The SF Giants began the spring with an open competition at catcher. That competition carried over inton the regular season after they signed Gary Sánchez to a minor league deal. However, the competition appears to be over after the Giants released the veteran catcher on Tuesday according to the team's transaction log.
SF Giants officially end open competition at catcher after releasing Gary Sánchez
Sánchez had an opt-out clause on Monday that could be exercised if he was not added to the active roster. One way or the other, he will not remain with the organization.
The Giants signed Sánchez to a minor league deal at the beginning of April. Back then (which was not that long ago), they had a handful of options including Joey Bart, Blake Sabol, Austin Wynns, and Roberto Pérez.
The Giants have burned quite a bit of depth at catcher since then. Pérez underwent season-ending surgery, whereas Wynns and Sánchez were jettisoned from the organization.
Despite having a long track record of performance, Sánchez has struggled to the tune of a .681 OPS since the start of 2020. His offensive struggles are compounded by the fact that he does not have a reputation as a good defensive catcher.
Sánchez struggled badly during his brief stint with the Sacramento River Cats, slashing .164/.319/.182 with no home runs, eight RBI, and six runs in 69 plate appearances. In fact, he only tallied one extra-base hit, so the fact that he was released was not terribly surprising. He will re-enter free agency with the hopes of landing with a new club.
This move filters out the remaining Giants' options at catcher. For now, Sabol and Bart appear to be the top options at catcher. In case of injury, Patrick Bailey and Ricardo Genovés will serve as depth in the upper minors. Bailey has already received a quick promotion to Triple-A after a hot start with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Could Giants fans see him at Oracle Park in 2023? We think the case could be made.
The Giants have gotten some quality production from their catchers in 2023. Sabol has posted a .759 OPS compared to a .666 OPS from Bart. Despite the relative inexperience from Sabol and unproven track record from Bart, the Giants appear committed to going with these two options for the foreseeable future.