Rumor: SF Giants "showing interest" in power-hitting catcher

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Backup catcher remains one of the top priorities for the SF Giants to fill this winter and they appear to be eyeing one of the top backstops on the market. Héctor Gómez of Z101 Digital is reporting that the Giants are showing interest in longtime catcher Gary Sánchez.

Rumor: SF Giants "showing interest" in power-hitting catcher

Currently, the Giants only have two catchers listed on the 40-man roster in Joey Bart and Blake Sabol. The former is coming off of a season that produced mixed results, whereas the latter does not have major league experience.

In a minor surprise, the Giants decided to place Austin Wynns on waivers after finalizing the Michael Conforto contract. Wynns fit the description of a backup catcher, but the Giants appear to be looking at that role as one they can upgrade.

Sánchez spent his first seven seasons with the New York Yankees before being shipped to the Minnesota Twins along with Gio Urshela in a deal that sent Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt to New York.

The power-hitting catcher had a successful run with the Yankees including five postseason appearances and two All-Star appearances. However, there were questions about his work behind the plate, so it felt as if the Yankees were looking at that as an area to improve.

In his lone season with the Twins, the 30-year-old slashed .205/.282/.377 (89 OPS+) with 16 home runs, 61 RBI, and 42 runs in 471 plate appearances. This included an 8.5 percent walk rate against a 28.9 percent strikeout rate. His offensive profile is similar to Bart in that he hits power, strikes out a lot, and does not take a lot of walks.

That said, Sánchez did try to change the narrative with respect to his defense in 2022. He was worth +4.8 Catcher Defensive Adjustment (CDA) according to Baseball Prospectus with his framing exhibiting nice improvement compared to recent seasons.

He checks the boxes of what teams want in a backup catcher in that he adds just enough value on offensive with his power and has graded favorable with his recent work behind the plate.

The real question is if there is substance to this rumor, what do the Giants expect from Bart in 2023? Sánchez has tallied over 400 plate appearances in each of the last three full seasons. Would he be interested in a role that could cut his playing time substantially? Or, would the front office see him as a pseudo-starter next to Bart?

That remains to be seen, but for now, the Giants need a backup catcher and Sánchez is one of the top names remaining on the market.