The SF Giants have a decision to make about catcher Joey Bart. With the emergence of Patrick Bailey as the catcher of the future and the signing of Tom Murphy to be his backup, it seems clearer than ever that Bart does not have a future with the SF Giants.
Why the SF Giants need to make a decision on a former top pick soon
In addition to the Giants signing catcher Murphy earlier in the offseason, the team also made a trade with the New York Mets for the versatile catcher Cooper Hummel. This brings the total number of catchers on the team's 40-man roster to five when you factor in Blake Sabol as well.
It is possible for either the Giants or its Triple-A affiliate decide to carry three catchers, but it seems unlikely. As it stands, the configuration that makes the most sense is Patrick Bailey as the starting catcher for the Giants with Murphy as his back up and perhaps seeing more time against lefties. Then, Sabol and Hummel will likely split time behind the dish in Triple-A.
The odd many out is Bart, who is out of minor-league options. A decision on him will need to be made sooner rather than later.
Now, the question seems to be whether the Giants will decide to trade or potentially release Bart? Trading him would definitely be the preferable option because the Giants would be able to get something back for their former first-round pick. That said, he has minimal value on the trade market. It is still a better option than losing him through waivers.
His struggles at the big league level are a warning sign for teams although they still may be willing to take a chance on a guy who was a top pick not that long ago. He still flashes occasional power while being a solid defensive catcher with good framing skills, so that profile could appeal to some teams. It is a matter of how much of a dip in offensive production teams are willing to tolerate to capture some of that defensive value.
Releasing Bart would be a depressing end for Bart who was once considered to be the heir apparent to Buster Posey. Things have just never seemed to align for him in San Francisco with injuries and poor performance when he has gotten his chances in the big leagues. It does feel like a change of scenery is needed.
Giants fans can at least take solace in the fact that Bailey's emergence last season could solidify the catcher position for the foreseeable future. Whether it is through a trade or placing him on waivers, it is likely that Bart's time with San Francisco will come to an end soon.