If you felt that the 2023 season was missing an SF Giants-Mariners trade, then you are in luck. The Giants completed a trade on Thursday to acquire veteran catcher Jacob Nottingham from the Mariners in exchange for future considerations.
SF Giants bolster organizational catching depth in trade with Mariners
The Giants and Mariners completed at least infinity trades last year, so they have some catching up to do this year. This move, more than anything else, addresses a need in terms of catching depth in the upper minors.
With Joey Bart on the injured list, the Giants had to promote Patrick Bailey from Triple-A given that Blake Sabol was the only other catcher on the 40-man roster. This move did stretch Sacramento's catching depth even thinner with Ricardo Genovés serving as the primary catcher and Ford Proctor as the backup catcher.
Proctor has experience behind the dish, but he is better suited as a middle infielder. This trade moves Proctor back into that role.
The front office has a lot of experience with Nottingham. The veteran catcher was drafted by the Houston Astros in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. General manager Pete Putila served in the Houston's front office during that draft. Nottingham, along with prospect Bubba Derby, was eventually traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016 in exchange for power-hitting outfielder Khris Davis.
At the time of that trade, Zack Minasian, who heads in the Giants' scouting department, worked in the Brewers' front office at the time of the move.
Nottingham has flashed good power and a good defensive skill set behind the plate in the minors. Across 10 minor league seasons, he has slashed .249/.329/.413 with an 8.4 percent walk rate against a 25.7 percent strikeout rate. The right-handed bat has reached double digits in home runs four times in the minors.
The 28-year-old has a bit of experience in the majors as well, slashing .184/.277/.421 (86 OPS+) with eight home runs, 23 RBI, and 16 runs in parts of four seasons with the Brewers and Mariners. He graded out as an average defensive catcher as well.
Nottingham has been in demand in recent seasons as a third catcher on a 40-man roster. He bounced around between the Mariners and Brewers multiple times on the waiver wire in 2021. He appeared with the Baltimore Orioles organization last year before re-signing with Seattle in the winter.
This trade likely has no barring on the Giants' catching situation. They can likely go with a Bailey-Bart duo for the time being. In fact, the trade suggests that Bart will not be optioned after returning from the injured list given that this move gives them sufficient depth in Triple-A. If the plan was to option Bart, they likely would not have acquired Nottingham.