SF Giants Spring Training Competition:
Future Catcher: Joey Bart, Patrick Bailey, Buster Posey, Ricardo Genoves
Favorite: Joey Bart
Biggest Competiton: Buster Posey, Patrick Bailey
Longshot: Ricardo Genoves
This competition has nothing to do with the Opening Day roster, but it could have the largest impact on the franchise for years to come. With legend Buster Posey in the final year of his contract, the Giants organization has to figure out what their long-term goals are behind the plate. Unlike the rest of these competitions, this one will extend past Opening Day. However, every data point could have an impact on the organization’s future.
Joey Bart has been one of the farm system’s crown jewels for a long time, but he struggled in his big-league debut last season. Drafted by the previous front-office regime, it’s hard to know how the current front-office executives project Bart’s future. One thing is certain though, Bart is no longer the only top-catching prospect in the system after the Giants drafted Patrick Bailey in the first round of the 2020 draft. While president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has consistently heaped praise onto the Georgia Tech product, Bart could be one of the most valuable trade chips in the league.
Posey will be 34 years old in March, but he was still a competent starter the last time he took the field and a year away from the field might be just what his body needed. A minor 2021 resurgence could be enough to convince Zaidi to re-sign Posey to a reasonable two-year deal and open the door for Bailey or Ricardo Genoves to fill his shoes down the line. A strong spring from Posey and some of the younger prospects could give the front office enough confidence to make Bart available.
The Phillies have just a 12.3% probability of making the playoffs this year, per FanGraphs, and could another underwhelming year lead them to put ace Aaron Nola on the market? Nola has been one of the most consistent starters in baseball since debuting in 2015 and will be 28-years old later this year. Bart wouldn’t be an ideal fit in Philly, where J.T. Realmuto just signed a massive contract, but it shouldn’t be hard for the Giants to build a three-team deal that sends Bart to another team that sends prospects the Phillies prefer.
The specific player is less important than the flexibility the front office could have on the trade market. Assuming Bart continues performing at the minor-league level, the Giants could build a competitive package for any player that becomes available on the trade market if they make Bart available. Of course, they would have to be willing to part with the former second overall pick to do it.
This spring, Posey could continue to show his age and Bart could further entrench himself as a future star. If that’s the case, Zaidi’s job becomes far easier. Bailey and Genoves have yet to appear in any games above Class-A and are at least two years away from pushing the big-league roster. He can let them continue developing, lightly listening to offers, while grooming Bart to replace Posey in the lineup next season.
The SF Giants enter Spring Training with many questions surrounding their Opening Day roster. However, there are plenty of other competitions fans should keep an eye on to. Only time will tell how they all play out.