The favorite for the backup catcher role may miss the entire 2020 season.
After suffering an injury in winter ball, catcher Aramis Garcia had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, and will miss an estimated 6-8 months. Garcia, 27, was a favorite to win the backup catcher duties in 2020. Now, the Giants will likely rely on some of the free agents signed on minor league deals to fill the role.
Garcia has a career .229/.270/.419 batting line with six home runs in the Majors over 37 games in the past two seasons. In Sacramento in 2019, Garcia hit .271/.343/.488 with 16 games in 89 games at Triple-A. He was injured while playing in the Dominican Republic in late December. He tried rehabilitating the injury, but underwent the surgery on Thursday, Feb. 6th.
Joey Bart, the Giants’ #2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, is unlikely to be an option to fill the role. Bart, who finished the 2019 season in Double-A, suffered through two broken hand injuries, including one that ended his season in the Arizona Fall League. There are indications that the Giants want him getting regular at-bats in the minors this season to continue his development.
Instead, the Giants have three minor league free agent signings who will be the top competitors.
Tyler Heineman, 28, was signed after having a big Triple-A campaign last season. Between Reno (Diamondbacks) and New Orleans (Marlins), batting .336 with 13 home runs in 73 games. He appeared in five Major League games with the Marlins last season, going 3-for-11 with a home run and a double. It was one standout season, but he may be the de facto lead for the spot.
In January, the Giants signed 30-year old catcher Rob Brantly to a minor league deal. Brantly has spent parts of five seasons since 2012 in the Majors, but only one game there last season. He spent most of 2019 in Triple-A Lehigh Valley (Phillies), batting .314/.404/.462 with six home runs in 82 games.
The Giants also signed 24-year old Chadwick Tromp to a minor league deal, but he only played 42 games, 16 at rookie level and 26 in Triple-A with Louisville (Reds). In Triple-A, he hit .286/.389/.610 with seven home runs.