Zaidi: Giants unlikely to add catcher to major league deal
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi met with reporters Thursday afternoon. Among the topics discussed was the team’s catching situation, which doesn’t appear to be a top priority for the front office.
San Francisco designated backup Austin Wynns for last week’s assignment, leaving them alone Joey Bart and drafted from rule 5 Blake Sabol as receivers on the 40-man roster. Despite this fairly thin depth chart, Zaidi indicated that the club is not likely to add a catcher in a major league free agent deal (relayed by Evan Webeck of the San Jose Mercury News). The Giants’ head of baseball operations hinted that Wynns has no longer been claimed on waivers, although he will be eligible to choose minor league free agency as a player who previously stayed definitely in his career.
Zaidi indicated the team hoped to bring Wynns back to the organization on a minor league deal, though the 32-year-old will be given a chance to explore other opportunities. Even if Wynns returns, San Francisco could bring another invitee to the major league camp.
They seem happy going into the exhibition game with only Bart and Sabol on the 40-man roster. That suggests the 26-year-old Bart has a strong hold on the No. 1 job after hitting .215/.296/.364 through 291 plate appearances last season. The former second overall pick connected on 11 home runs, but struck out nearly 39% of his trips to the plate.
This is also a strong vote of confidence for Sabol, who has no big league experience. The 25-year-old had spent four years in the Pirates’ system after being selected in the 7th round of the 2019 draft. The left-handed hitter split last year between Pittsburgh’s top two affiliates, posting an impressive . 284/.363/.497 in 513 combined plate appearances. That wasn’t enough for the Bucs to add him to their 40-man roster despite his very thin catching situation. He obviously impressed the San Francisco brass, though, as the Giants orchestrated a trade with the Reds to acquire Sabol’s Rule 5 rights.
Cincinnati, which had the fourth pick in the Rule 5 draft, selected Sabol. They immediately dealt him to the Giants, who sent the minor league pitcher back Jake Wong. San Francisco must keep the USC product on its major league roster or disabled list for the entire season or place him on waivers and offer him back to Pittsburgh if he goes unclaimed. The designation of Wynns and the lack of urgency to add another big league catcher suggests that management has confidence in Sabol’s ability to stick at the big league level.
There are a few free agent catchers left who could sign minor league deals. Kevin Plawecki, Robinson Xirinos, Jorge Alfaro, Three Barriers i Luis Torrens they are candidates for a pact without a list. reports this week bound for San Francisco Gary Sanchez, but that seems unlikely unless the Giants pivot to make a big league commitment. As the top remaining free agent, Sanchez figures to secure a guaranteed deal somewhere.
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