SF Giants News

SF Giants: Remaining catching options on the market

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Adam Hagy/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

After Buster Posey surprisingly announced his retirement earlier in the offseason, a void was created on the roster that will be impossible to replace for the SF Giants. Joey Bart and Curt Casali will be tabbed as the primary backstops in 2022, but it is clear that they need more depth.

SF Giants: Remaining catching options on the market

Generally, teams have at least three catchers on the 40-man roster, but the Giants' catching contingent currently stands at two. It is going to be tough to find a catcher with options remaining, so they may need to rely on the free agent market.

It bears mentioning that the Giants are light on catching options in the upper minors as well. Behind Bart and Casali, Ricardo Genoves has limited experience above Single-A and there are questions as to whether he can stick behind the dish. Similarly, Patrick Bailey has no experience above Single-A and struggled, posting a .587 OPS in 155 plate appearances in High-A in 2021.

Behind Bart, Bailey and Genoves are the highest-ranked catchers in the Giants farm system but they still have a lot of development left to realize before they put on a Giants uniform. So, the front office will be looking at ways to bolster organizational depth and there are a couple of options that make some sense.

Stephen Vogt

Vogt had an unexpectedly strong season with the Giants in 2019 after posting an .804 OPS in 280 plate appearances. Following that season, he signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks that included a $3.5 million option in 2021. The Diamondbacks picked up the option, but he struggled to the tune of a .593 OPS during the life of that deal.

Nevertheless, Vogt can likely be reeled in on a minor league pact, especially considering that he lives in northern California in the offseason. As he enters his age-37 season, there may not be a lot left in his bat, but he hits from the left side and can play some first base and left field as well. That type of versatility is a quality that the front office targets.

Robinson Chirinos

Chirinos is not that far removed from a 3.9 WAR season in 2019, but his struggles since then make him a candidate for a minor league deal or a low-value guaranteed contract. Chirinos' work behind the plate has generally graded above-average, but the defensive metrics have suggested some regression since the beginning of 2020.

The right-handed bat slashed .227/.324/.454 (107 OPS+) with five home runs, 15 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 112 plate appearances with the Chicago Cubs in 2021. This included an eight percent walk rate against a 32.1 percent strikeout rate.

He has posted a solid 9.5 percent walk rate throughout his 10-year career, but he finds another way to get on base as well: Hit by a pitch. The 37-year-old catcher has been hit in 2.9 percent of his plate appearances. That does not sound like a lot, but it helps to explain the solid .325 OBP he has produced since he debuted back in 2011.

Kurt Suzuki

Suzuki does have ties to Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi from their days with the A's organization. Suzuki was selected in the second round of the 2004 draft by the A's, whereas Zaidi joined the A's front office in 2005.

Since coming over to the Giants, Zaidi has brought over players with previous ties. Suzuki could be the next in line, especially considering that he might be in the market for a minor league deal. The 15-year veteran posted a rough .636 OPS with the Los Angeles Angels in 2021, but he has a reputation for solid work behind the plate and his bat has improved as his career has progressed. Of course, the 2021 season deviated from that recent trend.

facebooktwitterreddit