Breaking: A’s Closing In On Deal To Sign $12 Million Catcher

Breaking: A’s Closing In On Deal To Sign $12 Million Catcher

The Giants have a backup catcher who they’re going to either trade or put on waivers, and the A’s could use one as well.

The Oakland A’s have not decided who will play backup catcher after optioning former top prospect Tyler Soderstrom to Triple-A Las Vegas yesterday. They still have two NRI catchers in camp: Carlos Pérez and Kyle McCann. Pérez is probably the favorite to start the year because he was Shea Langeliers’ backup last year.

Nevertheless, the A’s may look outside the organization to see if they can locate someone with greater upside if they need to add a catcher to the roster.

This player is with the San Francisco Giants.

Due to his expiring contract this spring, Joey Bart, the former second overall choice in the 2018 Draft, is most likely going to be dealt or put on waivers in the near future. He attended Georgia Tech, the same university as McCann.

Bart made his Giants debut in 2020, having been hailed as Buster Posey’s heir apparent. In 111 plate appearances, he batted.233 with a.288 OBP, and he has played for the team for parts of four seasons.219 with a wRC+ of 78 and an OBP of.288 (league average is 100). Not exactly a stellar attacking performance. In 30 plate appearances this spring, he’s batting.417, for what that’s worth.

His pop time of 2.02, which placed him in the 10th percentile last year, is among the slowest in baseball for a defensive player. Pérez performed marginally better, coming in at 1.98, good enough to place in the 36th percentile.

Bart could truly make an impression with his framing behind the dish. Bart had a +2 catcher framing average in his 230 innings behind the plate the previous season, with Langeliers at -8 and Pérez at -3. Since the catastrophic first month of the previous season, the A’s have focused heavily on their pitchers throwing strikes, so having someone who can steal a strike or two would be beneficial.

It wouldn’t hurt also that Bart is acquainted with some of the recent Oakland roster acquisitions, including as Scott Alexander, Trevor Gott, Ross Stripling, and Alex Wood. The fact that the A’s have already added five former Giants to their roster this winter—so why not make it six—also works in his favor.

Ultimately, the question is: Is Joey Bart an unfailing, must-have catcher? No, not at all. However, the A’s would be counting on a change of scenery and a chance that would provide him better outcomes than what he’s demonstrated in his career thus far. They can DFA him if, after a few months, things still don’t work out. If he makes a small improvement, though, he could potentially appear to be a completely different player and develop into a valuable trade asset.

Bart’s addition would be a relatively low-risk move that is worthwhile to pursue. Right-hander Angel Felipe was just designated for distribution by the A’s a few days ago following Tommy John surgery. He has serious command problems and is a strikeout machine. With each club acquiring a player to take a chance, switching those two players looks like a sensible move.

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