Versatile catcher is the buzzword for the SF Giants this offseason. They have added two more versatile catchers in Clint Coulter and Brett Cumberland on minor league deals per the team's transaction log.
SF Giants add a pair of versatile catchers on minor league contracts
Coulter and Cumberland both play catcher as well as first base and the corner outfield slots. If this profile sounds familiar, this is the third time the Giants have added a versatile catcher this offseason.
Earlier in the winter, the swung a trade to acquire catcher/outfielder Blake Sabol from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for pitching prospect Jake Wong. Sabol was a Rule 5 pick by the Reds, so he is coming into camp with the hopes of making the Opening Day roster.
Cumberland was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of the 2016 draft out of the University of California - Berkeley. He was shipped to the Baltimore Orioles in a deal that sent Kevin Gausman to the Braves in 2018.
The switch-hitter has registered a .231/.369/.385 line with an 11.7 percent walk rate against a 26.7 percent strikeout rate across six minor league seasons. He spent some time on the injured list in 2022, but when he was healthy, he recorded a .226/.338/.343 line (89 wRC+) with four home runs, 22 RBI, and 22 runs in 160 plate appearances at Triple-A.
Similar to Cumberland, Clint Coulter was a high pick as he was selected in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Union High School in Camas, Washington. He has posted a .258/.345/.434 line with an 8.9 percent walk rate against a 20.5 percent strikeout rate in nine minor league seasons.
The 2022 campaign was a solid one for Coulter as he tallied a .910 OPS with nine home runs in 207 plate appearances with the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite his experience as a pro, the 29-year-old is still looking for a shot in the majors.
Both Cumberland and Coulter have experience at catcher with the latter seeing time at third base, left field, and right field in 2022. Cumberland has experience at catcher and first base with a very small sample in right field.
Neither catcher graded out as an above-average backstop in 2022 due in part to subpar framing skills according to Baseball Prospectus. Both flashed a quality arm with Cumberland grading out as an average blocker.
Presumably, they will both receive an invite to spring training but that has not yet been announced. The Giants' Double-A team was gutted during the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft in December, so the Giants will likely remain active on the minor league free agent market.