Right now, the SF Giants have one of the hotter hitters on the team in young Patrick Bailey, who has been fantastic since coming to the big leagues. Plus, Joey Bart is expected to return from the injured list shortly, so that begs the question, what is happening with the first man who got a chance to replace the legendary Buster Posey?
Can the SF Giants keep both Patrick Bailey and Joey Bart at catcher?
After a career revival in 2021, Posey announced his retirement following an incredible 12-year career in San Francisco, where he became the face of the Giants, and while no one man can replicate just what Buster meant to the city and the organization, someone had to play catcher, and for most, the best man for the role was young Bart, who showed flashes of intrigue last season.
In 97 games in the following season, Bart struggled mightily, hitting just .215 and striking out 112 times in 291 plate appearances, but with 11 home runs, he flashed some power, enough for him to still be considered next in line when the 2023 campaign rolled around. He got that chance in 2023, but due to injury and struggles, he has appeared in just 26 games this year with a .231 average and 0 bombs in 84 bats, not the expected performance from someone fighting for his job. The good news is that his strikeout rate has improved to 25.0 percent, but has that come at the cost of his power?
Now, Bailey has stepped up to the plate, hitting .280 with 2 Home Runs and 12 RBI in 14 games, and with fantastic performances behind the plate, the Giants are now faced with the decision of who should get the majority of playing time when Bart returns.
It is hard to ignore that Bailey and Bart have different skill sets. On paper, Bart's power is his calling card in terms of offense even if it has not shown up much this season. However, Bailey is likely a stronger defender in terms of blocking, throwing, and framing. Bailey is a switch-hitter with his left-handed swing being his natural side.
On the other hand, Bart features a powerful swing from the right side. In theory, they are natural platoon partners, and Giants manager Gabe Kapler does like to leverage those matchup advantages. Bailey would see way more playing time as the strong side of the platoon, so would this even be a good role for Bart?
At this point in time, it's clear that Bailey's combination of power and defense behind the plate makes him the best option, but just 14 games into his career, he's got plenty of growing pains to go through, something that Bart has already done, which makes it a tough decision for San Francisco. The Giants are likely to be buyers at the trade deadline, as they may look to add to their young core and make a run at the wide-open National League, so the best option may be to hold onto both of them, and split playing time between them.
Bailey will continue to get the majority of starts behind the plate, but with Bart's potential for power, he could fill a great role for this Giants team off the bench, and perhaps even get starts at DH against left-handed pitchers, but right now, Bailey is bringing the Giants energy alongside Casey Schmitt, and has been responsible for their turnaround in recent weeks.
If San Francisco were to move either name, at this point, Blake Sabol could swing back into a backup catcher role, but as for Bart, he hasn't proven himself to the point of bringing value as a trade chip, so with the Giants looking to contend and likely not pursuing a veteran catcher, the best move for all is to give Bailey the majority of starts, with Bart playing the backup role for the foreseeable future.