Spending money on pitchers and going cheap on a catcher is like buying a Ferrari and putting re-treaded tires on it. Based upon MLB averages, only second basemen and run-of-the-mill relief pitchers earn less than catchers. I know averages can be misleading because of outlier, insanely high salaries at every position, but I think that we can learn a lot from looking at the averages to determine worth.
A DH makes more money for sitting on the bench when they aren't getting one of their four plate appearances. Yes, Designated Hitters score runs, but catchers can prevent runs in many ways. Corner infielders and outfielders are, much like the DH, considered "offensive" players. They are there more for their bat than their glove.
Shortstops, who I believer should earn more as well, are fourth highest paid behind the DH, First Base, and Third Base.
Starting pitchers rank sixth behind outfielders. If we threw out "the bums" and just talked 1-3 starters, the average salary would be much more respectable, but still, where does this leave the catcher?
On top of being 100% focused on absolutely everything at all times, he leads the defense, shapes the pitching strategy of each at bat, must block everything, control the running game, take abuse from foul tips, wear all that gear in the heat, endure wear and tear on his knees, protect the pitcher when the batter charges the mound, be a pitcher psychiatrist, etc. Outfielders spend the majority of the game with their gloves on their hips inspecting their manicures. I think it's time we ponied up for our human backstops and shortstops.
There has to be something to the fact that SS and catchers take a lot of abuse and get injured. I'm not talking about you, Cal. You're apparently wear an S on your underarmour. Recent rule changes are protecting catchers, but it's only because of an injury to highly-paid Buster Posey. Maybe this year, shortstops will get their well-deserved MLB force-play slide rule. With new protections in place, perhaps we will see these salary averages begin to edge upward.