At one point, the SF Giants assumed that Joey Bart would be the future catcher for the team. Unfortunately, that is not how things have panned out and the former top pick will be out of options in 2024. A trade with the St. Louis Cardinals could give him a much-needed change of scenery and the Giants a potential fourth outfielder in Dylan Carlson.
Could the SF Giants bolster the outfielder by trading a former top pick?
While showing flashes of the talent that got him drafted second overall by the Giants in 2018, he never put all the pieces together in the big leagues.
The Giants signed veteran catcher Roberto Pérez last off-season who ended up being the starting catcher early in the year over Joey Bart. This seemed to be a sign that the Giants did not have full trust in Bart even though it should be pointed out that Bart was dealing with an injury late in spring.
The catcher question was a big question mark for the Giants until Patrick Bailey emerged on the scene throwing out baserunners left and right and hitting clutch home runs.
Quickly, it became clear that Bailey was something special. Before he struggled down the stretch, Bailey flashed the type of defensive prowess that can impact games. And, he is one of the few position players on the Giants' roster who you can write in pen for the 2024 Opening Day lineup.
This is sort of a similar situation to the San Francisco 49ers quarterback situation going into 2023. After what he showed last year, it was pretty clear that Brock Purdy was the guy for this team. Thankfully he has backed that up with his play in 2023.
But that left the player many presumed was the quarterback of the future for the 49ers, Trey Lance, as the odd man out. The 49ers traded him before the season started. The Giants seem likely to trade Bart before next season.
If the Giants do trade Bart, what could the Giants get back for him? Even though he has struggled, Bart still has a lot of talent and perhaps a change of scenery could be just what he needs to revive his career.
One destination that could make sense is the St. Louis Cardinals. Another franchise with the unenviable task of trying to replace a Hall of Fame catcher after a storied career.
We all know the struggles they had with Willson Contreras behind the plate last year. And as our friends at Redbirds Rants wrote, no one played well enough to fully establish themselves as the starting catcher going forward. Bart would not be an overall upgrade to Contreras but could be a reliable backup catcher with solid defense and potential for power. He could also allow Contreras to see more time at DH if needed.
So the Cardinals clearly have a need at catcher, but what could the Giants get in return?
What about switch-hitting outfielder Dylan Carlson? Carlson was a first-round pick for the Cardinals in 2016 and he is local to Northern California. The 25-year-old outfielder attended Elk Grove High School, which is in Sacramento County. In 2021, he showed a lot of promise, slashing .266/.343/.437 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI.
Unfortunately, he has not replicated that level of production since then and has struggled each of the last two seasons. Last year, he hit .219/.318/.333 with 5 home runs and 27 RBI in 76 games.
The Giants may already have a crowded outfield at the moment, but Carlson is a solid defender and has proven he can hit in the past. He could certainly factor more into the Giants' plans than Bart could at this point. In a trade like this, you would be betting on the upside of Carlson, who like Bart was considered a top prospect in baseball not that long ago. The four-year veteran could begin his tenure as a fourth outfielder and move up depending on performance.
Redbirds Rants even included the Giants in their list of five teams that Carlson could be dealt. We threw the idea in the 'ol trade simulator, and while not a perfect forum for trade ideas, did produce a deal of Bart and Giants pitching prospect Carson Seymour in exchange for Carlson.
It seems that this move would make sense for both sides. Both teams would be addressing needs and it would be a homecoming for Carlson. While others will certainly be interested in trading for Carlson, the Giants should look long and hard at trying to upgrade their outfield by trading Bart for Carlson.