193/.288/.339 with the Mariners and Indians this past summer.
Chris Snyder: He went 2-for-20 in nine games with the Orioles late in the season, spending the bulk of the year at Norfolk (.243/.305/.387, 6 HR). Snyder, 32, was once the Diamondbacks' starting catcher, posting an .800 OPS and slugging 16 home runs back in 2008.
Taylor Teagarden: A former top prospect in the Rangers' system, Teagarden was a seldom-used backup with the Orioles until late in the season, when he was dropped from the 40-man roster and sent to Norfolk. Teagarden hit just .167/.180/.300 in 23 games with Baltimore; he is a career .206/.266/.390 hitter in 163 MLB games.
Eli Whiteside: Another former Giant, Whiteside spent all of 2013 at Round Rock. He was claimed off waivers multiple times last offseason before sticking with the Rangers' organization. The 34 year old never got his bat going (.187/.242/.280, 5 HR) with the Express.