The Tom Murphy signing likely signaled the end of Joey Bart's tenure with the SF Giants. After a disappointing start to his career, there could still be some interest in the former No. 2 pick and now is the time to make a move.
Why now is a good time for the SF Giants to trade Joey Bart
The Giants are not going to receive much for Bart. He has struggled to the tune of a .623 OPS across four seasons and has rarely put together a string of good at-bats since he debuted in 2020. That said, Bart is still a quality backstop who grades out as an excellent pitch framer and can flash occasional power.
The work Bart does behind the dish could hold more value than anything he does at the plate. Teams will often overlook offensive production if a prospective catcher is good defensively, especially in terms of pitch framing.
With Mitch Garver and Martín Maldonado signing with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox, respectively, there are just not a lot of catchers left on the market. Gary Sánchez is by far the best option remaining followed by Yasmani Grandal and Manny Piña, but it is a pretty steep drop-off after that.
Bart likely fits as one of the better options remaining and could arguably be the best alternative after Sánchez. The 2023 season with a really weird year for Sánchez. He started the year with the Giants organization but opted out of his contract to sign with the New York Mets. The veteran catcher's tenure was brief in New York, lasting only seven plate appearances, before he was claimed off of waivers by the San Diego Padres.
His numbers were solid as he registered a .780 OPS with 19 home runs in 267 plate appearances last year. Nevertheless, he is generally considered a bat-first catcher and that is a tough profile with today's emphasis on defense behind the plate.
The right-handed bat will likely land a guaranteed contract for next season. After him, the focus should shift to Bart, Grandal, and Piña. Teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and Miami Marlins have been in the market for catching help.
Plus, the Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, and Tampa Bay Rays all struggled to generate any kind of meaningful value from the catcher position in 2023. Does Bart notably change the outlook at that position for any of those teams?
Not necessarily, but he was regarded as a top prospect not that long ago and teams will still take a chance on that profile. Also, Bart may not be a starter, but he could serve as a decent backup.
Lastly, it would behoove the Giants to move Bart sooner rather than later given that he is out of options. If they hold onto him through spring training and he does not make the club, then they risk losing him on waivers. His value is minimal, but the Giants could hold a modicum of leverage by surveying the market now given how few options are available in free agency.