The line from WIS a few years ago when this went into effect was that individuals were selecting low PA A+ armed catchers and using them as defensive replacements late in games and shutting down the running game late. So they priced catcher arm based on defensive usability and thus, the flat rate was born.
I agree with pricing as far as defensive usability to a point. In your Blanco example above, no one would ever use him for any reason except a late inning defensive replacement. He can't hit, so you wouldn't draft him as a PH. He can't run, so PR is out of the question. But he is VERY effective at effecting the game late since he can cut down on SB. Thus, he's more valuable than a position player with similar good defensive stats, way much more so than even an A+/A+ SS simply because he affects every opposing player who is on base.
That said, the pricing is skewed that they add a flat $1 million. I think the flat rate should be applied based on PAs. The numbers that follow provide an example below:
- 50-100 PAs = 250K flat rate (you're still going to get 80-100 games out of these guys if they are only used as defensive replacements, so they can affect 80-120 Innings in a season with their defense).
- 100-200 PAs = 500K flat rate (These guys can come in the 8th inning every game, so you're looking at double the usage of the lower group, say 160-240 innings in a season)
- 200-300 PAs = 750K flat rate (These guys can replace in the 7th inning every game and actually start games as well. You could easily get 162 games at 3 innings or even 70 games at 9 innings out of these guys.
- 300+ PAs = $1 million (These guys can start, platoon and still come in as defensive replacements most games...thus, the full rate would apply)
Again, my amounts are an example, but it seems to me that this would resolve the $/PA issue while still charging the amount of usefullness the A+ arm brings to the defensive side of the equation.