The SF Giants made a tough decision on Saturday in demoting catcher Joey Bart to Triple-A according to the team's transaction log. For the time being, the Giants will go with Patrick Bailey and Blake Sabol behind the plate.
SF Giants option struggling catcher Joey Bart
Bart had been on the injured list since the middle of May with a groin strain. He did begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A on June 2, recording just two hits in 21 at-bats during that stretch. While the results are not necessarily important during a rehab assignment, it did feel like he needed to give the Giants enough reasons to stick on the active roster.
However, that did not take place as he struggled in six games since his rehab assignment began. Position players can have up to 20 days for a rehab assignment, so the Giants did not necessarily need to make a decision on Saturday. That said, rehab assignments are typically over well in advance of that 20-day period.
He met with the team on Friday to discuss next steps according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. There were no specifics about what was discussed, but perhaps, the Giants and Bart felt it was was best for his development to get regular at-bats.
That might have not been the case if he remained on the active roster. Patrick Bailey has performed well in the early going as he has posted an .848 OPS in 61 plate appearances since his promotion on May 19. Plus, his defense has stood out on multiple occasions, both in terms of framing and managing the running game.
Given that Bailey's strong side is from the left side as a hitter, Bart may have been able to carve out a role as a platoon bat against left-handed pitching. Though, that would have meant that he would start about one out of every three games. This may not have been an ideal situation for him.
When he was healthy, Bart slashed .231/.286/.295 (61 OPS+) with no home runs, four RBI, and eight runs in 84 plate appearances. This included a 2.4 percent walk rate against a 25.0 percent strikeout rate. The good news is that his strikeout rate had improved compared to a career mark of 35.8 percent, but he was not impacting the ball in a meaningful way.
On a positive note, his defense did show improvement in terms of framing. For now, Bart will continue to see regular playing time with the Sacramento River Cats. It is important to note that the 26-year-old has one option year remaining, so if he spends at least 20 days in the minors, he will exhaust that final year option. This will become important in 2024.