Right now we've got Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Cash as our catching tandem. Yikes! I'm okay with Cervelli, just because I think he could use some big league experience and can call a game (see Sabathia's gem). But Cash? You got to be able to hit to some extent to play in the bigs. And to play in the Bronx, you have to be able to hit. So...we got to find someone better than Cash.
On the free agent market there are a few options:
Estrada only played 23 games last year .170/.200/.170. But, only 23 games so I'm not going to draw conclusions. But he did play in 120 games in 07 .278/.296/.403. In 442 at bats he hit 10 home runs and hit 25 doubles. He could hit for power and average, but that whole OBP problem is going to be a bummer. Estrada hasn't had an OBP over .350 since 04 (.378). He isn't great, but I'll admit it, he's better than Cash.
Valentin hit .256/.326/.411 last year in 94 games. Not great numbers. His OBP and SLG are higher than Estrada's were in 07 so I think he might actually be better than Estrada. And better than Cash.
Paul Bako played for Cincy last year and hit .217/.299/.328. Obviously Valentin and Estrada are better hitters, thus Bako's out. Valentin's still in the lead.
Toby Hall and Gary Bennett are both free agents too, but they really don't even deserve a look.
So overall, Javier Valentin is the most qualified free agent catcher available. Down on the farm the only guy we have that can hit is Jesus Montero, and he's at single A Charleston. Austin Romine's there, but he still hasn't learned to draw walks so he most certainly can't be called up. And calling Montero up so many levels, on such short notice, and at such a young age isn't smart either, so the free agent market is more viable.
Sure we can look at trades, but they can cost us young talent, and we only need this replacement until Molina and Jorge are back from their injuries.